So far I've told you about some films that have bloody violence and one film that stresses atmosphere over gore. Today's horror classic has both. Suspiria (1977) , directed by Italian horror-master Dario Argento, is considered by many to be his masterpiece, and I have to agree.
Young Suzy Banyon (Jessica herper), an American dance student, comes to Germany to learn at a prestigious dance academy. Of course, as is usually the case in these films, all is not what it seems. Suzy soon finds ferself surrounded by mystery, murder, and the Supernatural as she tries to discover the secrets of the academy. But will she survive once she finds her answers?
Suspiria is a horror film unlike any other. It has a hallucinatory, dreamlike quality, almost like a very dark fairytale. The film was one of the last ones shot in the Technicolor process, and the result is eye-popping...the backgrounds and sets look like something out of a twisted storybook drawn by someone who may be slightly insane. The sets and colors (especially reds) help to reinforce the dreamlike feel of the film. The soundtrack also helps to instill a creepy storybook feel. Done by the group Goblin, the music, with whispers and chants, sounds like lullabies from Hell.
The unreal, dreamlike feel of Suspiria is punctuated by some of the nastiest murder scenes commited to film. The opening of the film depicts a girl trying to escape the academy...she doesn't get far. Staying with a friend at a posh, colorful hotel, she is attacked, has her face pushed through a glass window, stabbed repeatedly in the heart, and dropped through a stained-glass ceiling, hung by the neck, and her friend is killed by a piece of falling stained glass. It's a scene of artistic horror. Other events in Suspiria include a blind man who's seeing-eye German Shepherd turns on him, mauling him in a lonely, scenic courtyard at night, and a girl falling into a room full of razor wire. The blood in the film is that rich, bright red Technicolor blood , familiar to those of us who've seen a lot of old-school horror films.
Suspiria is the first in a trilogy of films based on The Three Mothers: The Mother of Sighs, The Mother of Darkness, and The Mother of Tears. The first sequel, Inferno (1980), dealt with the Mother of darkness, and the long-awaited third film, titled Mother of Tears, was just released earlier this year, and came out on DVD a week or so ago.
I love Suspiria. It's unique in that it's artistic and bloody, lyrical and violent. It's mix of the mystical and the brutal is what makes it different, and a classic. It's been a favorite of mine ever since I first saw it years ago . I can't reccomend it enough. If you haven't seen this film, go to your local rental place or get on Netflix now and get it, turn the lights off, and enjoy. Tell 'em The beast sent ya.