Film & TV

Soundtrack Review: Suspiria

Closing night: Suspiria feat. Live Soundtrack by DJ Fake Blood

 

 

The final day of Soundtrack saw Dario Argento’s 1977 horror masterpiece being given a new lease of life with the introduction of a bespoke and better still, live soundtrack from producer and DJ Fake Blood  (AKA Theo Keating). Theo, an avid horror film fan, worked tirelessly to cut around the film’s dialogue and remove the original soundtrack which was performed by Italian progressive rock band, Goblin. He then wrote 20 brand new pieces of music, working to ensure they fitted in perfectly with the movement and tone of the film.

When I sat down to watch the performance, I can say without doubt that I could not have been any less aware of what to expect, not just from the film itself but from the production as a whole.  As the opening scene began, my ears were greeted with what I can only describe as an industrial synthesis of dub-step and house music, which provided the most surreal contrast to the image in front of me; a composed, Mary-Jane clad young woman leaving an airport in the late hours of the night.  Yet the two complemented each other perfectly somehow, as the music immediately draws you into the action, you feel tense, you feel nervous (I also felt the urge to dance, though that may have just been me).   Theo continues to use his unending knowledge of music production throughout, accompanying the films use of poppy, Warhol-esque cinematography faultlessly, not only during the action-filled scenes but in it’s quieter moments too.  The score moves from beat-filled rhythms, to calmer, smooth pieces, which at times were even quietly reminiscent of 90s-style hip-hop.

As for the film as an isolated piece, the cult classic is awash with all the elements expected from a 70’s horror. Argento doesn’t fail to impress, with a humorous script and close up shots used during the goriest scenes compensating nicely for a plot that it many parts lacks any sense of direction.  The most credit perhaps, has to be given to the first 15 minutes of the film, which are arguably it’s most chilling; culminating in the image of a young woman covered in (albeit, poster paint) blood hanging by her neck from a beautifully decorated ceiling. Here, the film showed some promise of being reflective of that of some of Kubrick’s work, though it loses pace somewhat as it continues and this hope is lost.  It remains enjoyable however, if you ensure you take the majority of scenes with a pinch of salt, the combination of a contemporary soundtrack and cinematic nostalgia will have you wanting to watch it all over again.

Becky Johnson

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