Fabio Frizzi’s Film Jukebox

Fabio Frizzi (live in concert)

Italian maestro Fabio Frizzi is the composer of film scores for cult horror films including The Beyond and Zombie Flesh Eaters, and his brooding, synth-powered compositions are amongst the most memorable of the entire genre. On 29 October 2016, Frizzi returns to London’s Union Chapel for an evening of Chills in the Chapel, a show that includes new orchestrations of his scores for cult films by Lucio Fulci, mixed with explorations of his work outside of his longstanding collaboration with the Italian director. Below, Fabio Frizzi discusses his 10 favourite films.

1. Blade Runner (Ridley Scott, 1982)
My favourite film, at least to date, is this great parable of human existence. I’ve seen it many times in all the various versions, and I love that there is always something new to discover. Some films have the ability to teach you something, or give you something important to think about. These are the movies I love the most. For this reason, Blade Runner is my number one, and the soundtrack by Vangelis was hugely important and inspiring for me.

2. Play It Again, Sam (Herbert Ross, 1972)
Play it Again, Sam confirmed my adoration for Woody Allen’s work. Despite having a very different background and life experiences compared to mine, there are many things I relate to. There is his passion for good music, and having some familiarity with psycho-analysis and an ironic (often self-deprecating) approach to things in life. I found the main character irresistible, and it was wonderfully directed by Herbert Ross. From this moment, and for a long time now, I’ve been a big fan of Woody Allen.

3. Amarcord (Federico Fellini, 1973)
A surreal film which feels like a balance between a dream and reality, as with a lot of Federico Fellini’s work. As a boy I often spent holidays in Romagna and moments of the film played on my memories (the title actually means ’remember’ in local dialect), and this captivated me. I saw the film on the big screen and many characters reminded me of people I knew as a child.

4. Raiders of the Lost Ark (Steven Spielberg, 1981)
This film really unites different generations of fans. It’s a big production but you simply can’t forget those actors or that classic score. The story mixes action and archaeology and is able to grab even the most distracted viewer. One of those rare movies you can go back and re-watch time and again.

5. Once Upon a Time in America (Sergio Leone, 1984)
A great Italian film, directed by someone I knew well. Fulvio, my father, was a man of the cinema and a close friend of the great Sergio Leone. Much of the crew were Italian with a team of mostly American actors, and it was a very high profile production at that time. The result is an extraordinary and intense movie experience. It’s a film I’ve seen many times, always discovering new details. Huge artistic credit should go to Ennio Morricone, who enriched the epic story with his beautiful musical score.

6. Back to the Future (Robert Zemeckis, 1985)
Another fantastic film, in fact this ‘Film Jukebox’ is making me do a real examination of my own conscience! Who hasn’t dreamed about travelling back in time, to see how their parents lived as young people? Plus, we all want a friend like Doc, a bit of the crazy type, but the perfect companion. Back to the Future is another film that never gets old and you can watch again and again.

7. Forrest Gump (Robert Zemeckis, 1994)
When we are small we love fairy tales. Forrest Gump is a beautiful fairy tale with a happy ending that captures your imagination every time. As usual, the actors are absolutely crucial and here Tom Hanks is a real showman. I like how his incredible journey in time is punctuated by big moments in life. It makes you forget where you are and live through that little boy’s experience with a box of chocolates. Finally, the musical score is beautiful, and I always admired the work of Alan Silvestri.

8. Face/Off (John Woo, 1997)
Among the many thrillers I’ve seen (a genre I’m very passionate about) this is the one I love the most. What fascinates me in this kind of sci-fi inspired story is the huge range of both characters, the good guy becomes the bad guy and vice versa. This works well because of the great performances from both Nicolas Cage and John Travolta.

9. Sliding Doors (Peter Howitt, 1998)
What appealed to me about this film, in addition to the great production style and Gwyneth Paltrow’s performance, is the venture into a totally surreal territory. Life can change, completely, if just one event turns out differently, if the light turns red or the doors of the subway close before we can jump on. The theme of fate fascinates me and this film made me really reflect on living life to the fullest.

10. Cast Away (Robert Zemeckis, 2000)
This is a regular theme of discussion, especially between friends: what if you were trapped on a desert island? A fascinating answer comes from this beautiful Robert Zemeckis film with Tom Hanks. I am fascinated that, for much of the film, the protagonist lives in total isolation. This whole experience is a monologue with the psychological aspects varying continuously between highs and lows. It’s a story that focuses on our fears and the desire to fight back and the extraordinary power within each of us.