Director – Dario Argento
Cast – Jessica Harper, Stefania Casini, Flavio Bocci, Miguel Bose, Barbara Magnolfi, Susanna Javicoli, Eva Axen, Rudolf Schundler, Udo Kier, Alida Valli, Joan Bennett
Release Year – 1977
Reviewed by John of the Dead
Italian writer/director Dario Argento is no stranger to the horror realm, especially when conversing on the gory Italian horror flicks we all love to watch. Right after Argento solidified himself in the world of horror with Deep Red, he gave us quite possibly his most artistic film to day…Suspiria. This flick is more than a horror film, it is a technical masterpiece complimented with amazing color schemes, cinematography, and one of horror’s creepiest scores ever(provided by none other than the Italian band “Goblin”. Suspiria’s aesthetic beauty goes well with it’s awesome storyline and once again goes to show how and why Dario Argento ruled the 70s & 80s Italian horror scene.
This film follows an American ballet dancer who gets accepted into one of Rome’s most prestigious dance schools. Upon her arrival at the school she takes notice to some very odd occurrences, all resulting in the grisly deaths of those around her. She is told by the administration to think nothing of it, but soon enough her curiosity gets the best of her and she explores her notions that something very bad is going on in the dance school. Sure enough, she learns that the dance school staff is actually a coven of witches with great power, and she is next on their list.
I can never get enough of Dario Argento’s 70s and 80s work. He put out solid flick after solid flick and all with pretty much the same basic elements: a storyline with a mystery theme, great musical score, and awesome gore. What more could you ask for? Seriously! Right from the beginning of the film we are thrown into the dark peril that the young American dancer will be facing herself. As a matter of fact, one of the horror realm’s sweetest kills EVER occurs within the first 15 minutes of the film, setting up the horrific events that will take place for the next 80something minutes. Awesome!
Sure it’s not the most complex story, but I really enjoyed this film’s storyline and the mystery behind it. The journey our protagonist takes as the film progresses shows her as this sweet innocent young girl, and eventually leads us to a much stronger and less naïve woman with some slight vengeance to be had. What helps this story work so well is Argento’s use of atmosphere. We get dark shadowy scenes when the film requires it, and we then are provided with amazing colors and cinematography that provide the right amount of peace and tranquility needed to keep these young girls so naïve over what is going on around them. This assists with the film’s pacing also due to the viewer being left to gander at the screen and Argento’s direction.
I could go on and on and on about this film, but this is one of those flicks where not a whole lot is going on, yet it still excels on ever level. THAT is how you know a film is executed very well. I personally would have liked to see more gore in this film, especially being that this is Dario Argento, a man not afraid to bring out “the goods” but I guess that was not his intention for the film.
Overall, this is an amazing horror masterpiece that I suggest all horror fans give a watch to, especially those not familiar with Dario Argento’s work. The man is a horror legend, and this film just may be his masterpiece.