Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Briefly: Suspiria (1977)

It boggles my mind that Dario Argento directed a movie called Deep Red and it is not this picture. How is that possible? How could any movie not set entirely in a darkroom be more about the color red than this one? On one of those classic horror film dark-and-stormy-nights an American girl (Jessica Harper) arrives at a German dance academy. By day, the place seems harmless enough. By night it's transformed into a house of horrors, lit entirely by ominous splashes of blue, green, and especially red. Argento's film is soaked in fluids: it opens in a drenching rain, features a key scene in a pool, finds menace in a glass of syrupy wine, and covers its victims in liters of blood. And there's no denying the amount of imagination behind the inventively grisly slasher scenes; it would not surprise me in the slightest if the barbed wire room made an appearance in my dreams in the near future. Still, points off for the score (which I've heard others praise, but sounded to me like an giddy asthmatic with an old Casio keyboard) and for the crummy transfer on the bargain basement DVD Netflix sent me instead of the remastered Anchor Bay disc.

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