Suspiria

"Essential"

Suspiria Review


"Suzy Banyon decided to perfect her ballet studies in the most famous school of dance in Europe. She chose the celebrated Academy of Freiburg. One day at 9:00 in the morning she left Kennedy Airport and arrived in Germany at 10:40 PM local time..."

A tumultuous thunderstorm of drumming, both primitive and achingly familiar, the gurgled throbbing of a bass line and sinister voices chanting and howling as a young woman races through a night forest in the midst of a deluge. Lightning flashes revealing snatches of something in the woods running along side her. The music crescendos, lightening hypnotically strobes, the colors are supersaturated deep reds and blues and screaming fills the cool night air.

So begins Dario Argento's crowning work of horror, Suspiria, the finest work of cinematic terror to very been unspooled across a film screen before a quaking audience. It is not a tangled web of psychological frisson nor is it a diabolical ode to witchcraft, but it is a flawless representation of a cinematic nightmare: a Goya print come to life relying solely on visual and audio mastery rather than plot or pacing.

Argento serves up some of the most deliriously frightening scenes imaginable: the aforementioned chase sequence that plays up Goblin's riotous score for the film, a gruesome scene in which a woman falls through a stained glass dome, a black-lit room filled with enormous spools of razor wire, the deep gasping breathes of the Mother of Sighs. The film slides forward in disorienting bursts, a somnambulist nightmare comparable to Caligari's.

Suspiria tells a genteel story, a fairy tale for adults. Suzy Banyon (Jessica Harper) is a student at an elite ballet academy slowly learns that the academy harbors a coven of witches. The plot, however, takes a back seat to the visuals almost as soon as the film begins. Suspiria is an exploration of subconscious horror imagery and atmosphere, the film is drenched in uncanny colors and ripples with a swirling chaos of bizarre sounds. Argento digs his fingers into the vast collective unconsciousness that gives birth to monsters and pulls from it a wild feast of imagery that has never since been duplicated.

While he was originally posited as the Italian Hitchcock, after Suspiria Argento went on to carve out a niche for himself as one of the world's foremost horror filmmakers. Though he made several pictures that came close to capturing the otherworldly horror of Suspiria (most notably, Inferno) he has never bottled the unbridled sense of dread that runs through nearly every minute of Suspiria. Credit must also be given to cinematographer, Luciano Tovoli, who infuses everything with bold Mario Bava-like colors and production designers, Davide Bassan, Enrico Fiorentino, Massimo Garrone, Maurizio Garrone, and Aldo Taloni, who create a world of Art Deco splendor that contributes greatly to the film's dreamlike quality.

The tagline on the poster for Suspiria read, "The Only Thing More Terrifying Than The Last 12 Minutes Of This Film Are The First 92." Truer words about a film have never been spoken.

Careful with the knife, sweets.



Suspiria

Facts and Figures

Run time: 92 mins

In Theaters: Friday 12th August 1977

Distributed by: International Classics Inc.

Production compaines: Seda Spettacoli

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 95%
Fresh: 39 Rotten: 2

IMDB: 7.5 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Suzy Bannion, as Sara, as Daniel, as Mark, as Olga, as Sonia, as Pat Hingle, as Prof. Milius, as Dr. Frank Mandel, as Miss Tanner, as Madame Blanc, Fulvio Mingozzi as Taxi Driver, as Prof. Verdegast, as Woman at airport (uncredited)

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Hampstead Movie Review

Hampstead Movie Review

Deliberately appealing to older audiences, this undemanding comedy-drama comes with a hint of social relevance...

The Book of Henry Movie Review

The Book of Henry Movie Review

Apparently, this offbeat script had been making the rounds in Hollywood for some 20 years...

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

With this fifth Transformers movie, it seems clear that Michael Bay is still trying to...

Churchill Movie Review

Churchill Movie Review

This drama about the iconic British prime minister tells a darkly personal story set over...

Gifted Movie Review

Gifted Movie Review

This is one of those films that dances right up to the edge of soapy...

Whitney: Can I Be Me Movie Review

Whitney: Can I Be Me Movie Review

Notorious British filmmaker Nick Broomfield teams up with Austrian music documentary producer Rudi Dolezal to...

The Mummy Movie Review

The Mummy Movie Review

To launch their new Dark Universe franchise, Universal has taken an approach that mixes murky...

Advertisement
My Cousin Rachel Movie Review

My Cousin Rachel Movie Review

Daphne du Maurier's 1951 mystery-romance novel has been adapted for theatre, radio, TV and film,...

Wilson Movie Review

Wilson Movie Review

It's never helpful when a comedy becomes a bit too smug about its own quirkiness....

Interlude in Prague Movie Review

Interlude in Prague Movie Review

A fictionalised story from the life of Wolfgang Mozart, this lavishly produced period drama is...

The Hippopotamus Movie Review

The Hippopotamus Movie Review

This British satirical comedy may be a bit of a mess, but since it's based...

Detour Movie Review

Detour Movie Review

This may look like a rather typical American indie thriller, but British filmmaker Christopher Smith...

Wonder Woman Movie Review

Wonder Woman Movie Review

Boldly optimistic, this action-packed adventure breathes fresh life into the DC universe with a welcome...

Baywatch Movie Review

Baywatch Movie Review

Clearly, it's a risky proposition adapting a cheesy vintage TV series for the big screen:...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.