videocam Suspiria (1977)

reviewed by Nick Burton

Published in Issue No. 17 ~ October, 1998

Suspiria is Italian horror king Dario Argento’s 1977 masterpiece of style. It is a gorgeous, if not bloody, piece of film making.

A young woman (Jessica Harper, a good yet underrated actress) arrives at a baroque German dance academy only to find one of the students has met with a grisly death, which may have something to do with the ultra-spooky faculty, lead by Joan Bennett and Alida Valli, who both are looking very Butch and satanic.

Could they be witches?? Who would have guessed?

There’s not much of a story here, just an excuse for Argento to let loose with some inventive and graphic bloodletting (the film starts with a bang) and some wonderfully effective exercises in atmosphere. Even a walk down the blood-red hallways of the school becomes a tense and frightening task as the unforgettably loud and frightening music (by Argento and Goblin) pulses while the camera moves slowly down the Cocteau-like corridors.

There’s very little subtlety here – a rain of maggots, a girl caught in a barbed wire trap and a bat attack straight out of a B-movie – but all of the effects are done with such a brilliantly edgy style that it makes this film a perfect Halloween flick for anyone looking for a bit of gore.

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Nick Burton lives in Newport Beach, California. His fiction has appeared in many small press and web publications, inlcuding: Chronicles Of Fiction, Pauper, and of course Pif.