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Suspiria

Italy 1977
produced by
Salvatore Argento for Seda Spettacoli
directed by Dario Argento
starring Jessica Harper, Stefania Casini, Alida Valli, Joan Bennett, Udo Kier, Rudolf Schündler, Flavio Bucci, Renato Scarpa, Barbara Magnolfi, Giuseppe Transocchi
written by Dario Argento, Daria Nicolodi, music by Goblin

Dario Argento's Three Mothers

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Always make sure of DVD-compatibility !!!
Suzy (Jessica Harper) enters a German Dance School, only to soon realize that something is weird about this place - a feeling only strengthened by the fact that one of her fellow students has been murdered the very same night she arrives. Immediately on the first day she - at dance training - is forced by her teacher Miss Tanner (Alida Valli) to train until she faints, & she gets prescribed a rather weird diet by the school's doctor Verdegast (Renato Scarpa). The same night it starts raining maggots from the ceiling, & even though the school's principal Madame Blanc (Joan Bennett) explains it away as some sloppy work done in the attic, it is another sign that not everything is alright. 

So Suzy & her best friend Sara (Stefania Casini) - who has also grown suspicious of the goings-on in the school - try to figure out what actually is wrong with the school, & - which seems to be the key to the mystery - where the teachers go at night. But because her special diet was drugged, Suzy does not manage to stay awake during their investigations - & the next night most of Sara's notes are gone, stolen from her room. But Sara, again confronted with a drugged & sleeping Suzy knows someone is after her & flees through teh many corridors of the school - until she meets her end caught up by rolls & rolls of sharp wire. 

The next day, Suzy, requesting about Sara's whereabouts, gets no satisfying answer, thus she calls one of Sara's friends, doctor Frank Mandel (Udo Kier), who fills her in with the backgrounds of her dancing school, as it once was an academy for the occult, founded by an alleged witch, Elena Marcos, about a hundred years ago. Back at the school, which she finds oddly deserted by all students, Suzy tries to find out the secret of the place on her own, her only clue a note that Sara left with her, & she indeed does find a secret passageway, where she promptly stumbles over Sara's corpse & overhears Madame Blanc discussing her demise. But she also finds Elena Marcos, the witch, able to dematerialize herself & thus not easy to kill. But to make Sara's corpse attack Suzy, she has to materialize herself if only for a short instance - long enough for Suzy to plunge a knife into her. The Dance-academy starts to tumble down, & Suzy manages to escape in the nick of time.

 

Suspiria, Dario Argento's first supernatural thriller, marked his final triumph of style over story. Though the plot is said to be based on the writings of Thomas De Quincey, & it is on the surface fascinatingly labyrinthine - which is also mirrored in many of the carefully designed sets -, it does make little sense & furthermore differs surprisingly little from Dario Argento's non-supernatural thrillers. But Argento - contrary to most other style obsessed directors - manages to perfectly marry his cleverly composed pictures & soundscapes to his scenes of horror & suspense, making this one of the true masterpieces of horror-cinema.

By the way, for 2005 an American remake of Suspiria is announced. Do not even give it the benefit of the doubt !

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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USA  amazon.com

Great Britain (a.k.a. the United Kingdom)  amazon.co.uk

Germany (East AND West)  amazon.de

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x-rated  find Suspiria at adultvideouniverse.com


Thanks for watching !!!

 

 

On the same day
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WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
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out now on DVD

 

 

Stell Dir vor, Deine Lieblingsseifenoper birgt eine tiefere Wahrheit ...
... und stell Dir vor, der Penner von der U-Bahnstation hat doch recht ...
... und dann triffst Du auch noch die Frau Deiner (feuchten) Träume ...

 

Und an diesem Tag geht natürlich wieder einmal die Welt unter!!!

 

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