31 Favorites #20: Suspiria
Suspiria tells the story of a young American ballerina named Suzy Bannion, who travels to Germany to attend a dance Conservatory. It's not until she arrives that she discovers something is truly amiss at the dance academy...students disappear and are later found murdered, she hears strange sounds and footsteps during the night, maggots fall from the ceiling. If this sounds like a horrible place to be, well...it is. Suzy eventually learns that the school is run by a coven of witches, which is actually waaaaay creepier than it sounds.
What Suspiria lacks in good acting (and the acting is pretty uninspired), it more than makes up for in style. The film is stunning and this is one case in which style over substance actually works. Set pieces are intentionally spare and cold, but bold color is used liberally throughout the film to evoke moods and responses in viewers.
Suspiria unravels like a fever dream, and I have to sheepishly admit that even though I own the film in my personal library and have seen it many times, it's hard for me to remember very specific details of the narrative. This is the film's strange beauty. As you're watching, you feel as if you're caught in a nightmare from which you're not sure you can awake.
Three Things I Love About It:
- The soundtrack, by Goblin, is AMAZING. Like, next level amazing. It adds so much to the film.
- The shock of the opening death scene is something that has stayed with me since the first time I ever saw the film. It still never fails to give me the chills.
- There are tiny subliminal touches that Argento uses in the film to get under your skin. In the opening scene where Suzy is in the cab on her way to the academy, try to see if you can see a reflection of a screaming face in one of the shots. Once you see it, you'll never be able to unsee it!