Dario Argento's Suspiria is a landmark of not only the horror genre, but of cinema itself. Prior to Suspiria, Argento's directorial efforts had been nothing more than a series of well crafted thrillers; Gialli. Dario Argento made his directorial debut in 1969 with The Bird with the Crystal Plumage, an accomplished who dunnit starring Tony Musante and Suzy Kendall. The Bird With the Crystal Plumage was not only responsible for kick-starting Argento's career, it also spawned a raft of imitations from the likes of Sergio Martino, Umberto Lenzi and Aldo Lado. After the functional Cat O'Nine Tails (1970) and Four Flies on Grey Velvet (1971), Argento became more experimental. Following on from his misguided historical epic, Five Days of Milan (1973), Argento made the seminal Deep Red (1975)which would be the start of many collaborations with actress Daria Nicolodi (who would later co-write Suspiria) and the rock group Goblin. Suspiria, which was released in 1977, was a real departure for Argento. Firstly, The film was Argento's first to be set outside of his native Italy. Secondly, the labyrinthine plots that had anchored his previous films (with the exception of Five Days of Milan) had given way an entirely stylistic mise-en-scene. Suspiria, although fundamentally a murder mystery has the most basic of folk stories as a core. Suzy Banyon (Jessica Harper), is an American dance student that wins a scholarship at a coveted academy in Frieberg, Germany. Upon her arrival, Suzy discovers that the students are being picked off, one by one at the hands of a shrouded maniac. As Suzy investigates the murders, she discovers that the academy's faculty have more than a passing interest in the occult... Suspiria can be described as one of cinema's only attack on the senses. Argento's use of color is striking and unlike anything else seen prior or since its release. Goblin's manic score is the equivilent of having your head bludgeoned with an iron bar for 100 minutes! The score is integral to the experience of watching Suspiria and adds a great deal to the overall effect of the film. It's Argento's use of color and score that create a real menacing ambience that runs through the film like lettering in a stick of rock. In conclusion, although lacking a cohesive narrative, Suspiria is one of the few roller-coaster ride of a movie (a cliche often used by critics but is a true comparison) and is as much a masterpiece than what you'd find in an art gallery. Argento followed Suspiria with Inferno (1980). Inferno is the second installment in an as yet unfinished trilogy.
1 of 3 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?