In another film I would say something like “all is not as it seems” but from the very offset, all does not seem well. Strange behavior, strange lighting, strange sets, strange score. Strange movie. The audience is on edge from the very onset, even when the main character doesn’t appear to be so.
Our hero Suzy befriends Sara, who was friends with Pat, the girl who fled (and died). She knows something strange is going on and tries to find out what. Originally the ballet students were to be young girls but a hyper-violent film starring tweens would have been problematic. So they hired twenty-somethings but kept some of the adolescent dialog. SSSSSSSS!
Running the ballet school is old friend Alida Valli (The Third Man, Eyes Without a Face) and Joan Bennett, who I’ve not seen in anything just yet. This is my first Dario Argento film which should not be a surprise as I’m not much of a fan of the Giallo style. It’s a good thing I started with his most famous and arguably best.
I experienced a few moments of confusion watching Suspiria. They were cleared up when I saw a video analysis which included footage that wasn’t in my version. I watched from TCM who prides themselves for showing films uncut, but clearly this was not the case here. I wonder what else I missed. The movie wasn’t as violent as its reputation.
Suspiria is a weird film. The strange narrative style, expressive sets, bizarre lighting, and oppressive score give the viewer a disquieting feeling. This cannot be overstated. Nothing looks real so the viewer does not know if the regular rules of reality apply. And what to make of the expression on the face of the character at the very end? I would definitely see it again even if my copy was uncut. This is a memorable film. AMRU 4.
“Susie... Sarah... I once read that names which begin with the letter 'S' are the names of SNAKES!”