All the best horror movies have a particular sound.
The sound of blood spattering and axes thwacking and teenage girls screaming, yes. But also echoing analog synth arpeggios and lulling drones punctuated by atonal shrieks of feedback. It’s how you know that Michael Myers didn’t really die that last time (or seven) -- you hear that little keyboard tingle, and your spine does the same.
For that sound, you can thank the Italian band and composing collective Goblin. In the ‘70s, it scored the best films by the legendary gore-fest director Dario Argento. “Suspiria” and “Deep Red” are genre classics that raised horror’s artery-cutting stakes with uncanny style, and Goblin’s proto-prog scores were a huge part of that aesthetic.
Electronic music producers and goth-inclined rock bands have mined their influence for generations (it’s hard to imagine the Knife exisiting without Goblin’s sonic template coming first). But some of the group’s work is surprisingly pastoral and ambient, and outside of the slasher-flick context, it holds up as pioneering electro-acoustic work in its own right.
The band has been on a bit of a reunion kick lately, but its show Saturday at the Fonda is its most thorough revisit of its catalog yet. The lineup returns four out of five original members, including principals Massimo Morante and Maurizio Guarini. Listen to the score for “Suspiria” above, and stay away from stained-glass windows.