Outside of devoted cult audiences, many Americans have yet to discover the extremely stylish, relentlessly terrifying Italian horror genre, or the films of its talented virtuoso, Dario Argento. Suspiria, part one of a stil... more »l-uncompleted trilogy (the luminously empty Inferno was the second), is considered his masterpiece by Argento devotees but also doubles as a perfect starting point for those unfamiliar with the director or his genre. The convoluted plot follows an American dancer (Jessica Harper) from her arrival at a European ballet school to her discovery that it's actually a witches coven; but, really, don't worry about that too much. Argento makes narrative subservient to technique, preferring instead to assault the senses and nervous system with mood, atmosphere, illusory gore, garish set production, a menacing camera, and perhaps the creepiest score ever created for a movie. It's essentially a series of effectively unsettling set pieces--a raging storm that Harper should have taken for an omen, and a blind man attacked by his own dog are just two examples--strung together on a skeleton structure. But once you've seen it, you'll never forget it. --Dave McCoy« less
Dario Argento's '70s classic about witchcraft and murder at a ritzy ballet academy in Germany. People seem to really love this movie but I thought it was kinda "Ehhhh." Not really deserving of its legendary rep. There's atmosphere to spare, some great gore, lotsa pretty girls, but the story didn't really start to make a lick of sense till the last fifteen minutes or so.. But then that's Argento all over, from what I've seen of his stuff...
2 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
Chad B. (abrnt1) from CABERY, IL Reviewed on 8/6/2010...
The first part of Argento's Three Mothers Trilogy (Inferno & Mother of Tears r the other parts)is essential viewing for anyone interested in Italian horror cinema or fans of the genre. An effective film that does a masterful of building suspense and delivering the payoff (something most horror/thriller/suspense movies fail to do).
2 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
Jefferson N. from BLAIRSVILLE, GA Reviewed on 8/31/2009...
Suspiria is the crowning jewel of horror meistro Dario Argento. While it is not quite my favorite film of his, it is definently one of his best...hands down. If Deep Red is the ultimate giallo, then Suspiria is generally accepted to be his best supernatural horror film.
Suspiria is the story of a young woman who goes to Freiberg, Germany to attend an exclusive school of dance. Just prior to her arrival, a series of murders break out that rock the school. The young woman, Suzy Banyon (played by Jessica Harper), is drawn into a web of witchcraft and murder that will consume her unless she discovers the secrets of what lurks behind the walls of the austere school.
Suspiria is an ok horror film in and of itself. The story is good and it has a decent body count for it's time. What sets it apart is the fact that it has a special film stock that focuses on blue and red hues that give it an otherworldly effect and the murders, while violent, have an innate beauty that is captured as only the eye of Argento can perceive them. The soundtrack by Goblin, full of jangling notes and strange sounds, will keep you off balance and nervous throughout the picture. This movie is definently a masterpiece!
On a final note, this is the first film in the "Three Mothers" trilogy. This series focuses on three ancient powerful forces of nature that have been imprisoned by alchemists in three houses to use their powers for their own agendas. The other two films are Inferno and Mother of Tears.
3 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.
Stylish, beautiful, and mesmerising
Douglas Ratcliff | Madison, WI United States | 11/19/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I first saw Suspiria a few years ago as a VHS rental but I couldn't remember too much about it. But suddenly, the world of Italian horror has been broken wide open so I picked up this three disk limited edition. Watching Suspiria is sort of like dreaming awake. Colored lighting is used to great effect and the sound track just sort of lulls one into submission. The plot makes about as much sense as a dream, that is to say, the movie all makes sense while watching but looses cohesion quickly once one returns to the "real" world. I think that is why I only remember watching the VHS rental but not too much of the movie.The three disc set includes a newly made documentary and a Goblin soundtrack from the movie. The documentary suffers from subtitles that are sometimes washed out against a light background. Otherwise, it is informative. The Goblin CD is a lot fun to listen to and I find myself humming the main theme all the time. Unfortunately, I do not find a listing for the names of the songs. The main disk also includes trailers and radio spots and a Goblin music video of Demonia, which appears to be the main theme song."
Color me bad. ** Is it worth the upgrade? Comparisons belo
Mike Liddell | Massachusetts | 08/14/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The premise as most know a girl Suzy Banyon, an American ballet dancer arrives at a well known European dance academy run by mysterious teachers where nothing is as it seems. As Suzy arrives at night in a horrible thunder and lightening storm a girl is leaving in a frenzy yelling a secret into the night, what follows is as Entertainment Weekly calls "the most vicious murder scene ever filmed".
Director Dario Argento "paints" an effective horror story, he puts relatable people in relatable situations so we can buy into his film. Then very cleverly has dreamlike sets bursting with colors, we as viewers subconsciously know something isn't right and I believe this use of color subtly keeps us on edge. Even the title of the film, What is Suspiria? I googled it to find it is a film by Dario Argento, so even the title has us subconsciously unsure going in. Although I could be wrong on that. Then add an unrelenting, nerve wracking, and haunting score by Goblin (one of the most effective I've experienced). We enter with Suzy into this academy and we know something isn't right, we are experiencing what she is, it is like a dream and maybe nothing is wrong, and with the blink of an eye this dream becomes a nightmare, we can stop the dvd but what is Suzy going to do?
