Directed by Dario Argento, 1977 , Running time:97 minutes.
Suspiria is Italian horror Maestro Dario Argento's masterpiece, and is regarded as one, if not the best Gallio films. Suspiria is the first film in Argento's "Three Mother's Trilogy", which tell the tales of three powerful, ancient witches who reek havoc and death on the modern world. The story involves an American ballet dancer who transfers to a prestigious dance academy located in the remote, densely wooded wilderness of rural Germany. She immediately senses something sinister within the mysterious academy, her feeling of dread is only escalated by the student's bizarre behavior and string of horrific, grisly murders. In slowly uncovering the dark, occult past of the academy and it's owner, the girl begins a terrifying descent into the demonic bowels of the academy to confront the evil lurking there.
Suspiria is one of the most aesthetically stunning films I have ever experienced, Argento's brilliant use of color and lighting make the movie look like a grim brother's fairy tale brought to life, a masterful sequence near the beginning of the film captures this perfectly, showing the heroine arriving at the airport and getting into a cab to take her to the academy. This is shot normally with bland everyday colors and lighting, but as the cab enters the deep woods near the academy, the the whole film's aesthetic and visual palate slowly begins to change, it feels like she is Alice going down the rabbit hole as her surroundings become nightmarish and strange things appear out of the corner of her eye. Add too this the deft editing and cinematography, not to mention the iconic, haunting soundtrack by Goblin and you are left with one of the most vivid nightmares captured on camera. Dario Argento has always been famous(or infamous) among hardcore horror and gorehound film goers for his sensational, incredibly gruesome death scenes. Suspiria features some of his best work in this regard, there are three elaborate set pieces in particular that are simply jaw dropping, unforgettable and genuinely freighting.
From the gangbusters opening scene to the surreal, nightmarish climax, Suspiria is a truly terrifying classic, it's is a shame so many people haven't experienced this movie, it is one of the best horror films ever made.
The DVD exists in a rare, out of print Anchor Bay addition and easier to find, high quality 2-disk set from the wonderful folks at Blue Underground.