Argento borrows from Bava, Hitchcock and Polanski (not to mention a whole heaping of German Expressionism) but this is it- a full-fledged masterpiece of the highest order and surely one of cinema’s most beautiful films
Splendid Eastman Colour 35mm
Argento’s 6th film- he never touched this level (or really was that close) before or after
Horror sub-genre “Giallo” (gore, eroticism, emphasis on visuals over story/dialogue, dubbing, paranoia, beautiful women, elaborate deaths)
We have the florescent lighting and the rock score by Argento and the band Goblin set it apart- apparently Argento played it full blast on the set of the film to petrify the actors and create atmosphere
Luciano Tovoli is the DP- from Antonioni’s Passenger– apparently he and Argento were inspired by some of early Disney’s (Snow White in particular) color schemes
Grand set pieces (the school, hallways straight from Murnau or Caligari
Art Deco influence
So many standout visuals—we have the neon lighting which colors the rain/storm set piece in the opening—shot reflected in a puddle
Much of the film is Harper walking in the dark in horrifying suspense, with stupendous visuals, and that score pounding in background
I mentioned some of the influences- but Argento clearly influenced a generation after him- Lynch is probably the first that comes to mind- but how about the coloring via lighting from Peter Greenaway, Nicolas Winding Refn, Spring Breakers from Harmony Korine
I think that score is superior to 1978’s Halloween and that’s saying something. I also see a bit of that bass in the wonderful score to Apocalypse Now particularly when Sheen arrives at Brando’s camp on the boat
Stain glass windows and wild expressionistic wallpaper
Reds, blues, greens, but also gaudy golds, too
Red gymnasium is a standout set piece
When Harper’s character is talking to Udo Kier its absolutely sort of a Hutch moment in Rosemary’s Baby with Maurice Evans with them looking up the history of these characters—the character in Rosemary is even called “Adrian Marcato” and this is Helena Markos
It’s absolutely packed with some of the best visuals of the decade, horror, or Italian cinema history- it’s actually so loaded that you have to pause and appreciate them because there’s another one coming directly after
Just got back from seeing this in a theatre with my flat mate who ended up hating it, citing the over-the-top ness and near lack of plot.
I certainly appreciated it a lot more than he did, this really was a beautiful film with great colours, the abrasiveness of the score you mentioned I thought really helped it out. Watching all those death scenes un-fold was just brilliant too. I’d probably go with a HR grade for me, the style over substance approach wasn’t working for me every time and I thought the explanation of the supernatural was weak and should have been done in a different way.
I’m going to see Bird with the Crystal Plumage as part of my course on Monday too, so I’ll report on that as well on the Argento page.
Visually though this was so good, just wish it could have balanced its style with some more substance, though that’s the genre I suppose.
@Harry- that’s great — thanks for sharing this. That’s too bad your flat mate couldn’t find more to appreciate. He could go a long time without ever seeing anything quite like Suspiria again.
[…] Suspiria – Argento […]
What do you think of Joan Bennett as Madame Blanc.
Also how was Harper. I mean didn’t find her very remarkable. Do you think with another actor this could be one of the year’s best performances. And an even better movie.
Sorry. Here I meant “I didn’t find her very unremarkable”.
My pick here is Sissy Spacek. She would’ve knocked it out of the park. I also think that if it was 10 years ago (around 1967) Deneuve would be an excellent choice. Julie Christie as well.
@MASH- I think I’m with you here. I like these choices.
Always cool to discover a master work by someone you did not know of . Watching in 4K and my god absolutely spectacular!
I’ve been watching horror films all month long in honor of my 2nd favorite holiday
What is the one holiday that surpasses it, and which movies relating to that holiday are your favorite?
@Graham – sorry that was misleading, Christmas is my favorite holiday in general. As far as films go Halloween is definitely my favorite as I love watching Horror movies throughout October. My favorite Horror movies whether or not they have anything to do with Halloween directly are:
The Shining (1980)
Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
Nosferatu the Herzog version (1979)
Viewing # 2 really just reinforced my initial thoughts on the films spectacular use of color and music. Visually it’s like the antithesis of a Fincher film and I think the use of vibrant colors to create a horror movie atmosphere is brilliant. I like the Polanski comparison, very atmospheric and of course a number of similarities to Rosemary’s Baby which is also mentioned on this page. I am not usually so unsettled by the supernatural elements of films as I have always felt real world evils such as serial killers, child abductions, sex trafficking, etc. to be far more frightening. But this is definitely an exception as I found the last 10/15 min to be especially nerve wracking. The film really does create its own world that is very David Lynchesque. Some have critiqued the performance from Harper and I would mainly agree, I don’t think her performance necessarily hurts the film but I probably would have preferred another actress. Overall a MP.
I used to think The Shining was horror’s greatest accomplishment in color. Then I watched this. Even outside of the horror genre this feels like it’s on the shortlist for greatest use of color (perhaps) ever
@Matthew- the site is properly peppered with this link- but if you haven’t seen it- Taste of Cinema (a fabulous resource) would agree with you http://www.tasteofcinema.com/2017/10-movies-with-the-best-uses-of-color-of-all-time/
@Drake I think tasteofcinema is a great cite so that’s good company to be in. (No way am I escaping the top 10 without Wizard or Oz though, other than that I think it’s a great list)
@James Trapp I for some reason have not seen Midsommar yet. Hereditary is among my favorite horror movies ever so I’m super excited to see this (both from Aster). I’ll definitely have seen it by the end of this month
@Matthew – Funny, I still need to see Hereditary, I love Toni Collette. She’s one of my favorite current actresses. I’m going to watch in the next 2 weeks as I’ve been cruising through horror movies this month.
Looks like both of us will be watching Aster films we somehow have yet to see 🤝
Let me know what you want think of it
yeah I only stumbled upon Suspiria last year, I posted about it above, almost exactly a year ago in
fact. It was unbelievable, here is an article that lists both of these films. I would definitely recommend
Midsommar (2019) if you have not seen yet.
Here is another source I like for color in film: