Thom Yorke’s “Suspirium”

There’s been talk of a Suspiria remake for years now. At first I wasn’t really on board. Why mess with greatness? Dario Argento’s classic occult horror film set in a dance school truly felt like something not to be messed with. So original and dark, and with Goblin’s amazing score pushing it to the very limits of sanity, who would dare attempt to recreate that dark magic? Well, apparently David Gordon Green wanted to and my attitude changed. Green has made some of my favorite movies over the last 15 years. George Washington, Undertow, Snow Angels and Pineapple Express to name a few. The guy is extremely diverse, and especially with a film like Undertow on his resume I felt he could pull off dark and Gothic pretty well.

Well, that didn’t quite pan out. I guess it worked out for the the best as Green took on another horror masterpiece in John Carpenter’s Halloween. All trailers indicate he made the right choice, both with Halloween and in that Luca Guadagnino getting the task of remaking Suspiria. Full disclosure, I haven’t seen any of Guadagnino’s previous films. But after seeing the trailers for his Suspiria, I have every confidence he was the right man for the job. It looks like it came right out of the 70s. It has a heavy Nicolas Roeg/Don’t Look Now vibe to me. It’s gorgeously dreary. He didn’t go the route of Argento and splash us with blood reds, dark blues, and effervescent greens. Instead, it seems we’ll be set in a darker, Gothic Europe. I can’t wait.

As for the task of filling the shoes of Goblin, well that was given to Thom Yorke. I wasn’t sure what to make of that at first. Of course I’m one of those Radiohead fans that gets all giddy whenever they drop something from the ether for us to gobble up. But I’ve always been more drawn to Yorke’s solo stuff. I think The Eraser and Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes are brilliant albums, and his Atoms For Peace record AMOK is the best music he’s been a part of in a very long time. So whenever he’s doing something solo my ears perk up a bit more.

I have to admit, I didn’t think Yorke had a film score in him. His music always seemed too personal for him to be able to give into another artist’s ideas and build from their perspective. Well, if this first song from the film is any indication, then my concerns have been laid to rest. “Suspirium” is a deliriously gorgeous track that is, for the most part, piano and Yorke’s ethereal voice. On its own it is a simple and earnest Thom Yorke track. Maybe one of the most beautiful things he’s written in years. Vulnerable and bare, much like being a dancer on a stage I would imagine. He’s done that before, but this song feels different.

The accompanying video is quite unique as well. It’s sort of an animated and affected shot of someone dancing as grainy lines move through the shot. Blue and pink color the reel making the whole thing feel slightly dream-like. With Yorke’s gorgeous track playing over it, it reminds me of an opening credit scene from a 70s Bond film but if Dario Argento had directed a Bond film in the 70s. Given that Radiohead almost had a song in the last Bond film, well things seem to be lining up perfectly, at least in my dream alternate reality.

Check out “Suspirium” below, and go see Luca Guadagnino’s Suspiria on October 26th. Also, pick up the double album soundtrack by Thom Yorke on October 26th from XL Recordings. Just take off October 26th and make it a Yorke/Guadagnino love fest. You’ll be glad you did.

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