Dario Argento is one of the most influential filmmakers of the horror genre, and on this week’s episode of “The Online Movie Show” we offer a tribute to his remarkable output. Film historian Troy Howarth returns as our guest, offering cogent commentary on all things Argento.
Dario Argento’s horror film “Suspiria” is an immaculate production, one that almost commands you watch it with unbreaking attention. While many have argued it lacks a narrative and often times feels aimless, Argento vies more for a cinematic experience than something that relies heavily on narrative. “Suspiria” feels like one long fever dream, and Argento paints every scene like its being influenced by pure evil. While Suzy herself is being influenced by witches and witchcraft, the audience itself also seems to be pulled in to the same seat, watching every bit of setting being altered in to this realm.
There’s been talk of remaking Suspiria for years. So much so that a lot of what I’m going to mention here are thoughts that have been bouncing around in my head for over a decade. The latest attempt at a remake, and the one most likely to happen, is supposed to star Dakota Johnson and Tilda Swinton, have music by Thom Yorke, and be directed by Luca Guadagnino. All of whom are above average artists in their respective fields. So I wish this attempt well and I genuinely hope it succeeds.
At the same time, I think it’ll fail.
Dario Argento’s “Suspiria” is easily one of the greatest horror movies ever made. It’s one of the very few horror movies I can call perfect, and I rarely ever do that. Argento’s horror film about a ballet academy with a hideous secret is a marvel for the eyes, the ears, and for horror audiences that enjoy brain food with their cinema. Jessica Harper is excellent as young Suzy, a ballet dancer who travels to Germany to attend a very elite ballet school. Upon the surprising realization that she hasn’t been allowed to enter the school thanks to a late entry, she is surprisingly allow to attend when a student is mysteriously and gruesomely murdered in her apartment. Suzy immediately begins to become attuned to her surroundings, and finds her environment within the militant and unusual ballet school most unsettling, to the point where she begins to fall ill, and experiences unusual events.
Playing October 29th in a double screening with “Demons,” at the Anthology Film Archives, NYC [Tel: (212) 505-5181]. “Demons 2” star Coralina Cataldi-Tassoni is set to appear and present both films. Check theater times and ticket prices here.
Lamberto Bava and Dario Argento bring us quite an interesting universe where all elements of their narrative and concept tend to transcend reality and common sense and the realities kind of intercept one another. In either case, “Demons 2” much like the original, is a film where you basically buckle up and take the ride without picking apart too much of the ideas. When dissected nothing makes much sense, but it’s at least a fun tour through some genuinely fun shocks and creative moments of horror cinema. Unlike the first film, “Demons 2” lacks the novelty of the movie theater setting. Wherein the original had demonic forces infiltrating a safe haven for movie lovers, director Bava and producer-writer Dario Argento confine their victims to a locked down apartment complex.
There’s a moment during “Dracula 3D” where I had to look away from the screen and cringe in utter embarrassment. It’s not the scene with the giant mantis, but where Dracula and Mina Harker are pitching woo on the castle balcony in the night. In between the pillars you can see a night sky and moon light so badly composited on to the screen, with atmosphere so poorly made up of blatant CGI, that it’s shocking in its sloppiness. Dario Argento is much better than this. Hell, Asia Argento is much better than this.