Column: Slicing Score: Phenomena (1985)

 

Phenomena (1985). Composer: Goblin.

Italian progressive rock band Goblin frequently contributed interesting musical scores to the horror films of director Dario Argento. Phenomena is a film that tells the story of the telepathic connection a sleepwalking teenage girl has with insects and how the insects lead her and investigators to capture a depraved killer. The concept of a human being that possesses a trusting, telepathic connection with animal life forms is not a new concept, but it’s a storyline that has appeal to outsiders among people.

There are two soundtracks to this film. One album included some of the orchestral music composed by Goblin, with additional songs written and performed by Iron Maiden, Motorhead and other artists, and the other album was the complete Goblin score. The album with the Iron Maiden and Motorhead tracks is currently unavailable at Amazon. This album is the complete Goblin score.

Phenomena (Originale): I haven’t heard too many eighties synthesized scores that are decorated with mournful operatic singing. It’s interesting, but this cue doesn’t sound frightening when heard separate from the film. It’s more a low-key kind of spooky.

Jennifer: This cue is filled with eighties synthesizers, as well. It’s melodramatically pretty.

Wind Originale: This one has some cool suspense.

Sleepwalking: These synthesized bass lines aren’t as impressive to me as the heavy bass lines used in Profondo Rosso, another musically-taut thriller.

Jennifer’s Friend: Most of this soundtrack is built on synthesized pop and this cue is a ripe example of that ambience.

Phenomena: I prefer this version of the main theme to the first version that opened this soundtrack. It sounds more palpably somber.

Phenomena (Film Version # 2): Music to accompany a blessed and cursed phenomenon.

Phenomena (Piano Solo Film Version): This brief, one-minute cue is my preferred track on this album. It’s the main titles performed acoustically without any synthesized enhancement.

Sleepwalking (Alternate Version): This cue makes me wonder if I’m the only person who had never heard of sleepwalking being a precursor to schizophrenia until seeing this film.

The Wind (Film Suite 1): I have to say, as unimpressed as I am with the “Sleepwalking” cues, I like the variations performed with these Wind cues.

The Wind (Originale): The sound of the wind carrying away ashe. (IMO).

Jennifer’s Friend (Alternate Version): This version of the cue is not as interesting to me.

Jennifer (End Titles): Jennifer’s theme is very bittersweet. I can live without the guitar wails, but the theme itself suits her character’s alienation.

Phenomena (Video Clip Version): It’s shorter than the opening cue of this soundtrack. Otherwise, it sounds pretty much the same and I could have done without its inclusion.

Phenomena (Alternate Version): More of the same.

This album of Goblin’s instrumental music to Phenomena is available in MP3 and CD format on Amazon.com.

About Maria Mitchell

Maria Mitchell is Innsmouth Free Press's soundtrack columnist. Her poem," Broken Notes," was published in Innsmouth Free Press's gothic horror anthology, Candle in the Attic Window, and her short story, "The Kadath Angle," was published in Future Lovecraft. She wrote Monster Bytes concerning the eerie Garden of Azathoth.

Maria MitchellColumn: Slicing Score: Phenomena (1985)