Thursday, October 14, 2010


I have seen this film a couple of times. I have enjoyed every viewing. My most recent interest in the film came for two reasons: 1) I am excited for the new Aronofsky film Black Swan and 2) I enjoy watching scary films as Halloween nears. Add to these the reasons, the rumor of a Suspiria remake with Natalie Portman attached. I had to nerd out and have another viewing last night.

Part of the fun of Suspiria is the beauty. The film is lost in a very 1970s film style. The colors are bright, gaudy. But, they work. They glow in such an eerie way as to create a sense of fear or dread throughout the film. Also, there are moments of such beauty- still shots almost- that I was reminded of Dutch paintings. How does all this fall together to create a scary film?

Suspiria might not be "horror" in the way we think of horror. The film builds slowly. There is violence throughout, but we are never shown everything. We are never overwhelmed with gore. Also, the soundtrack (by the Goblins) is one of the craziest music experiences. I have always found the soundtrack to the original Halloween to be the scariest film score. But, Suspiria's soundtrack probably comes in as the scariest. The music is a mix of music box and cult chanting. Fantastic use of the music during really outstanding scenes.

Suspiria is a horror film that relies on your expectations. Argento knows what is supposed to happen next. But,he doesn't always play fair. Many times he uses your expectation as a way to set you up for disappoint. In doing so, the fear builds even more. The playfullness of Argento is used throughout much of Suspiria (and other Argento films).

There are scenes I'd love to talk about, but I would fear ruining the experience of a film many place at the top of their scariest films list. Part of the pleasure in last night's viewing was watching it with someone who had never experienced Argento. Watching the film through fresh eyes. What a treat to see this film for the first time.

If Disney animators took acid and created a horror film, you'd have Suspiria.


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