Claudio Simonetti's Goblin performing Suspiria
When: May 3rd, 2014
Grade: 4.5 out of 5 meatballs
Reviewed by: Neil Miller, Jr.
Seventies Italian horror films are not for everybody — I’ll be the first to admit that. Not to say that those films are for some elite group of horror film buffs (that would be a snotty observation). But films made by the likes of Dario Argento and Lucio Fulci are suited to the tastes of moviegoers who prefer a bit of drama in their horror…and no, not as in romance but in the way the production of the film is executed. The cuts have to be swift, and the lighting has to be bold and significant. We may not set the bar high for acting (we are talking about horror films here, and these aren’t Oscar-winning masterpieces by any stretch of the imagination), but we do like the score of the film to play a major role in setting the atmosphere. Enter Goblin: the Italian progressive rock-ish band who scored such underground classics as Deep Red, Tenebre, the European release of George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead, and the masterpiece we viewed at the Metro this past Saturday evening with Claudio Simonetti’s Goblin live scoring, Suspiria.
You read that correctly — Goblin is now split up into two different groups, each consisting of original members from way back when, but the band has been known to have a revolving door of talent in recent years. Claudio Simonetti’s Goblin retains its namesake as the sole original artist involved, but that’s not to say the band is any less credible. Watching Suspiria on a big screen underneath the Metro’s roof with this particular group of musicians scoring the film with an assortment of weird instruments including multiple means of percussion (not limited to the timpani and table), a bouzouki, and a stack of synthesizers with a moog resting on top — well, it was just outstanding. I’ve seen the film in a few different settings, but this presentation can’t be beat. The percussion sequences — particularly in the track “Witch” — were so loud and thunderous, I was actually more scared than the first time I saw the movie.
There was something about actually feeling this music live while watching Suspiria that really helped elevate the movie to a new level. It was obvious early on, though, that the focus of this night would not be on the band, but on the overall emotional impact of the film. The band performed with subtle blue lighting on them for the entirety of the film, and at first that bothered me a bit, but it made sense as time passed. Suspiria could not be soaked up in any better environment than this. This is a movie that some, including myself, consider to be equally as frightening as more well known horror films like The Omen, The Exorcist, and The Shining. By today's standards, many would consider the quality "cheesy," but if you let yourself fall into Suspiria, it will chill you to the bone. All in all, the evening was flawless, the film was better than ever and has held up splendidly over time, and if you have a chance to see Simonetti’s Goblin performing the score to either Suspiria or Dawn of the Dead live…do yourself a favor and go.