Tuesday, May 20, 2008


Video Nasties which have lost their bite, while their scores continue to make the cut.

Continuing in the Italian vein, the hysteria surrounding many of the independent movies marketed on the back of the burgeoning video boom in the early 1980s led to legislation in the UK effectively outlawing a long list of titles in 1984. A good many of these low-budget films were produced in Italy and lacked the financial backing to secure mainstream cinema distribution.

With the benefit of a quarter of a century's hindsight, most of these titles - however sensational the subject matter - have paled considerably in their ability to shock, but the soundtracks commissioned from a tiny group of euro composers still delivers as favourably as commercial giants like Ennio Morricone or Lalo Schifrin. While German progressives, Popol Vuh benefited hugely from their perceived intellectual alliance with director Werner Herzog, the same could not be said of Goblin in their longstanding relationships with George Romero and Dario Argento. Like pulp fiction before Tarantino bought it credibility, those associated closely with the video nasty suffered a distinct downturn in kudos.

While these artists may have struggled just to survive in the music business, the rewards afforded them through their work in the realm of schlock undoubtably allowed them not just to pay the rent but to keep one foot firmly in the recording studio.

Goblin have weathered the lean times fairly well, but spare an ear for Riz Ortolani whose soundtrack for possibly one of the most controversial exploitation movies ever made, Ruggero Deodato's brutal "Cannibal Holocaust", remains a thing of rare and haunting beauty ; at once both complementing and at odds with the film's crudely painted descent into depravity. I can almost see Ortolani grabbing onto the cheque lest it float away, thinking: "Here's one I prepared earlier..."

"Cannibal Holocaust", I might add, was one of the first retail videos I ever watched, back in the day when you could rent something just waiting to be banned from any indiscriminate cornershop vendor and purchase a packet of cigarettes into the bargain.

Thanks to the suitably deranged Inferno Music Crypt for putting up the rip and fleshing out the memory.

download: RIZ ORTOLANI: CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST (MAIN THEME) from "Cannibal Holocaust" CD (Red Stream Inc.) 1979, 2005 (US)

download: FABIO FRIZZI: ZOMBIE FLESH EATERS (MAIN TITLE) from "Cannibal Ferox/Zombie" CD (Blackest Heart Media) 1979, 1998 (US)

download: GOBLIN: MARKOS (ALTERNATIVE VERSION) from "SUSPIRIA" CD (Cinevox/Anchor Bay) 1977, 2001 (US)

posted by ib


Anonymous said...

Love the drum sounds on this Fabio Frizzi jam. :)

Anonymous said...

Hey Emmett, coming fom a drummer this carries some weight! On listening to this again, i was struck by how much it appeared to preempt the whole Techo scene...

I can "think" like a drummer on occasion - in terms of phrasing and punctuation - but when it comes to the "mechanics" of putting it into rhythmic practice, i stumble before I walk, and fall before I run.

Anonymous said...

Make that "Techno". See what I mean ?

Sheridan Dupre said...

OK, here's an association for you. The main theme from cannibal holocaust (which I've never heard and is great) sent me rummaging, looking for...wait for it...Mogwai's Happy Songs.


Anonymous said...

Sheridan! Glad you like the Ortolani...

I have "Happy Songs" but i haven't played it enough to let it get really under my skin. It does have a similar vibe, though, now that you mention it - quite soaring and filmic. And with titles like "Hunted by a Freak" ; "Kids Will Be Skeletons" ; "Killing All the Flies" I can definitely make the connection!

Cool association. I've dug out Mogwai and i'm playing it as I type... Neat.