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
When Pat is drying off, we see through the window, some washing hanging on the line. Then in an outside shot, we see the same washing, but now arranged differently. 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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American ballet student Jessica Harper (as Suzy Banyon) goes to study at a European dance academy, where grizzly murders and hungry maggots reign supreme. "The Tanz Academy" is fronted by elegant Joan Bennett (as Madame Blanc), with stern Alida Valli (Miss Tanner) well-suited, as head teacher. Chief among the young leotard set is Ms. Harper's relatively long-lived pal, lovely Stefania Casini (as Sara). As hair-raising events continue, Harper begins to suspect a coven of witches may have infested the dance Academy.
The storytelling part of "Suspiria" is relatively weak, with events unintentionally serving to lesson the dramatic impact of the horror. The superb opening scenes, for example, are never really improved upon. Interesting characters are underdeveloped, and should have been more cleverly woven into the plot. Despite its haphazard script, and some obvious budget restraints, director Dario Argento's "Suspiria" remains an excellent film.
Mr. Argento's innovative, imaginative direction is the film's greatest strength. His cutting edge camera sense is often striking; and, the color photography, with Luciano Tovoli, is illuminating. The sharp soundtrack music, by the appropriately named "Goblin" band, is reminiscent of Mike Oldfield's "Tubular Bells". Ms. Bennett and Ms. Valli are a treat. The usually underutilized Bennett is especially noteworthy, in her only post-"Dark Shadows" feature film appearance.
Bennett accepted the project on the strength of the director's reputation, and a chance to visit Rome. When "Suspiria" appeared in the USA, she received some unwarranted poor notices, and professed dissatisfaction with the film's violent content. Still, Bennett was "Saturn Award"-nominated as 1978's "Best Supporting Actress" for her work. Bennett duplicitously gives the "Madame Blanc" character just the right amount of respectability, or "class"; she keeps her Academy dancers enrolled, and helps hold the slim story together.