Susy Benyon, eine junge Amerikanerin aus New York, reist nach Freiburg, um sich dort an einer Ballettschule ausbilden zu lassen. Kurz nach ihrer Ankunft kommt es zu mysteriösen Morden an mehreren ihrer Mitschülerinnen. Immer weiter wird Suzy in den Bann der verhexten Schule gezogen.
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Above all, Argento’s Suspiria is deeply, powerfully loony, a triumph of execution over narrative, of mesmerizing image and sound.
November 02, 2018
What lingers is not a sense of evil but exhilaration in how far Argento and his fellow filmmakers were willing to go to shock and delight; the movie’s sheer exuberance is the cinematic equivalent of a blood transfusion.
Red has never looked so vibrant.
Hell has never looked so beautiful.
Snoring has never sounded so sinister.
Sound design has never sounded so badly post-produced.
And pure potent primordial unfathomable dread, and queasy nightmarish terror, has never been depicted so gorgeously garishly and startlingly stylishly.
And the staggeringly jaw-droppingly awesome Goblin soundtrack?
The young American dancer arrives in a German city and stays at a girls' ballet school run by a coven of witches. This is a pure excess of extreme mannerist colour and light in cinema, referencing modern art from Escher to Beardsley in the sets. Argento's subjective psychological mobile cameras combined with Goblin's incredible, horrific music get you so closely into the girl's mindset of pure terror. What a treat!
The unrelenting soundtrack, the vivid psychedelic color schemes & the masterful set design ensures that Argento's Suspiria still succeeds as both an experiment in sustained terror & as a work of pure cinematic expression. However the aggressive formalism of the film, its bold strokes of editing & cinematography, are each in service of the slight but potent plot; a fairytale death-dream of alienation & innocence lost.
There isn't exactly a lot of attention to plot, and I'm always skeptical when a horror film relies on shock-gore. But then there's the total craft: the acid colors; the irresistibly demented sets; the Goblin score played as either warning or tease; the editing that synthesizes all the above; and Jessica Harper as the perfect wide-eyed lamb. Curious about the remake—there are ways to fill in this spook story's holes.
The script is a little thin, and some of the performances are practically vaudevillian; but Argento's visually arresting and hallucinatory nightmare vision is peerless; the cinematography is luscious and Jessica Harper is a compelling, likable lead.
Digital restored, re-watched. Watching this movie on a movie screen is an exultant experience, even if it was in a digital print and not in 35mm. From all the sides I could catch it, I'll highlight the one that first came to my mind yesterday: that of a great amusement with the scenery, an extraordinary joy of filming, experiencing and destroying it, as in a very good Jerry Lewis. A superior exercise on telling.
Having seen SUSPIRIA more times growing up than I could possibly be expected to count, finally seeing it in all its glory on a big screen (w/ big sound!) has been a revelatory experience. This is a film which continues to offer us a transcendent mimesis of certain narcotic and psychadelic species of experience. Argento had not previously proffered unto the public anything that was quite this much Id. A ravishment.