‘Suspiria’ is My New Favorite Nightmare
Dario Argento’s visual stunner is a fever dream of shocks, melodrama, and sensory overload.
NOTE: For the month of October, I’ll be watching and reviewing classic horror movies that I somehow never made it around to seeing. Bring on your commentary in the comments — and happy Halloween!
There are a handful of horror movies I happily throw on to play in the background while I do Halloween-related stuff. It’s not because they’re not worth paying attention to, or that they’re not interesting, but because they excel in another area altogether: being, as the kids say, A Whole Vibe.
Instead, I may or may not be building a Pinterest board based around the entire set design and lighting scheme of this film. Suspiria’s Whole Vibe is an aesthetic I’ve always been on board with: horror, but make it beautiful.
Suzy Bannion (Jessica Harper) has arrived in the middle of the night in Freiburg, Germany from New York to attend the Tanz Akademie, renowned for specialty dance education. In the pouring rain, she watches a young woman fly out of the front door, crying and mumbling strange things; Suzy tries to enter but is rejected by a woman over the call box. The next morning, she makes it inside and discovers that the young woman from last night, Pat, has been murdered.
It’s all downhill from there. Suzy experiences intense flashes of light and weak sensations; she passes out in class and is put on a special diet by deputy headmistress Madame Blanc (Joan Bennett) and head instructor Miss Tanner (Alida Valli). Maggots fall from the ceiling. Suzy’s roommate, Sarah (Stefania Cassini), suspects that the school’s staff are up to something around the same time every night. She also confesses to Suzy that she was the person who turned her…