Suspiria (1977)

Hello! And welcome to day 16 of my 31 Days Of Horror – and as I record this, the brand new Suspiria is being played out on the big screen at a special preview showing at the BFI, as part of the London Film Festival. I’m not bitter.

To celebrate this, I thought I might as well go ahead and check out the original and boy, oh boy. What. A. Film. It’s the Dario Argento 1977 classic, Suspiria!

As the phenomenal Goblin soundtrack plays, Suspiria whisks us away to Germany, where we meet Suzy Banyon – a new arrival from New York, on her way to attend the Tanz Dance Academy in Freiburg. On her way to the school, she briefly crosses path with another student, Patricia, who takes off screaming into the night. We follow her for a bit, too, and soon find that her fear was.. quite justified.

But, back to Suzy. The following day, Suzy attends the dance school where she meets Miss Tanner, a Miss Trunchbull-esque instructor, and the headmistress, Madame Blanc. Despite being obvious members of authority, there’s nothing to be too anxious about – not until Suzy is taken ill, anyway. Believed to have suffered some form of hemorrhaging, Suzy is prescribed a glass of wine every night, and to rest for the next few days.

Bored, Suzy befriends Sara, the girl in the next room over, and together they begin to try and piece together the weird goings-on around the school. Murders, maggots and mysterious shadowy figures haunt the halls at night, and Sara soon becomes the target of the evil. Alone, Suzy takes up the fight – and seeks out the evil at the source of it all.

Now, I’m not exactly going to rock the boat when I say that this is an absolute masterpiece, which it is, it absolutely is. Watching Suspiria is like taking in a great painting – every shot is masterfully done, and the use of colour and light is absolutely breathtaking. The production design, too, is very unique – and I found myself trying to work out what I was looking at on more than one occasion.

The only thing is, there isn’t all that much of a plot. The threat is never fully explained – although when the source of the weird goings-on is revealed, it’s hard to tear your eye away from the screen. But I guess that’s the point – you watch Suspiria for the atmosphere, for the cinematography. And, frankly, if that’s what you go in for – you’re going to walk out a happy customer. Well. Except for the bit with Professor Milius, where the camera decided to very slowly move in on his scalp. Weird.

Oh, and that bit with Sara and the- the- MAN. Completely savage. I loved it.

See you tomorrow!

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