I’m on a roll with spooky women’s boarding schools, apparently.
Yesterday I came across the trailer for director Luca Guadagnino’s remake of Suspiria, another Amazon Studios project that stars Dakota Johnson as a (redhead!) dancer attending a schmancy academy headed by Tilda Swinton in 1970s Berlin.
Then I heard about that freaky scene teased at Cannes, and already I want more. So naturally I had to stream the original 1977 movie by Dario Argento last night, and wow it’s fun.
I’m a fan of horror that’s more Evil Dead than Hostel, and this movie gave me a lot of the same feels as Rosemary’s Baby (I know, fuck Polanski, but still). By that I mean I felt gripped by the slow, creeping suspense of each scene, but then I’d laugh out loud at the violent special effects. The fake blood is particularly delightful.
It’s an incredibly colorful film, and very loud – I was constantly adjusting the volume on my TV as the sounds switched from jangly, palpitating prog rock to characters speaking in barely audible whispers. Much has been said about Goblin’s original score, because the music is crucial to building that feeling of slow, suffocating panic that fills so many scenes that take in the academy.
And this building, by the way, looks completely nuts. If I had taken a drink each time I spied a different decor style in that cavernous castle, I would not have finished the movie.
But the insane splendor of the building makes it even witchier, and when the camera pans out as the characters waltz around the grand rooms and that frantic music howls overhead, there’s a palpable feeling that something ominous is watching them. And despite the comically dated special effects, halfway through you’re ready to turn on all the lights anyway.
In conclusion: You can bet your ass I can’t wait to watch the darker, creepier remake. I only wish it came out in time for Halloween.
Have you seen Suspiria? Are you willing to watch Dakota Johnson in a horror movie? Tell me what you think!