Prog rockers Goblin prepare to send chills down spines at two live soundtrack shows
- Henry Northmore
- 12 July 2018
The band's leader Claudio Simonetti talks about bringing cult classic horror film scores to the Edinburgh Fringe
It starts with twinkling bells and a heavy resonating bass, before you hear gargled 'la la la' vocals. This creepy nursery rhyme sound makes way for synths and galloping guitar as the theme music to Suspiria kicks in. No one makes film soundtracks quite like Goblin.
Starting with 1975's Profondo Rosso, the Italian prog rockers practically became the house band for director Dario Argento's startling horror movies. However, their collaboration came about virtually by accident. 'The original soundtrack started with Giorgio Gaslini,' explains Goblin's founding member, composer and keyboardist Claudio Simonetti. 'He's a big composer but Dario didn't like the full orchestra; he preferred a rock sound. That's the real story of Goblin. We were lucky because Gaslini left the film over a problem he had with Dario and we composed most of the soundtrack.'
At Summerhall, Simonetti's band will perform a series of very special gigs, playing a live score to Suspiria (1977) and George A Romero's classic Dawn of the Dead (1978). Both films represent the pinnacle of 70s horror cinema. Suspiria is a bizarre tale of murder and witches at a remote ballet school in Germany, a haunting and visually stunning piece of work that's arguably Argento's masterpiece. 'After the big success of Profondo Rosso, Dario decided to call us again.' remembers Simonetti. 'But he said "this is a different film so I need very particular music, not prog rock. I want the music to make people always feel the witches are there even when they are not on screen".'
The score is a disorientating and sometimes discordant mix of classical, rock, jazz and folk, and becomes integral to the film's mood and feel, heightening the terror and setting the viewer on edge. 'We did Profondo Rosso in just ten days but with Suspiria we spent two months in the studio searching for new sounds from different instruments like the bouzouki, the tabla and the big Moog,' recalls Simonetti. 'We did a lot of experimental music that I think even now sounds very modern.'
Goblin's soundtracking of Suspiria is rather uncannily timed with a remake being released later this year. Directed by Luca Guadagnino, it stars Tilda Swinton, Dakota Johnson and Chloë Grace Moretz, while Thom Yorke is writing a new score.