Classic Cinema Spotlight: Suspiria

by - November 01, 2014

A Vintage Nerd

I couldn't resist watching a horror movie on Halloween night. While the kiddies and hubby all snuggled in their beds, I popped in a true spooky classic. Well, Suspiria (1977) isn't as known among average horror movie fans but it is a staple among hard core fans.

The story revolves around an American ballet dancer named Suzy Bannion (Jessica Harper) who enrolls in a dance academy in Germany. In the first instance that you see Suzy coming out of the airport she is surrounded by red light. Dario Argento, the genius director behind this film and many others, uses red often in this film to symbolize blood. He also uses vibrant colors and the soundtrack is killer! When I first saw the film years ago it was the thing that scared me most-that music! You can hear some of it HERE.

After Suzy leaves the airport she finds herself in the middle of a dark and stormy night. Just the perfect setting! When she gets to the school a girl is leaving in a rush and seems upset. That is where the entire story really begins. There is no wasting time with this film, it gets right into it.

The next day we find out that the girl who left was actually murdered. Quickly Suzy falls mysteriously ill and is "forced" to stay in the school instead of an apartment off campus. There she meets Sarah and two begin to uncover a powerful force that has been living in the school and killing off students.

Suspiria
Suspiria
Suspiria
Suspiria
Suspiria
Suspiria

The imagery and the music is what makes this film insanely spooky. Rewatching it again I did see some things that I would categorize as uber cheesy but in a wonderfully horrific way (ie dog chewy on owners neck). I can tell you what that force and Suzy and Sarah battle but then there is no fun in discovering for yourself while watching this film. There are a few Argento films I love and he is one who really enjoys using images that contains blood or maggots. Otherwise he gets you scared without always seeing something completely gross. But be warned, there are some pretty disgusting murder scenes but its all a part of the horror movie magic!

A neat part of the film is that is also stars the late classic film actress Joan Bennett. She is also known for playing the part of Elizabeth Collins in Dark Shadows. Suspiria was her final film role on the big screen.

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