Tagline: Once you’ve seen it, you will never again feel safe in the dark.
In Dario Argento’s Suspiria, American student Suzy Bannion, travels to Freiburg, Germany to attend a prestigious ballet school. Suzy’s time at the school should be a dream come true and an opportunity to improve her skills, but when she arrives, Suzy discovers all is not what it should be. The faculty staff and some of the students are a little eccentric; odd occurrences begin to take place; and she has an increasing feeling of unease.
The shocking truth to the school, as well as the mystery at the centre of Suspiria, is slowly teased throughout the film, with various death scenes and set pieces sprinkled in for good measure. This all leads to an unforgettable final act, as Suzy comes face-to-face with pure darkness in the form of a witches’ coven.
This final sequence is nerve-wracking, tense, bloody scary, and at times, a little bit bonkers. But then, this sums up the movie completely. From the moment Suspiria begins, it is a wonderful assault on the senses, which is as mad as a box of frogs.
One of the movie’s most notable elements is its striking visuals. Cinematographer Luciano Tovoli captures a sumptuous, vivid colour palette and some of the best-looking set designs committed to screen. The imagery is bold and distinctive, and is complemented by one of the greatest scores in horror history.
The movie’s theme tune is the work of progressive rock band, Goblin, as well as director Dario Argento. In terms of its place in the pantheon of horror movie scores, it is up there with John Carpenter’s Halloween and Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells from The Exorcist.
The 1970s produced some truly legendary horror movies, and Suspiria is one of the finest and most expressive. It is art on screen; a complete tour de force of film making, incredibly atmospheric, and very chilling.
The best way to describe Suspiria is to imagine you are in a room bathed in the glow of fairy lights, and you’re listening to Kate Bush… while on acid. Wild things are going on around you, you’re not entirely sure what is happening, but you seem to like it nonetheless.
Madame Blanc – “We must get rid of that bitch of an American girl. Vanish! She must vanish! Make her disappear! Understand? Vanish, she must vanish. She must die! Die! Die! Helena, give me power. Sickness! Sickness! Away with her! Away with trouble. Death, death, death!”
Cast and crew
Suspiria is directed by Dario Argento, produced by Claudio Argento, and based on a screenplay by Dario Agento and Daria Nicolodi. The cast includes Udo Kier, Jessica Harper, Stefania Casini, Flavio Bucci, Miguel Bosé, and Rudolf Schündler.
Thank you for stopping by It’s A Stampede! to read this spotlight post focusing on a must-see horror movie. This ‘spotlight’ on Suspiria is one in a series of ten posts looking at superb horror movies and shorts which you may or may not have seen.
Other posts in this series include: The Strange Thing About the Johnsons (2011), Don’t Look Now (1973), Psycho (1960), The Omen (1976), The Blair Witch Project (1999), The ‘Burbs (1989), Lights Out (2013), The Woman in Black (2012), and Bone Tomahawk (2015).
The aim is to spread some horror love around the internet, and possibly introduce you to a slice of horror that you have possibly overlooked. So, make sure to add this movie to your next horror movie marathon – you won’t regret it!
And for more horror-related content, be sure to check out the recommended reads below.