Thursday, 11 December 2014

Dario Argento's Suspiria (1977)

Figure 1. Suspiria Poster

Suspiria is a highly stylised film. Set in a ballet school, lots of strange things begin to happen. These strange things include perfectly made murders of some of the schools students.
Figure 2. Death Still

These murders within the film are shown in a stylised way as opposed to a realistic way. This makes the murders much more memorable. Brayton describes the film as “artistic in its violence, even by the standards of Italian genre filmmaking in the 1970.” (Brayton, 2012).
Figure 3. Lighting Still

The set only adds to the strangeness with the colours of the sets being extremely pushed. As Smith says about the film “there's Argento's masterful use of deep primary colours — the sets are bathed in garish red and green light (he acquired 1950s Technicolor stock to get the effect) giving the whole film a hallucinatory intensity.” (Smith, 2010). The film indeed is somewhat hallucinatory with the bright colours playing into the weird goings on within the film. It’s an interesting way to use colour, especially in such a dark film.
Figure 4. Set Still

The set of Suspiria is an elegant one, which is obviously odd for a horror film. Kermode interestingly says that “This is horror shot with dazzling energy yet with the visual depth and acuity of a Renaissance painting.” (Kermode, 2008). Comparing this film to a renaissance painting shows just how visually breath-taking this film is. As you can see in figure 4 the set is gorgeous and highly detailed and completely fits with the characters in this scene.

Suspiria is an excellent way of showing how using stylised methods can make a visually pleasing film.

(Accessed on 10/12/14)

Illustration List
Argento, D (1977) Figure 1. Suspiria Poster (Accessed on 10/12/14)
Argento, D (1977) Figure 2. Death Still  (Accessed on 10/12/14)
Argento, D (1977) Figure 3. Lighting Still  (Accessed on 10/12/14)

Argento, D (1977) Figure 4. Set Still (Accessed on 10/12/14)


  1. Two short and sweet reviews, Kayliegh :)

  2. megashare9 - Argento's best known film is probably his most expressive. This is a gem to look at with all it's lush Italian colors seeping out like a blood covered canvas. If you are looking for a horror film for intellectuals, this isn't it, but if you want something that will definitely impress you, you've found it. It concerns an old dance company in Freiburg Germany that is headed up by an old witch matriarch who leads the coven in diabolical methods. An unsuspecting student, played wonderfully by Jessica Harper, finds herself piecing together a mystery when she arrives at the school in one of the most enigmatic and beautiful commencements of a film to date. Argento has music, colors, and sounds reverberate like an opera for our eyes to dazzle. He scares us with the rain, the closing of an automatic airport door, and loose tree branches that resemble evil lurking beings. This is one powerful moment. From then on, subtle hints are explored, the supernatural, science, one's faith. Never can we guess what is truly hiding at the academy. One scene of the dance students in the hall is superbly done with loud music, hideous heckling demonic shrieks and strange appearances, this is fantastic eye candy!
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