Wednesday, November 7, 2012
SUSPIRIA is an amazing and strange film. Jessica Harper plays a ballet student who goes to Germany to study at a famous dance academy. When she settles in, she finds that there is something unusual going on. Something...evil. And, so begins the madness!
This film is a giallo style mystery with lots of attention to camera work and lighting. I'd say that the lighting is one of the most interesting aspects of the movie. Almost a character in and of itself. It provides a dream-like feeling that is a great contrast to the look of the standard, daytime look of plain white light it has scattered throughout.
The music is a major player in the overall feeling of unease. GOBLIN's score goes from melodic and musical to chaotic and crazed - filled with shrieks and screams and wild percussion. It sets the nerves on edge and works well with the horrific situations Argento creates.
The mystery is fun as well. What's going on at the school and why? It's solid and interesting for sure. SUSPIRIA is part of the Three Mothers Trilogy (INFERNO, SUSPIRIA and MOTHER OF TEARS) and is the strongest of the three.
The film is filled with "Argento situations" that are shocking and violent and scary. He even plays "the killer", using his hands when someone needs to be dispatched. Something Argento has done on several occasions and something Quentin Tarantino did in Inglourious Basterds recently. There's a trust that the Director has with their actors (when the relationship is good, that is) and that trust makes the violence of some of the scenes a bit easier to manage. And, it's a good way for the Director to get the look they want as well, of course.
Note - the violence can be difficult to watch. Even though this is one of my favorite Argento films and the strongest of the Mother's Trilogy, the violence - especially the violence towards women - is something that's actually stopped me from purchasing the film on several occasions. There is no getting around this fact. Nothing to justify it other than certain cultural norms in Italy and in this style of horror film, so it's just there and is either something you choose to watch or not. While this isn't something I'd recommend for everyone, it's well worth a view if you can stomach it.
SUSPIRIA is being remade with Isabelle "ORPHAN" Fuhrman in the lead role. When I heard theywere remaking it, I was shocked. SUSPIRIA is held up in horror circles as "untouchable". But, so was EVIL DEAD and that remake is looking fantastic to me right now. Fuhrman's work in Orphan was fantastic and I think she'll be able to pull it off. I only wish they chose to remake the entire THREE MOTHERS TRILOGY. I think that might have worked well in today's horror market, honestly. With SAW, RESIDENT EVIL and [REC] making some money, something marketed as Part One of the THREE MOTHERS TRILOGY might just get a little footing.
Check out SUSPIRIA. Maybe around midnight in the dark for full effect! :)