One day I’d like to attend a screening of Dario Argento’s Suspiria without the music to see if it has nearly as strong an impact on me. Admittedly, it would be a tough job to argue against the brilliance of Argento’s film, which could be described as a complete warping of the giallo-slasher genre into a surreal and psychedelic pseudo-fairy tale. But all of this gets turned to a disorienting 11 by Goblin’s equally influential film score.
The highlight of the entire soundtrack remains the opening theme, “Suspiria,” which manages to pit ghoulish vocals, pounding drums, and spacey synthesizers against fragile and innocent sounding celesta and bells. The entire six minutes, while overwhelmingly creepy, builds into a powerful piece of music in its own right. It manages to transcend the film score trappings that could have left this ignored as the Italian version of The Exorcist’s “Tubular Bells.” Meanwhile the funky and synth-crazy “Markos” sits in the center of the album and is an easy reference point for the recent vintage synth revival.
Fascinatingly, Argento had Goblin compose the score for Suspiria before he began filming. This music existed for the film, even before its creation. Its mark shows throughout every shot and the pairing of the two create a powerful symbiosis that still remains a rarity in film.