A darkness swirls at the center of a world-renowned dance company, one that will engulf the artistic director, an ambitious young dancer, and a grieving psychotherapist. Some will succumb to the nightmare. Others will finally wake up.
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
Joan Bennett's partner (later husband) David Wilde was a fan of Argento's The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (1970) and it was at his urging that Bennett agreed to appear as Madame Blanc despite her objections to the violence in films at the time. Besides Wilde's admiration was the all-expenses paid trip to Italy. Bennett however immediately regretted having said yes after finding the Italian filmmaking process slow and disorganized. One day, in preparing for a scene in which she had only one line, Bennett reported to the studio, had her hair and makeup done, got into costume, all by 12:30 pm but then it was five hours before the scene was actually shot. The one consolation was getting to know fellow cast member Alida Valli who befriended Bennett and Wilde introducing them to the excellent and little known restaurants. See more »
When the main character arrives at the academy during the rain storm, the flash-bulb producing the lightening can be seen reflected in the taxi's window. 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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I've seen hundreds of horror films (including all of Argento's work), and *Suspiria* is my unequivocal favorite. It is not a perfect film, but it comes closer than any other film in the genre. Everything until the last few minutes is masterfully orchestrated, combining skillful direction with chilling cinematography, not to mention a score that ties my stomach into knots every time I hear so much as a snip of its odd techno-funk beat. Unfortunately, the voice of the witch at the end turns masterful horror into overriding cheese, making the tagline ring all too true: there is *nothing* more terrifying on film than the first ninety minutes, but the last few fall somewhat short of genius.
That fact notwithstanding, *Suspiria* is a fine example of how horror movies should be made, and I sincerely hope that any director or screenwriter contemplating a horror film first sits down to watch this one so they can be reminded that the horror genre properly contains a good deal more than the simple-minded slasher flick that has become all-too-typical in American theaters. After all, no less a filmmaker than Wes Craven seems to have followed this advice, and it allowed him to move from such pitiful efforts as *A Nightmare on Elm Street* to *Scream*, the first (and thus far only) classic horror film of the 90's.
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