Sometimes all you need in your film-watching life is a cheesy and gory horror film by a classic Italian director. Suspiria (1977) was directed by Dario Argento and is one of the staples of the giallo genre – defined as a murder mystery style of film, generally Italian-made, which contains a lot of blood, guts, and eroticism. Suspiria tells the story of Suzy Bannion (Jessica Harper) who joins a prestigious ballet academy in Freiburg, Germany. However, Suzy soon realises that the academy is a front for more mysterious and creepy circumstances as numerous dancers are murdered in horrendous ways.
I have loved Suspiria ever since I first saw it, back when I got into the giallo genre in a massive way. It’s one of those horror films where the story is definitely flawed, but it’s executed in such a convincing and charming manner that you can forgive it for its numerous problems. Dario Argento is probably one of my favourite directors of all time (at least, whilst he was in his prime), and you can’t fault a horror film with stellar direction. Additionally, the music by Italian progressive rock band Goblin is absolutely amazing (here’s the main theme as evidence).
But above all, the cinematography and art direction is really what makes me love Suspiria. The film is an exercise in lighting genius, with most scenes being shot in bright, saturated colourful light; the colour of which depends on the content of the scene. You would think that such bright, primary colours would make the film and its contents seem slightly cartoonish, but if anything, it makes the entire film feel like a nightmare come to life. The visuals are stunning and scary, and perfectly match the creepiness of the story.
Here are some of my favourite shots from Suspiria. As with the rest of my photo posts, the images are shuffled to somewhat mask the story. However, looking at these images is absolutely no substitute for actually watching the film, as the use of light and colour and how this changes between scenes is so dynamic and interesting in motion. If you haven’t seen Suspiria before, I would highly suggest escalating it on your watch-list.
Watch the trailer here.