11 October 2010

October 11th

Suspiria (1977) directed by Dario Argento
What were the witches doing at the dance academy?  Outside of desperately killing off anyone who knew anything about them, they weren't seen to be up to much witchery.  Perhaps witchery isn't very profitable and they need a money-making venture to support their evil magic?  But, why hang out in the academy, doing secret witch stuff in the same place where the students live, if discovery is such a huge issue?

It doesn't matter one bit.  Logic doesn't matter to this movie.  This is Argento determined to paint every frame with as much visual stimulation as possible while Goblin tries to do the same to your ears.  It almost seems like Argento took what he liked doing in his previous giallo movies -- playing with the camera, the color schemes, the violence -- and threw out all of the stuff that wasn't so fun.  There's a mystery and a killer in this film, like in a typical giallo, but they really only exist to motivate Suzy to walk down certain hallways or to generate colorful murders.  The pretense of making a serious mystery is completely gone now.  I much prefer it that way.

Jaded though I am, the murder at the beginning I found surprisingly intense.  And, after buying the latest Rue Morgue, it occurred to me that it can be see as a remake or response to the shower scene from Psycho.  It has most of the parts of the shower murder in it, but amped up a hundred times.  Instead of a shadow approaching a curtain, we see the filthy hands of a maniac reaching for the woman.  Instead merely implying the knife slicing into the victim, we're forced to see every single cut in perfect detail (including her exposed heart (!) being stabbed).  Of course, the gray tones of Hitch's black and white photography have been replaced with the screaming color of Argento's.  And, finally, instead of a woman dying and falling into a curtain, we see a woman dying , falling through a stained glass window and being hung by a wire.  Brutal. (8/10)


  1. I once heard "Suspiria" called the "first glam rock horror film." I find that to be strangely appropriate.

  2. Heh, I can just about picture Bowie-as-Ziggy walking by in the background at the school.