Arguably the finest of Dario Argento’s intensely colorful, frightening films, Suspiria is phenomenal and ageless.
The color red paints the walls and the backgrounds, the blood spilt across the German dance floors. Maggots ominously rain onto the floor. Dancers are obscured and rooms are suddenly uninhabitable, the house becoming a maze of strangely supernatural horrors.
Suspiria ranks among the greatest horror films of all-time, in its originality and taste for pure fear. Its influence has been felt throughout genre films for decades, including the 2018 remake. The shot of a hook suspended in the air, seconds before striking, carries a legacy through horror and slashers that continues throughout 2022, with an homage in the recent horror film X.
Suzy (Jessica Harper) carries herself with grace and apprehension as she traverses through the dance school, from an anxious new student to a giallo final girl on a quest to uncover a horrific truth. She is shrouded in deep and bright reds, as the walls and secret hallways of her dance studio become plastered in blood and black magic.
There is no easy beginning for her, and there is no warm up for the terrors, as Suzy’s entrance is lined with gory murders, shadows of unknown figures and weapons, and ominous warnings. Her journey grows more and more sinister, but Suzy dances deeper into the danger, coming face to face with the root of the studio’s evil.
Suspiria’s atmosphere rains with fear and unease from the moment the film opens. The opening sequence is immediately intense and terrifying, a prelude to the treachery and mystery that follows.
The ominous score is the element that wraps every aspect of the film together. The tribulations of mystery and supernatural discovery combine with dance practices and neon-colored kills under the string ensemble to create the horror masterpiece.
Suspiria’s blood-red, majestic darkness is a must-see on the big screen, especially with Claudio Simonetti’s GOBLIN’s live score.
dir. Dario Argento
Screens Tuesday, 11/8, 8:00 @ Somerville Theatre
Live score by Claudio Simonetti’s Goblin!