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Beyond Fest: “Goblin”

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Italian horror has had a marked imprint on the landscape of genre film, thanks mostly to Dario Argento and his gialli style films like SUSPIRIA, DEEP RED, and TENEBRE. The Giallo genre is known, beyond its penchant for sadistic violence and creepy thrills, for its music. And, perhaps no band is more responsible for the Giallo boom than the Italian progressive rock band GOBLIN. The band’s soundtrack work is legendary, having developed the music that enveloped and made Dario Argento’s SUSPIRIA, DEEP RED, and TENEBRE so exciting and intense. Goblin and Dario Argento go together like peanut butter and jelly, sex and slasher films, or Charlie Sheen and strippers.

This past week, Goblin came to Los Angeles for the first time, more than 40 years after they first got together, to play a live show at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, as a part of BEYOND FEST. For those who haven’t heard, BEYOND FEST is the incredible horror and genre film and music festival featuring new and old classics, domestic and foreign releases alike. Goblin played three consecutive nights, followed by a different screening of the aforementioned pillars of Argento’s filmography: SUSPIRIA, DEEP RED, and TENEBRE.

Goblin has a huge cult following of rabid fans, and they came out in full force for the sold out event. Even Eli Roth, of HOSTEL and CABIN FEVER fame, was in attendance, just as much a fanboy as the rest of us. I could practically feel the creative vibes seeping out of Roth’s pores, and wouldn’t be surprised if one of his next film projects feature Goblin on the score. They certainly should, anyhow.

The Egyptian Theatre proved to be a fantastic (and awesomely loud) musical venue, and Goblin didn’t disappoint. Their entire set was eerie, unsettling, and inspiring. The quintet was still at the top of their games, with original band members Claudio Simonetti and Maurizio Guarini on keyboards, showman Massimo Morante on the guitar, joined by 2010 newbies drummer Titta Tani and bassist Bruno Previtali.

They jumped around with some of their early work, and then delighting us all with their renowned soundtrack work, like “Zombi,” a major factor in DAWN OF THE DEAD. Dario Argento and Goblin were huge influences on George A. Romero. They followed that up with their title track from SUSPIRIA, and songs from other Argento classics. Not much trumps Claudio Simonetti’s ghoulish voice on “Suspiria” (a ba ba ba), and the entire performance was accompanied by psychedelic clips from the films in which they came from, joined by flashing and colored lights. I’m still seeing lights and colors from the night I went, and I can’t be happier about it.

GOBLIN has been a mainstay on my Spotify ever since, and should be for a while, now that I’ve rediscovered them. And it’s all thanks to Beyond Fest!


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