Sunday, October 31, 2010

31 Days of Halloween: Suspiria

It’s finally Halloween dear readers, and you’ve lasted with us through 30 days of suicidal werewolves, vampires, satanic teens, and terrifying garden animals. But on this final day, it’s only right for us to pay homage to the great horror master Dario Argento. I love every movie he’s involved with, but Suspiria, the tale of an evil dance academy and the young student that gets caught up in its web of dangerous lies and witchcraft, is my all time favorite, and one of his greatest works. Suspiria isn’t the pitch perfect film that people expect for something that gets such high praise. The acting is somewhat annoying, as according some trivia Argento, intended the characters to be 12 years old and under, but was forced into raising the ages to get the film approved. He reportedly didn’t change the script and even made the door knobs high so that the actors would still have to reach up to get to them. The plot is mostly unexplained, and there are few direct scares, making this a hard film to use to frighten the jaded. But despite all those complaints, not a minute of the film disappoints. It showcases the creativity lurking in Argento’s mind, his brilliant Technicolor style, unusual sets, beautiful unrelenting score, and unique camera angles providing a strange landscape that’s simultaneously horrifying and intriguing, the more realistic cousin of Alejandro Jodorowsky’s visual style, the various rooms (each with a different colored theme or colored lights) invoking one of Poe’s most terrifying stories, The Mask of the Red Death. These visions intensify the violence, making the rare times that it does happen shocking and disturbing enough to stick with you for days. Get the Jiffy Pop, turn out the lights, and see red tonight with Argento....and Happy Halloween!

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