Sunday, July 13, 2014

IHW: PROFONDO FOLLETO – OR – How One Person's Love to Hate Relationship with an Italian Horror Icon, Led to a Torrid Love Affair with an Elderly Italian Progressive Rock Band.

Elizabeth Katheryn Gray aka EKG aka The Head Hauntress has been a great friend of mine for some time. We have battled through her contest the HALLOWEEN HORROR MOVIE MARATHON MADNESS where I have known her as a judge and guide as a well as a copilot through the month of October. She loves film. She loves horror, and she has a very unique perspective on more than a few Italian Horror films. I love to hear why someone loves an Italian movie, but nearly as fascinating is why someone dislikes one. I love to know that people are willing to experiment within the Italian Horror world and find out what they love especially if that thing is the great composers and progressive rock music of bands like Goblin. 

Make sure to check out the movie watching competition of the year this October as a guest or as a participant. 

SUSPIRIA is Overrated. There I said it. As many of you may know I am the Head Hauntress for the HALLOWEEN HORROR MOVIE MARATHON MADNESS. The first year I did The MADNESS, the first film I watched was SUSPIRIA. I was so excited. EVERYONE I knew that loved horror was telling how it was a perfect horror film. Maybe that was my undoing. But for a brief moment I thought that everyone was right. The opening sequence was simple. A well composed shot of a girl leaving an airport. But what made it stand out was this eerie narration with a fairy-tale style music. The music was a cross between a child's music box and a song only heard in a dream. I thought this may be the movie I have always looked for, the perfect witch film. But in the end it was all style and very little pay off. Suspiria felt like a long slow orgy of dance that leads to nowhere. Maybe if the ending was a little stronger...

People were actually offended that I had a luke warm response to Suspiria. I am sure some of you reading this think I am bonkers as well. You may be right. I saw a lot of potential in Argento. I even understand why people liked him. His editing is weak, but the shot construction and lighting is his films is stellar. I cannot deny that art direction is some of the classiest coming out of Italy at that time. But art direction does not a film make.

So I keep trying and trying with Argento thinking that I am just being to picky. I kept asking others what were their favorites and why? A lot of people said DEEP RED will change my mind. It BORED me to TEARS! More people said I would really appreciate Deep Red more if I watched the Director’s cut. If I was already bored, why would I want to add another 24 minutes to my suffering? But my suffering was continuous anyway as I kept digging deeper and deeper into the Argento catalog and coming up empty handed.  Finally I found one film I liked, not loved, PHENOMENON. However there was one thing most of these films had in common, despite not liking them, was great music. My obsession with GOBLIN was born!

Like many fellow Horror Geeks of the bloggersghpere, I caught wind of the first US GOBLIN tour last summer and freaked out! We spread the news like wildfire. A bucket list item for some even. I will admit there maybe bigger fans of Goblin (I am still digging into their non-horror stuff), but I had a NEED to see Goblin, not a want, as did many other of my colleagues. I immediately bought tickets and  went to the third show in the country at the Otto Bar in Baltimore Maryland, October 4th. And what was even more awesome The Secret Chiefs Three were opening. As film geek and Mr Bungle fan, I couldn't have been more in heaven that night.

And a great show it was. Secret Chiefs just killed (shame on many of you for missing them) and knew exactly what the audience wanted opening with a Metal version of the HALLOWEEN theme. The crowd was won over and really excited by the time Goblin took stage. And it was hysterical as they entered. The packed crowd ROARED! The sixty year old band members all looked like deer stuck in the headlights, especially Lead Guitarist Massimo Morante. They had no idea how many fans they had here in the States. But soon learned very quickly the venues were selling out because they were slightly too small, expanding the tour and even adding two whole legs! Needless to say they were amazing and proof that rock and roll will never die. However it may eat a few brains along the way.

The first film of Argento's I saw after that monumental concert was TENEBRE. And for the first time ever, I enjoyed the crap out of an Argento film. I had to admit the music, which I already had memorized, really brought me through the short but sweet run-time. I would even say it's the perfect example of it's sub-genre Giallo. It would be a great film to show a film class studying Italian cinema. But the music is still better than the film itself. I am not sure I would had liked it as much as I did if it weren't for my familiarity with the score. And under using John Saxon like that should be made illegal. But still here was a film that I will re-watch again, and I have to thank Goblin for that.

I saw Goblin a second time in April this year. I was in California on personal business and they happen to be playing while I was there. I went to see their very last US date in Oakland, California. While I still had a good time, the vibe to this concert was very different. The crowd was not as large or as enthusiastic. They were also heavy on the Hipster side, all being “Argento” fans over actually liking Goblin. The exact opposite of me. The club also stiffed my friend ten bucks, but that is a another story. Lead Keyboards Claudio Simonetti was not on the final leg and while Maurizio Guarini, and the kid they hired to replace, did a good job covering, there is really no one that has the talent or star quality of Claudio.  Massimo Morante was still a great front man but now you can tell the honeymoon period was over and he more about businesslike. However they added a really cool video show that gave this concert a more ethereal quality than the first rock driven concert. It was a nice swan song but you could tell they were ready to go back to Rome. So I said my good-bye and wished them well.

So now I have seen all the Argento films except a couple of the new ones, OPERA and INFERNO. Inferno doesn't have an Goblin score so I am still not sure I am going to watch it. But I decided to try again with DEEP RED for Jimmy Terror and Italian Horror Week. This time knowing the score by heart, I watched the director's cut. I even bought it on Blu-ray. I know that I would have never done that if it wasn't for the Goblin score. Did my opinion change?? Ummm...well no. I was still bored to tears. DEEP RED is not smart enough to be a groovy mystery and it's too long to be a successful slasher. But it does get props for its creepy dolls (This year's MADNESS theme) and fantastic music. This girl may not love Argento, no matter how hard she tries, but I will forever be a Goblin fan. Who knew that a forty year old band could still have such a profound effect on people even to this day. And I'm honored that I got to share a small piece of such an important group to Italian cinema.

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