The Halloween Hit List: Suspiria (1977)
THE HALLOWEEN HIT LIST
Written By Dario Argento & Daria Nicolodi
Directed By Dario Argento
With our other month-long feature for Halloween season currently highlighting a string of recent horror remakes, it should come as no surprise that a remake of Dario Argento’s classic Suspiria has long been in development. At one time expected to star Natalie Portman and to be helmed by the always interesting David Gordon Green, a remake of Suspiria would undoubtably have a whole lot to live up to. From its visually stunning cinematography to its iconic score, there is no doubt Suspiria is one of most beloved horror films to come out of the 1970s.
Suspiria tells the story of Suzy Bannion (Jessica Harper), an American ballet dancer who enrolls in a German dance academy only to learn that the school is being run by a deadly coven of witches. Sporting the classic tagline, ‘The only thing more terrifying than the last five minutes of this film are the first 90!’, it’s safe to say horror master Dario Argento knew what he was doing with Suspiria from the get go. It’s the kind of film that we see not nearly enough of in the horror genre nowadays, a film so full of atmosphere that the audience is lucky to make it to the end with their fingernails intact. It’s use of color is unparalleled and Luciano Tovoli’s cinematography stands up there with the best of not only the genre, but film as a whole. The score, a collaboration between Argento and the band Goblin, is absolutely terrifying and sets the stage for quite honestly one of the scariest films I have ever seen.
Although it’s certainly been praised as one of the best of the genre for quite some time, there is no amount of praise that could ever be enough for a towering artistic achievement the likes of Suspiria. Forgive the hyperbole, but sometimes, it’s just the truth.
Is it scary? It’s terrifying. Its dream-like imagery, in combination with its vibrant use of color and unsettling score, make sure you’ll never sleep the same way again.
Is it gory? There is a good amount of blood, but it’s never looked so beautiful.
Is it funny? If you’re really sick in the head, sure I guess.
What’s the atmosphere like? There have been many film reviews to use the term ‘atmospheric’, but none mean it as much as those of Suspiria do.
Why does it belong on The Halloween Hit List? If you’re looking for something wholly original with artistic merit, this film is for you. If you’re looking for something to scare the hell out of you, this film is for you. If you’re looking for one of the greatest scores in film history, this film is for you. Yeah, Dario Argento’s Suspiria is for you. Well, it better be…