Classic of the Week: Suspiria (1977)

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Suspiria is a 1977 Italian supernatural horror film directed by Dario Argento and starring Jessica Harper, Stefania Casini, Flavio Bucci, Miguel Bose, Alida  Valli, Udo Kier and Joan Bennett in her last film role.

The story is about Suzy Bannion, an American ballet student, that arrives in Munich to study at the Tanz Dance Academy in Freiburg. On her way to the school, she sees another student, Patricia Hingle running in terror. At first Suzy is denied entrance into the school, so she starts toward town. On her way she sees a troubled Patricia running fast through the woods. Patricia hides at a friend’s apartment, where she spills she has found something horrifying hidden in the school. She locks herself in the bathroom, only to be grabbed by an unseen devilish person and stabbed to death. Suzy discovers many dark secrets about the school and witnesses a friend’s death and coming back to life.

This is truly a twisted, disturbing, scary and bizarre film. It has the feel of a Stephen King book, a horror movie and an art film. The acting is outstanding, but some of the effects are bad, like the deaths, you can tell it’s not really blood, because it looks like red paint. But I guess this is what you get without a high budget. Although the blood is unrealistic, just what happens to each character that dies, is unsettling enough to make up for it. Also, the fact you never see the killer or killers, adds to the terror of this film.

The building of the suspenseful music in the awful scenes, makes the film more disturbing. The boarding school is very strange and makes you pay for pretty much everything. It is bizarrely decorated. The teachers and headmistress are mean and actually witches. Not knowing what will happen next, makes this a film you won’t want to watch at night by yourself, especially if you’re home alone. This is not the kind of movie you’ll want to watch over and over again.

Is this the best horror film I’ve ever seen? no, but it’s definitely not the worst. It does have its good and bad things about it, but it’s not one I’m dying to buy. Maybe if this film hadn’t been so bizarre or disturbing, I would have liked it more. But overall it’s just a pretty good film and nothing more. 18+ 3.5/5

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