Donna Hayward from Twin Peaks once said, “It’s like I’m having the most beautiful dream and the most terrible nightmare all at once.” These sentiments resonate in my brain every time a record label announces a new horror soundtrack coming out on vinyl these days. For a collector, it’s been an incredible time for new, expanded and reissued soundtracks. And then there’s that whole paying for them thing… One of the most recent drops that has collectors salivating comes via Waxwork Records with their announcement that they will be issuing three of Dario Argento’s scores on vinyl; Profondo Rosso (1975), Phenomena (1985) and Inferno (1980).
There’s no question that Dario Argento has some of the most iconic and classic horror scores out there. These releases coincide with his 78th birthday on September 7th and are a fitting tribute to the legendary filmmaker. Out of these three classics, there’s one that holds a special place in this collector’s heart; the supernatural oddball that is Phenomena. The film tells the tale of Jennifer (played by a young Jennifer Connelly), the daughter of a famous actor who is sent to pursue her education at a Swiss boarding school in the middle of nowhere. She soon discovers she possesses psychic powers that help her communicate with insects. While uncovering this discovery she befriends an entomologist (played by Donald Pleasance) and his monkey companion Inga. Together the three help track down a serial killer plaguing young women in the area with plenty of twists and turns along the way.
So here we are in the mid-80’s and we’ve got this plot that’s a little out there, but not entering completely bonkers territory. Like several of Argento’s films he calls upon members of the Italian prog-rock group Goblin to help with the score. However, unlike most of Argento’s films, he decides to hop on the bandwagon of incorporating popular songs into film and manages to snag some killer tracks from rock gods Iron Maiden, Motorhead and Andi Sex Gang. But, let’s be honest here, the juxtaposition of Iron Maiden and a Dario Argento film is a little jarring. The scenes and the songs do not mesh well, but are a ton of fun at the same time from a campy point of view. It’s a “I can’t believe this is happening right now” kind of experience, but in the best way.
The flip side to these weird insert song choices are the tracks created by Claudio Simonetti, Fabio Pignatelli and Goblin proper. Unlike some of their previous works for Argento, the Phenomena score shows a less funky, prog version of Goblin and really shows their versatility as artists. These synth laden, guitar driven tracks fit perfectly and are an incredible time capsule representation of classic 80’s techniques. These techniques are now being revived by the likes of Perturbator, GosT, Dance with the Dead, etc. and there’s no question that Goblin are one of the pioneers of this now classic sound. Layered on top of a lot of these tracks is a soaring, full range vocal performance from a soprano singer named Pina Magri. The combination of her beautiful operatic vocals with the electric guitar and keyboards is, frankly, amazing. Check out this title track and tell me you don’t catch yourself groovin’ to it:
So what can we expect from this special offering from Waxwork? Let’s break it down:
- Gorgeous 180gram double LP colored vinyl
- Film laminated gloss heavyweight old-style gatefold jackets
- Incredible artwork from artist Kilian Eng
- 11″ x 11″ art print
- Goblin’s full score as well as unused and alternate tracks as well as unreleased and bonus tracks
Orders go live Friday, September 7th and ship immediately. If you’re not familiar with this score, I highly recommend you check it out. It’s not one of the most famous Goblin scores, but it’s a diamond in the rough for sure. And don’t sleep on this release either! Pull up the couch cushions, dig through some pockets, scoop up that loose change from the cup holder. While price info hasn’t been released, historically releases like this hover around the $35 range and odds are will disappear quick. Head on over to Waxwork Records for more information on this and other releases.