score by Goblin
Some film scores are meant to lull you into certain emotions, or just sort of underscore the action, or reflect “This is exciting!” or “This is sad!” Other scores are oppressive, loud and invasive, maybe not all that fun to listen to but certainly memorable. This is precisely what the score for Dario Argento’s film Suspiria does. Composed and performed by the Italian industrial rock outfit Goblin (or The Goblins, depending on what film you’re watching), the music in Suspiria is inescapable, enveloping the audience’s ears in a cacophony that’s meant to unsettle and disturb, and coupled with Argento’s vibrant colors and shocking death scenes, it does exactly that. Ostensibly a story about a coven of witches masquerading as a girls’ dance school in Germany, the film is at its best when it’s trying to bash us into submission by blinding us with the brightness of the surroundings and deafening us with the creepy and demonic mixture of music-box chimes, spacey synth noises, and percussive electric guitars, basses, and drums. This isn’t a score that ever makes you think “Oh, maybe something will be okay.” Nothing will ever be okay again, and the indecipherable whispering or unearthly howling layered on top of each track will haunt your dreams for awhile. An unpleasant success, we call this.