To upgrade or not to upgrade. The first set of features are also what you get on the single disc anchorbaby dvd still available for 10$. Languages English (DTS 6.1) English (Dolby Digital 6.1) English (Dolby Digital 2.0) Not available on the single disc Italian (Dolby Digital 2.0) French (Dolby Digital 2.0)
Features (All on Anchorbay single disc) # Anamorphic Widescreen 2.35:1 # DTS-ES Digital Surround # Dolby Digital EX Surround # Stereo
DISC 1 EXTRAS: (All on Anchorbay single disc)
* Theatrical Trailers * TV Spot * Radio Spots * "Suspiria" Music Video By Daemonia * Poster & Still Gallery * Talent Bios
DISC 2 EXTRAS: (All new)
* "Suspiria" 25th Anniversary Interviews with Co-Writer/Director Dario Argento, Co-Writer Daria Nicolodi, Cinematographer Luciano Tovoli, Composers Goblin (Claudio Simonetti, Massimo Morante, Fabio Pignatelli & Agostino Marangolo), and Stars Jessica Harper, Stefania Casini & Udo Kier # French (Dolby Digital 2.0)
The transfer and the sound are going to be the same, if you didn't own any copy i would say this 2 disc version for 5$ more is the way to go, also if your an Argento fan or fan of the film, disc 2's features most likely will be worth it to you. 4.5 stars Hope this helps.."
The last word in fear.
D. Litton | Wilmington, NC | 10/01/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"For those of us who think that Wes Craven is the master of the horror genre, we can think again. I'm speaking these words after watching "Suspiria," one of the most frightening and terrifying horror movies ever made. Created by Italian director Dario Argento, the movie manages to be menacing and gory at the same time, and Argento fills his canvas with a vast array of vivid yet bizarre colors, eerie lighting and camera techniques, and a soundtrack to top all horror soundtracks. In short, this is one hell of a scary movie! The plot is a basic one, more of a vehicle for Argento's explorative imagination. It begins with a storm, as young Susy Banyon (Jessica Harper) arrives in Germany to attend ballet school. Argento wastes no time in creating a sense of unease, from her cab ride to the school, as she watches the colors of street lights in the pouring rain, to the gruesome and outright malicious murder of a runaway student. All of this happens within the first ten minutes, which should be a message of what lies ahead (in other words, be prepared). The movie then takes us to the school itself, a dazzling array of vivid colors and elaborate set pieces that put the house in Robert Wise's "The Haunting" to shame. Susy is shown the many rooms and introduced to the staff and students, though discovers that she will be rooming off campus. That is, until she begins to get suspicious about strange occurrences, and the staff relocates her to the premises. Her suspicions mount higher, and she begins to wonder if there isn't more to the ladies that run the academy. You may find yourself forgetting the plot behind all of this mayhem, but that's perfectly reasonable, given the fact that Argento seems to be more interested in attacking our minds than provoking them. And he succeeds in doing just that, taking us into the darkest depths of horror with his adept use of gore, bursting colors, camera movements and creepy sounds from all around. This is extremely unsettling stuff here, some of the most elaborate yet unbearable set pieces ever constructed for a film. The beginning murder sequence is a true shocker, one that we see coming, but never in such a gruesome manner. Other sequences involve a blind man being attacked by his own seeing-eye dog, multiple stabbings, a girl's corpse coming back to life... it never stops. But it all works due to Argento's ability to get under our skin before shocking us out of it. Before each scene of brutality, there is a wonderful buildup of suspense and terror, because even though we know what's going to happen, we're totally in the dark as to how it will occur. He keeps us waiting impatiently by employing a slowly building soundtrack, heightened by slow camera movements that center on the faces of the person involved. "Suspiria" will remain in the memory long after its first viewing; in fact, you may never forget it. It stands out as a visionary masterpiece, one for the senses and the mind, a horror film that transcends the boundaries of the genre. I was intrigued by every minute of this film, which keeps you in the moment long after it's already passed."
Terrific DVD for a terrific movie
mwrangel | Fullerton, CA United States | 10/24/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"What many claim is the definitive Dario Argento movie(some say "Deep Red" but I say this), has been put into a wonderful DVD. I waited for weeks for the limited edition. It was well worth the wait. The limited edition throws in everything, but the kitchen sink. While the laserdisc was in letterbox, the colors were washed out. Pity too, since that was they used a technique which enhanced the colors into a deeper, richer texture (in letterbox to show the entire picture). Thankfully, the DVD lets us see this wonderful enhancement beautifully. On the second disc, we see interviews with the filmakers and stars of the film. We also get a bit of a hint why we still haven't seen the conclusion of "Three Mothers" Trilogy. It also has an interesting interview of the composer of the bizarre music to the movie. The third disc is a CD soundtrack to the movie, which contains a terrific updated version of the theme song (a music video of the song is in the first disc). All in all, an excellent DVD set. Bravo to Anchor Bay!"
Dario's dream-like, horror masterpiece
Keith W. Johnson | Summerville, SC United States | 02/06/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you've never seen a Dario Argento film and are curious as to why he has such a huge cult following, "Suspiria" is a great place to start finding out. The atmosphere Argento creates in the film fills you with such a sense of heavy dread, it's no wonder that he claims that this film and "Inferno" (an inferior but stylish follow-up) were exhausting to make. Most likely, he probably creeped himself out. "Suspiria" will make your skin crawl, even when nothing seems to be happening. Argento even makes falling rain seem disturbing. The film moves like a dream, and the Goblin soundtrack is haunting. This is the best, creepiest music I have ever heard in a horror film. The storyline is basic, as in most Argento films, and what moves the viewer is not the story (centering around a dancing-academy run by a coven of witches) but the style and dreamy-quality of Argento's directing. The gore is strong in this movie, so sensitive viewers beware. For any fan of good horror, this film is a must. If you've never seen Argento, now is a good time to start. And start with "Suspiria"!"