Promoter hoping to follow up Goblin appearance with John Carpenter
It’s a show Cory Thomas was prepared to take a bloodbath on.
Even with prog-rock band Goblin in the house at the Park Theatre on Monday performing the influential score as Dario Argento’s 1977 horror classic Suspiria screens — and with a recent remake rekindling interest — Thomas knew it represented a huge risk.
Just months into a fulltime job as talent buyer after years operating as an independent, becoming the city’s most prominent heavy music promoter, he was aware of the hazards of booking a show as a fan.
Sure enough, new boss Erick Casselman couldn’t get fully behind the effort.
But as a massive fan of both heavy music and horror movies — heck, he’s also the drummer for horror metal band Zombie Assault — Thomas wasn’t prepared to let it die.
He spoke to his bandmates and together they eventually ponied up the cash to not only have Claudio Simonetti’s Goblin add a Winnipeg date to the end of its tour, flying in from Philadelphia, but to fly the band back home to Rome the next day.
“I was like, ‘Guys, you want to go in on this with me? We could lose money together. And they were, ‘Yup. Let’s do it.’ They were like, ‘I’ll lose money with a smile on my face,’” Thomas recalls. “All I cared about is the show happening. I booked the show thinking, ‘Well, this could be a huge disaster. There could be 150 people there and I’ll lose my shirt, but … I said, Whatever, we’re going do this. And it sold like hotcakes.”
Sure enough, there were less than 40 of the 450 tickets remaining at the time of our conversation, and Thomas figures they need those to go just to break even. But if there’s any nerves involved, it’s only in his excitement to see the show go off.
After the film, Goblin will return for a second set featuring some of its other soundtrack work. Perhaps they’ll include the track Simonetti did for Winnipeg film company Astron-6 in its 2014 homage/parody of Italian subgenre giallo, The Editor, but expect to hear cuts from films such as Dawn of the Dead and Deep Red, Goblin’s first effort of many with Argento.
After the director had a falling out with the original composer, Goblin was asked to compose and record the score for Deep Red in a matter of weeks. The soundtrack became a surprise hit, selling over a million copies and they were asked back for Suspiria.
Given the time to be creative, they experimented with unusual instruments including the bouzouki (a Greek stringed instrument), the tabla (an Indian drum), and a big Moog synthesizer. Soundtracks of the day tended to be recorded with an orchestra or band and used primarily as background music, but Goblin was able to make the score as much a character in the film as Argento’s bold use of colour and visually arresting imagery.
The title track is a menacing, music-box lullaby wracked with distorted ghostly whispers whose influence can still be heard throughout the genre, some examples being John Carpenter’s original Halloween, and the Stranger Things theme.
“It’s a classic keyboard line that’s creepy and eerie and it’s just perfect. I think it’s one of the greatest movie soundtracks ever,” Thomas gushes. “I own them all. I’ve got them all on vinyl. I’m like, ‘Which one am I going to bring to get signed at the show?”
With the relative success of this venture secured, Thomas expects he’ll keep pestering director/composer Carpenter to come perform some of his soundtrack hits here.
“I’ve been trying. Sometimes I have to chase a band for years before I get them. So I’m going to keep on John. I want him in here next. Especially now that I can see there’s a scene for this here. Winnipeg likes this stuff.”
Cory Thomas, talent buyer for the Park Theatre is pleased with the response for the screening of Dario Argento’s Suspiria (inset right) with Italian prog rock band Goblin (inset left) performing the soundtrack live.