I’ve been familiar with the music of Italy’s prog rock musos Goblin for a while but it wasn’t until I saw Suspiria last night that their twisted and dark compositions were really put into context. Filmed in 1977 by the Italian terror maestro Dario Argento, the tale follows an American ballet dancer as she uncovers the occult history of a prestigious dance school where she has been enrolled.
It’s a really gorgeous film; the sets are colourful and hallucinatory, scenes are thrilling edge-of-your-seat experiences but, most importantly, unlike many films of today, the soundtrack is completely inseparable from what is happening on screen. The nightmarish, surreal nature of Suspiria’s narrative becomes intertwined with Goblin’s bizarre avant-garde vibrations to the point that the film plays like a feature-length music video. The music carries and augments the visuals, and vice versa.
Apparently while filming, Argento blasted Goblin’s score at incredibly high volumes to emphasise the unease in both the actors and the eventual audience. It’s rather charming in its early horror naivety and very entertaining, not least for the soundtrack contributions from a band that was light-years ahead of its time (check out the 1977 extreme metal vocals on the soundtrack). Here’s the best death scene:
I love how the other woman has to pointlessly struggle through a million sets of doors. And the disembodied stabbing hand.
Torrent this and find the soundtrack!