With a background as a jazz instrumentalist, Christopher Young often incorporates elements of rock, jazz, and especially electronic music into his dynamic orchestral film scores. After emerging on low-budget thrillers and horror films in the early '80s, his scores for A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge (1985) and Hellraiser (1987) led to steady work on horror, thriller, and sci-fi films throughout the '90s. Along the way, he also composed music for movies such as John Dahl's drama Rounders (1998) and the boxing biopic The Hurricane (1999). The 2000s brought work for directors ranging from Lasse Hallström and Curtis Hanson to Sam Raimi, including Raimi's Spider-Man 2 (2004) and Spider-Man 3 (2007). Young's projects in the 2010s included The Monkey King (2014) and The Monkey King 2 (2016) for Hong Kong director Cheang Pou-soi.
Beginning his musical career as a jazz drummer, Young was inspired to pursue film composing after hearing the work of Bernard Herrmann. He studied music at Hampshire College in Massachusetts, and followed his bachelor's degree with further study at North Texas State University. Young moved to Los Angeles in 1980. There, he took classes at the UCLA Film School and studied with legendary composer David Raksin. It wasn't long before he found work scoring low-budget horror productions like 1982's The Dorm That Dripped Blood and 1984's The Power, and action films including 1985's Barbarian Queen. Later that same year, his music could be heard in A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge, which he followed with other more enduring films, such as 1987's Hellraiser and Flowers in the Attic.
In the 1990s, Young found demand in horror (1995's Tales from the Hood), science fiction (1995's Species and Virtuosity), and thrillers (1995's Copy Cat, 1998's Hush), due to his exuberant, suspenseful style. He also worked on the occasional drama, including his Emmy-nominated score for 1996's Norma Jean and Marilyn and films such as 1998's Rounders and 1999's The Hurricane, starring Denzel Washington.
In 2002, Young earned a Golden Globe nomination for his music for the 2001 Lasse Hallström drama The Shipping News. Highlights of his other work in the decade included the horror films The Grudge (2004) and Ghost Rider (2007), as well as the Sam Raimi films The Gift (2000), Spider-Man 2 (2004), and Spider-Man 3 (2007). He continued to compose a steady stream of scores in the 2010s, including The Rum Diary (2011), based on the Hunter S. Thompson novel, and Tyler Perry's A Madea Christmas (2013). The action fantasy films The Monkey King and The Monkey King 2 followed in the mid-2010s, and in 2017 Young wrote music for the virtual reality video game Wilson's Heart, which featured voice work by Hollywood stars including Peter Weller, Rosario Dawson, and Paul Reubens. ~ Marcy Donelson