20 December 2014

Suspiria (1977)
97 min.
Directed by Dario Argento.
With Jessica Harper, Joan Bennett, Alida Valli, Udo Kier, Stefania Casini, Flavio Bucci, Miguel Bosé, Rudolph Schundler.
This Wagnerian masterpiece is director Dario Argento's best horror.

Dancer Suzy Banyon (Harper) arrives at the esteemed Tanz Akademie ballet school for some immersive training.

But from the moment she arrives, Suzy can tell something isn't right...

There's a mood of evil that permeates the very walls of the conservatory. Worse yet, students keep disappearing, without any explanation of where they've gone.

Slowly, Suzy begins to realize that behind the Akademie's deceptive veil of beautiful reds and blues, Italian art deco style, there hides a secret coven of powerful witches!

Suspiria is triumphant horrormaking from its opening shots (those automatic airport doors...!) to its powerhouse climax.

Argento effortlessly showcases a spectrum of stunning visual styles, all underscored by some righteous gore, including a vicious heart stabbing and the terrifying "barbed wire/throat slitting" scene.

Jessica Harper is absolutely perfect as the wide-eyed Suzy, and lends the whole enterprise just the right degree of believable innocence.

Horror veteran Alida Valli is truly menacing as the Akademie's manager Miss Tanner, and likewise veteran Hollywood actress Joan Bennett as the chilling directress Madame Blanc.

Complemented by a pounding score from Goblin.

From any perspective, Suspiria is required horror viewing.

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