Friday, May 8, 2009

Suspiria Review

suspiria poster

I'm tired this morning. I was out last night watching Death by Stereo and Strung Out playing here in Seattle. I'm tired, but I still snuck in a horror movie to review on the site. My latest endeavor takes me back to 1977. That's right, we're going back to the seventies and will be looking at a movie directed by Dario Argento. The classic Italian movie we'll review today is Suspiria, released in 1977 and now consider a cult classic.

Suspiria is not the craziest film up front, however, it shows so much talent and intrigue throughout the film, but still has some random spots of soreness and really lackluster production. Whatever the case is, Suspiria is a creepy film about duality, dreams, and so much more.

Here is a trailer for the 1977 Dario Argento film Suspiria:

The movie starts with one of the best kills in horror movie. There is an attack on a dance student and it's filmed in pov, something that porno movies are now famous for, and it's amazing. The director puts a shoulder camera of sorts, but not a nauseating view point and moves forward. The killer stalks his prey and then stabs a woman, before throwing her through a glass window. This is such a cool sequence and is one of the best in all horror films, hands down.

The editing is brilliant throughout this film. The editing and points of view do not change every 30 seconds like they do today. There are shots from far away that last 20 to 30 seconds, there are long winded conversations without switching back and forth. I like this style of film making and would appreciate more horror movies sticking to that.

The colors make this film more than just a horror movie. This movie has bright red blood and bright lights with color filters that create such an ambiance that you can't find in a lot of movies today. Throughout the film color evokes emotion and while the acting might not be amazing the colors coupled with the acting create the whole emotional connection needed to care about characters in these films.

There are some points in this film that can seem boring. The pacing is not like today's standards. This film punches you in the face, then slowly rebuilds before dropping you into complete madness. There are moments in the film that rely heavily on sound and colors. The point of view that you saw as the killer in the early moments of the film become overused towards the end of the film which provides a lot of entertainment with a Ballet School as the backdrop.

One of the best parts of this film is a moment where a girl ends up being trapped in a large room full of Razor wire. That's right, move over "Saw" you didn't invent razor wire trapped rooms, we see one here in all its shiny glory. This room is so insane, it's crazy, and it's one of the best parts of this film. If you can't make it through the ambient, dark, and colorful film, at least stick around for the razor wire trap, it's insane.

suspiria colors

Is Suspiria a scary movie? : Yes. This film takes a shot at two major scary points in the human emotion. The will to learn a craft and succeed and the fear of leaving your comofortable world and become a hero. These are my opinions, not necessarily the purposes of Dario Argento's vision, so you have to take it with a certain brevity before you tell me I'm wrong.

The first notion that scares me personally is the human emotion that is involved in this film. Learning a craft is not easy, I learned a lot in College and somewhere along the way graduated and had to leave. I moved a long way away from Home and started with nothing but a degree. No one cared about my degree and now I sit in a random office working on tech stuff. So what? Well, this film's main character leaves the comfort of her home to a new school, to try and learn dance. Her dream fulfilled, and along the way things get really tough when she witnesses a murder. I don't know why, but the juxtaposition of skill and death are great metaphors for our life. We either live fast and die fast or we slowly fade away in our slow minded universes of tech boredom and cubicle land nightmares. Think about it.

The second scary point in this film involves the fear of becoming sort of a hero. The climax of the film, for me, was when our heroine has to kill off a ghost and burn the place down, all while escaping. To me that's a hero, I know you can argue that it's cowardess to run while the world burns, but to me it's not. I believe that the hardest thing to do sometimes is to slay the demons in our lives. Now, I don't mean a religious token demonology, I mean demons as a representation of anything that can be bad in our lives. There is a moment of faith that we all have to face, for me it was to leave Los Angeles, move to a new city with no family or friends and start brand new. That step for me was scary and it paid off in major dividends.

I know, I'm trying to shove the final moments of this film into a relational database of ideas that compare myself to the character even though I'm doing a terrible job. If those two reasons are not really floating your boat, consider the film as a whole. Dario Argento does a masterful job pushing the realms of surrealism and horror with such ease. The long shots, the foot steps, the rain, the color, and the storyline featuring tame gore and horrific situations really put your mind to the test of frustration and fear. What is worse than being trapped in a room of razor wire?

Suspiria is scary. I love Argento's work here, I thought the movie was great. I thought that the slow points were made better with the final circumstances and results of the film. I thought that for a 1977 film this movie pushed the limits of fear without compromising horror elements that make us all fans of the genre. Check out Suspiria and don't mind the slow build and lackluster gore effects, enjoy the art form for what it is trying to be...classic.

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  1. jervaise brooke hamsterNovember 7, 2010 at 6:28 PM

    Once again i`ve never been able to see what all the fuss is about with regards to this movie, its ludicrously over-rated (like most of Argento`s films). By the way, i want to bugger Jessica Harper (as she was in 1967 when she was 18, not as she is now obviously).

  2. What your saying about the two major scary points in human emotion is interesting. Even if Argento didn't thought of it doesn't mean it's not there. Have you take a look at the male characters in the movie?

  3. The blood and gore is INCREDIBLY fake. it looks like paint! everything is bad for a 1977 movie. i dont see the scare!

  4. One of the scariest movie I've ever seen. The plot, the colors, the camerawork, everything. So creepy. And the effects? Yeah, they're not good, but it's an old movie, and there's actually going to be a remake of it soon. With Isabelle Fuhrman Suzy! The effects will probably be way better in this one, and Isabelle's a really good actress! :)


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A writer first, cat lover second, and some other stuff too. Human, with lots of faults, and terrible communication.
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