Claudio Simonetti's Top Horror Film Scores

Claudio Simonetti’s Goblin return to the UK and Ireland shortly to play five shows. And what sort of performance you get will depend on where you see them.

“We are playing the entire score for Profundo Rosso in Sheffield (October 25) and Manchester (November 1),” explains mainman Claudio Simonetti. “In Dublin (October 30), we are doing two performances. One of Profundo Rosso and the other of the Suspiria score. In Birmingham (October 29) we are doing the Dawn Of The Dead soundtrack. At all of these shows, the relevant movie will be screened while we play the score. But we’ve already done all of these in London, so on October 27 we’ll just do a normal concert, with excerpts from the music we did for all of these films and others.”

As an appetiser, here’s Simonetti’s selection of his six favourite horror movie musical scores.


“This is my favourite. Who can ever forget the shower scene and the repeated stabbing. Bernard Hermann’s music was so crucial to the impact this had – and still has. But his music for the entire film was brilliant. I’d say it was genius, and it had a huge influence on me.”


“John Carpenter proved the value of keeping music simple. And by doing this, he increased how scary that movie was. You don’t need big orchestras and lots of notes to make things come alive. Just three notes will do, if they’re the right ones. When I first met John, I told him how much I loved what he did on the synthesiser for Halloween. And he admitted to me that he had ripped Goblin off for this score! Ha, ha. Well, he did it so well that I didn’t even realise.”


“Using Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells was just fantastic. I know it wasn’t composed foe the film, but it fitted so well. Again, the music is simple. Had it been complicated, then it would never have had the same power. I still remember seeing this in 1974, and the music was so much a part of why it was such a frightening experience. Now, The Exorcist seems a bit silly, but any eeriness it has retained comes from the music.”


“I love what we came up with for this movie, I think it proves how important music is to a horror film. Or, to any film, actually. Would it have the same impact if you took the music out? I saw scenes before we added the music, and they weren’t as scary. I’m not boasting, but… well, every time we play the main theme from this live it gets a huge reaction. Because people associate it with the visuals they see on screen.”


“This was fortunate to have a great script and some fine acting. But again, what Goblin did musically took it further. People don’t realise it, but there’s only about 20 minutes of music in the entire film. This is actually our most successful music. When it was released on record in 1975, we sold over four million copies in Italy alone. It was the biggest selling album over there for 15 successive weeks, and stayed on the chart for over a year. That still amazes me.”


“The Hammer one from 1958, with Christopher Lee. I saw that when I was really young, and it scared me a lot. Now, the music here is very understated, but makes its mark. It might not be as memorable as some of the others I’ve chosen, but in the context of the movie this worked so well.”

Malcolm Dome

Malcolm Dome had an illustrious and celebrated career which stretched back to working for Record Mirror magazine in the late 70s and Metal Fury in the early 80s before joining Kerrang! at its launch in 1981. His first book, Encyclopedia Metallica, published in 1981, may have been the inspiration for the name of a certain band formed that same year. Dome is also credited with inventing the term "thrash metal" while writing about the Anthrax song Metal Thrashing Mad in 1984. With the launch of Classic Rock magazine in 1998 he became involved with that title, sister magazine Metal Hammer, and was a contributor to Prog magazine since its inception in 2009. He died in 2021