Release Year: 1977
Director: Dario Argento
Writers: Dario Argento, Daria Nicolodi
Starring: Jessica Harper, Stefania Casini, Flavio Bucci, Barbara Magnolfi, Alida Valli, Joan Bennett, Susanna Javicoli, Eva Axén, Udo Kier
Rating: Nominated for 1 Saturn Award: Best Supporting Actress (Joan Bennett)
Moviegeek Sunday Classic #227, week 43 2018
An American newcomer at a ballet school boarding school in Germany comes to realise amid gruesome murders that the school is a front for a sinister cult.
The story opens on a dark and stormy night. The young American dancer Suzy Bannion (Jessica Harper) arrives at the ballet school she is about to enter only to find the door shut for the nightmare and inside its garishly painted walls a grizzly murder is taking place. The tone is not set for a nightmarish descent into the occult. Suspiria is often named as the masterpiece of Italian horror icon Dario Argento (Tenebre, 1982), and it certainly is a film that laves a lasting mark; both in terms of its surprisingly effective scenes and its macabre look. The story is classic: a newcomer to a strange environment, a foreboding atmosphere, a grand old house with a dark secret, but its visuals, its extravagant sets, its odd score, and its execution makes it an unusual and engaging horror film. The film plays on the surreal in its visual aspects but remains grounded in a simple and comprehensible story. Foreboding moments are interspersed with graphic horror (with plenty bright red blood) and is effective both as a chiller and knows how to disgust without over doing it. It all runs like a well-oiled machine towards a memorable and great climax. Highly recommended!
The woman who plays Helena Markos is not credited. According to Jessica Harper she was a 90-yer-old former prostitute whom director Dario Argento found on the streets of Rome.
Argento originally intended the student of the school to be no more than twelve years old, but the producer turned the idea down because such a violent film featuring children would surely be banned. Argento raised the age of the student to 20 but didn’t change the script, which accounts for the sometimes childish dialogue and naive actions of some of the characters.
Dario Argento cast Joan Bennett as Madame Blanc because of her work with director Fritz lang (Scarlet Street, 1945) of whom Argento is a great admirer.
Picture Copyrigh: On Air Video