By Jason Cochran
January 17, 1997 at 05:00 AM EST

Blame John Hughes. ”He was one of the first directors to make music bust out of a film as an important marketing tool,” says Deanna Cohen, senior director of MCA Soundtracks, explaining how traditional instrumental movie soundtracks like Doctor Zhivago were elbowed into marginalia by blockbuster, pop-heavy CDs like The Breakfast Club, and why such Oscar-worthy discs as The English Patient can have a poor prognosis when it comes to sales. ”In the past 10 or 15 years, there’ve only been a handful of film score albums that have sold big numbers,” says Lukas Kendall, editor of Film Score Monthly. Hence, labels that still do release scores often discontinue them if they underperform in the marketplace. But bad news for film composers is good news for collectors, as the Robert L. Smith book U.S. Soundtracks on Compact Disc reveals. Here are some sought-after scores.

— Octopussy (1985) Composer: John Barry The Going Rate: $250 Why: ”People didn’t really know what CDs were yet,” says Kendall. ”And A&M f — -ed up the cover art, so they pulled it quickly.”

— The Witches of Eastwick (1987) Composer: John Williams The Going Rate: $200 Why: ”It came and went,” says Ron Saja, co-owner of New York’s Footlight Records, a major trafficker in rare soundtracks. Saja has calculated the waiting time for a copy of Witches to be about 40 years.

— Cocoon (1985) Composer: James Horner The Going Rate: $200 Why: ”It came out 12 years ago and had one small run; now many more people collect Horner’s works,” says Saja.

— Vibes (1990) Composer: Horner The Going Rate: $200 Why: Those Horner fans again. Plus, Var`ese Sarabande label sold the CD via mail order only. ”They figured not enough people cared,” says Kendall.

— Body Heat (1989) Composer: Barry The Going Rate: $200 Why: The label, SCSE, pressed only 2,000.

— The Serpent and the Rainbow (1988) Composer: Brad Fiedel The Going Rate: $125 Why: Only 200 are estimated to exist. ”I haven’t seen a copy in probably five years,” says Saja.

— The Rescuers Down Under (1991) Composer: Bruce Broughton The Going Rate: $125 Why: ”It was deleted quickly because the movie tanked,” says Kendall.