An American newcomer to a prestigious German ballet academy comes to realize that the school is a front for something sinister amid a series of grisly murders.
There seems to be a never-ending feud between many horror fans regarding 'Suspiria', due to the fact that this film is considered Dario Argento's outstanding masterpiece. Personally, I'm completely against the idea of praising something that you don't actually like, so I respect anyone who thinks that this movie is overrated or even plain awful. My summary is only an opinion, but by no means I intend to make people change their mind or disapprove their concept of this film. 'Suspiria' is one of the many Italian horror films that came out during the late 70s and early 80s, that is extremely criticized for having a supposedly questionable plot and denouement. If we compare this movie to some of the other popular films directed by Dario Argento, we're probably going to think that 'Suspiria', is perhaps not as intriguing or well developed, when it comes to the story. To give a few examples of some of the Argento films that are widely considered the actual masterpieces because they offer an intriguing plot, good imagery and well done endings, I would probably name 'The Bird with the Crystal Plumage', 'Deep Red' and 'The Cat o' Nine Tails'. So what is it that we should believe? Nothing! Everyone is entitled to their own opinions and even though I agree with those who claim that 'Suspiria' is Argento's real masterpiece, I would never waste my time trying to convince people that this is true. As a matter of fact, I'll be honest and say that I also believe that 'Suspiria' has a somehow underdeveloped story, but I still regard it as one of the best horror movies in history. The reason is simple: in my opinion, you can make something wonderful, without a wonderful plot. This is perhaps one of the most visually enchanting horror movies I have seen so far and I honestly doubt I will ever find another film that can enchant me as much as this one. Everything about 'Suspiria' is beautiful, even the violent deaths. I know this may sound sick and disgusting, but I believe Mr. Argento has the special gift to make beautiful images out of gruesome situations, like murder, for example. From the beginning until the end, this film takes us to a dark dreamland with beautiful contrasting colors, eerie locations and a recurrent unsettling music. The locations are perfect. The ballet school in which the story takes place, seems to be a nonexistent place taken from someone's dream. Indeed, it was revealed once that 'Suspiria' was partly inspired by a dream that Daria Nicolodi once had (Mrs. Nicolodi was the co-writer and Argento's girlfriend at the time). So if the idea was to create a dream-like movie, I would say they did a perfect job. Everything about 'Suspiria' looks surreal and charming. It's a dark fairy tale, in which the characters behave in a childish way, like playing along with the scenario. It is also said that the actresses were initially supposed to be little girls, but fearing that the film could be banned, Argento had to choose older actresses, but he didn't really change much of the dialogs, which I think is genius. Strangely, the characters don't come off as moronic or anything, they simply are strange and childish, but in a good way. The subject of sex, for example, is barely even mentioned, which is something that doesn't happen too often in horror movies with twenty-something year old characters. But regarding the actors who played these characters, I would mostly compliment the work of the late actresses Joan Bennett and Alida Valli. The young cast was simply fine, but no one did a remarkable job. Not even Jessica Harper, who was a bad choice for the lead character, in my opinion. This is probably the only little detail I would criticize about this film. Mrs. Harper pretty much has the same facial expression and tone of voice throughout the entire film, which is not good. On the other hand, like I said before, Mrs. Valli and Mrs. Bennett were flawless as the two bitter old women who run the school with their awful temper and their little psychological tortures against those who stand in their ways. So concluding: 'Suspiria' is one of those films that you either love or hate. Both feelings are equally respectable and I can understand why some people don't really appreciate it. But if I have to recommend or 'sell' this movie to someone, I would definitely highlight the dream-like imagery and the creepy music composed by The Goblins, that go perfectly well with what is seen on the screen. Enjoy this dark fairy tale about witches and childish girls.
If you can, check out the Synapse remaster. Seems to be the only one that gets the colors right, and the little-heard 4.0 English mix is absolute insanity
This is my favourite movie in the world. I love it so much that I have a Suspiria tattoo, it got me into movies - into Italian horror which is one of my favourite things now. This is a masterpiece. Nothing will ever come close to this movie’s cinematography and soundtrack. Many people comment on the ‘style over substance’ aspect of Suspiria (and some of Argento’s other films), but I don’t see it as a flaw. It’s an experience. I don’t care if everything makes 100% perfect sense, when I put Suspiria on I feel transported to another world and that’s the best kind of movie. One that can just take you away from the real world. Suspiria is oddly comforting to me. I guess it’s that taking me away from the world feeling. It feels like a hug which I know isn’t what Argento was going for, but hey, apparently people ran out of theatres screaming in the 70s and I’m just a freak. Would recommend this movie to anyone and everyone. I can’t imagine not liking it. I get that the dubbing and the cinematography or whatever may be a little jarring at first as beautiful it is, but go in with an open mind and let yourself get lost in the beautiful world of Suspiria and I can’t see anyone at least not somewhat liking it. Nothing I could ever say could sum up how much I truly love this movie.