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Wednesday 22 February 2023


Many years ago I was at a wedding reception talking to a man who I knew locally by sight and who was a friend of a friend. We chatted for a while and then began talking, as middle aged men sometimes do, about music. It turned out we were both big fans of krautrock. He said he was going to a gig in the upcoming weeks, a gig by a reformed Italian prog band who  made lots of soundtracks in the 70s and 80s. 'Oh, that'll be Goblin' I said. And we both fell about laughing, neither of us expecting to be at a wedding reception discussing Goblin and obscure film soundtracks.

Goblin performed the scores for several definitive horror/ slasher/ psychological thriller films in the 70s and 80s, and in various incarnations have been playing and recording up to the present day. They formed in the early 70s, initially calling themselves Oliver and then Cherry Five before settling on Goblin. Over the decades they've had a revolving door membership with musicians and players coming and going. As a result they've formed and reformed and at various times renamed themselves The Goblins, Back To The Goblin, New Goblin, Goblin Rebirth and Goblin Keys. In 1975 they collaborated with Dario Argento to create the soundtrack for the film Profondo Rosso and then again in 1977 for Suspiria. 


Suspiria was released as an album and the title track as a single. The twinkling keys and wind up toy melodies are a little deceptive- the ominous drums and whispering voices add a little eeriness and then the track gathers pace in the second half, heading into full prog territory, before breaking apart with some looping synth whooshes and then the creepiness returns. 

Suspiria tells the story of an American ballet student who gets a place at a big time dance academy. There are a series of brutal murders and it transpires that the school is a front for a supernatural conspiracy. There are maggots, dog attacks, bats, a coven of witches, peacocks, invisibility and human sacrifice. 

In 1985 Goblin contributed three tracks to the soundtrack of the film Phenomena, an Italian supernatural horror/ slasher movie directed by Dario Argento (released in the UK as Creepers). Phenomena is centred around an American girl who attends a Swiss boarding school. She discovers she has psychic powers and can communicate with insects and then uses these powers to track down a serial killer who is murdering young women around the area. Goblin have three tracks on the OST along with songs by Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Bill Wyman, Andi Sex Gang (formerly Sex Gang Children), Motorhead and Iron Maiden. Jennifer's Friend is a more 80s sounding track than Suspiria, more synth based and bigger sounding, similar twinkling toplines but with a deep 80s bassline. 

Jennifer's Friend


Anonymous said...

As a kid I was enraptured by the covers of those film scores. The UK Marvel Comics in the early/mid 80s were always advertising them on their back covers. I knew the covers of Suspiria, Tenebrae and Escape From New York long before I either saw the films or heard the scores. Michael

Rol said...

I remember those adverts, Michael. Hardly suited to the target market of those comics!

I must admit, you're braver than me, Adam. Whenever I get talking to another M-A-M and the subject of music comes up, I usually answer the "what kind of thing do you like?" question with... "Oh, lots of different stuff..." and then change the subject.

Anonymous said...

Great Post. Terrific music selections.

Swiss Adam said...

Adverts in Marvel comics were a world of their own weren't they.

Rol- I know what you mean, often I do the same, an 'all sorts really...' answer, but for some reason we managed to drill down quite quickly.

C said...

I love your first para, I can just imagine the scene, there's something very special about those moments. You've also reminded me that I've seen some fab original posters around for those Dario Argento films - although I've never actually watched one.