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Suzy Bannion travels to Germany to perfect her ballet skills. She arrives at the Tanz dance academy in the pouring rain and is refused admission after another woman is seen fleeing the school. She returns the next morning and this time is let in. She learns that the young woman she saw fleeing the previous evening, Pat Hingle, has been found dead. Strange things soon begin to occur. Suzy becomes ill and is put on a special diet; the school becomes infested with maggots; odd sounds abound; and Daniel, the pianist, is killed by his own dog. A bit of research indicates that the ballet school was once a witches' coven - and as Suzy learns, still is. Written by
[German version only] On being dismissed by Madame Blanc, Mrs. Tanner utters "of course" but her lips don't move. The words aren't included in the international version, too. See more »
Suzy Banyon decided to perfect her ballet studies in the most famous school of dance in Europe. She chose the celebrated academy of Freiburg. One day, at nine in the morning, she left Kennedy airport, New York, and arrived in Germany at 10:40 p.m. local time.
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Susie Bannon (Jessica Harper) goes to a dance academy in Germany to study. It turns out its run by a witches coven and they'll kill anybody who threatens them...
That's about it for plot. There IS a plot but it jumps all over the place...but it doesn't matter. This movie is fascinating just to look at and hear it. The settings are truly bizarre and done in eye-popping color. They're complimented by the excellent use of color and lighting. Also the group Goblin contributes to it a downright terrifying and LOUD score which really starts to work on you. The murder scenes are graphic--VERY graphic. The opening double murder is shocking and bloody. There are many great sequences that you just look at in wonder HOW this was done. My favorite is when Sarah (Stefania Casini) is being stalked through the academy late at night by an unseen evil force.
Director Dario Argento has made a true masterpiece of horror. Its short on plot but the visuals and music more than make up for any of its drawbacks. The acting is good--especially by Joan Bennett (obviously enjoying herself) and Alida Valli who just LOOKS scary...especially those teeth of hers. Harper is also very good considering she was acting opposite people who didn't speak English! The poor dubbing is a little distracting but this is still a horror masterpiece. A must-see. TRY to see it in a theatre.
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