Spasmo, 1974. Directed by Umberto Lenzi. Music by Ennio Morricone.
The two films Umberto Lenzi made 1974 are probably his most accomplished: the brutal crime film Almost Human, and the convoluted giallo Spasmo. They are also his only films for which Ennio Morricone wrote the score. With it’s complex, labyrinthine plot and it’s strange characters and dialogue, Spasmo is a film with a weird, disorienting feel to it. And this is reflected in Morricone’s score, which consists of a series of variation on three themes.
Some cool artwork on the OST's cover
Bambole, the elegant theme that also plays over the main titles, has five variations and is initially the least dark of the three themes. But by subtlety changing the tempo and orchestrations, Morricone adds an uneasy feel to it. I especially like Bambole 3, with it’s effective combination of guitars, that are of clear sound, and an organ that almost seems a bit out of tune, which results in a very mysterious sound.
Spasmo has a darker and more mournful theme. Especially as Morricone brings in a Hammond organ in the second variation, and, in the next, combines the organ with vocals.
Stress Infinito is more a reflection of the movies nightmarish qualities (or is it vice versa?) and its psychological themes. With an unusual, almost avant garde-like combination of sounds, music and instruments it creates a disorienting and disturbing effect.
This is a score that can stand on its own. The subtle, rich variations Morricone created on his powerful themes are simply stunning. Although Stress Infinito isn’t always easy to listen to, it is the combination of the pieces and the increasing uneasy feel that makes this such an interesting soundtrack.