Suspiria (1977)

I’m not sure if this or Deep Red was the first Argento I ever saw. If it was this, then it was certainly a good introduction, even in the rather shabby old pan/scan VHS copy I would’ve seen it in back in, what, 1997 or something? Whenever and whatever. It was also the first import DVD I ever bought back in 2003, inaugurating a love affair (?) with spending large sums of money on DVDs not otherwise available in Australia… With hindsight, and having seen almost all his early work recently, it’s obvious Argento was deliberately stepping up his game even more than in Deep Red as far as violence goes (cf. that opening murder, which is probably the most “fucking hell” thing in his filmography to that point), and the switch up into outright supernatural horror marked a nice shift in direction (albeit a short-lived one). And, for possibly the only time in his career, he kind of transcended style-over-substance to the point where the style was the substance in a successful manner; the film’s extraordinary visual sense (and aural sense, let’s not disregard the score by Goblin) is what the film is really about. I mean, yeah, there’s the story about a witches coven based in a dancing school that only really vaguely makes sense after multiple viewings, but that’s not the point; the point is the amazing set design and the astounding colour (Eastmancolor stock printed in the 3-strip Technicolor manner) in which everything is rendered. For some reason it works in Suspiria for me in a way that it doesn’t in other films (I’m looking at you here, The Beyond), and it’s just one reason why I think the impending remake is a bad idea. Probably still my favourite Argento when all is said and done…


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