Friday, April 10, 2009

GOBLIN: The Soundtrack for Horror

What would’ve the 70s and 80s been without GOBLIN? Certainly Romero’s DAWN OF THE DEAD (1978) and Argento’s SUSPERIA (1977) would have been poorer cinematic experiences without them. Soavi’s THE CHURCH (1988) wouldn’t nearly have been so darkly majestic minus their musical input. And even Bruno Mattei’s and Joe D’Amato’s cheapjack horror grue-explosions would have suffered for their absence.
But GOBLIN has done much more than just contribute some of the most famous horror film music for such genre classics as TENEBRAE (1982), BLUE OMEGA (1979), MARTIN (1978), DEEP RED (1957) and many more. They’ve played venues throughout the world, helped create music for television and opera, and, through their highly theatrical phrasing and arrangements, helped influence numerous rock bands and avant-gard jazz ensembles.
Originally a five-man band blend of classical, jazz, funk, and rock influences, GOBLIN started as the progressive rock group, CHERRY FIVE. When then-girlfriend Daria Nicolodi (actress, co-producer, and screenwriter of Argento’s DEEP RED and PHENOMENA) heard them, she suggested that he should use them for DEEP RED’s soundtrack.
Magic was born. Argento’s style seemed a perfect match for their blend of funky bass, eerie keyboards and evocative guitar riffs. The eccentric director fell in love with their vibe, hurried them into the studio, and had them cut the now classic tracks for his next Giallo offering, one with a bleakly supernatural twist, SUSPERIA. The haunting refrain that makes up the backbone of SUSPERIA’s soundtrack is probably the most recognizable piece of soundtrack music ever recorded for the Italian horror cinema movement, and has become part of the horror fan’s demarcation for creepy music.
GOBLIN became such a success on Argento’s films that word soon spread to George A. Romero, and he hired them on for DAWN OF THE DEAD, and later MARTIN.
As they continued to explore the connection between onscreen violence and their own complexly layered musical discordance, GOBLIN’s members found discord from within, and by the time the group was working on shite-fests such as HELL OF THE LIVING DEAD (1981), CONTAMINATION (1980), and NOTTURNO (1983) the group was splintering quickly. Founding band mates Claudio Simonetti and Massimo Morante were already working on solos efforts for soundtracks and beyond. The decline of GOBLIN followed the decline of the Italian horror cinema movement, and they soon seemed to disappear into the annals of horror history.
But longtime fans may now rejoice.
GOBLIN has reformed with some familiar faces, and has released a new CD, “Back To The Goblin 2005” (which can only be purchased online at And with plans to hit the stage again, can new soundtrack music be far behind? Founding member Massimo Morante says he hasn’t ruled out the idea of this latest incarnation of GOBLIN creating fresh music for the new horror millennium.
So horror fans: grab your black gloves, your sharpest Giallo knife, and say it with me, “GOBLIN LIVES AGAIN!”

Band Members:
Fabio Pignatelli- bass
Massimo Morante- guitar
Maurizio Guarini- keyboards
Agostino Marangolo- percussions

For more information about GOBLIN…

Official band web site:

Fan based web sites: (Great, if you can read Italian, but full of great photos and music clips) (Focused on Argento’s masterpiece, SUSPERIA. Great photos and facts, but, again, you’ll need your Italian dictionary to fully enjoy all it has to offer.)

Some definitive videos:
Dawn of the Dead
Deep Red

--Nickolas Cook