100 Movies You Need to See Before You Die

Suspiria (1977)

Country: Italy
Director: Dario Argento
Screenwriters: Dario Argento, Daria Nicolodi
Stars: Jessica Harper, Stefania Casini, Flavio Bucci, Miguel Bose, Alida Valli, Joan Bennett

There are some films that should never be remade. Dario Argento’s Suspiria is one of them. David Gordon Green has been attached to a potential remake for years, but no director could ever match sheer artistry of the original—which is the kind of film that seems like it can only have been made in the 1970s.

The first of Argento’s “The Three Mothers” trilogy (Inferno and The Mother of Tears followed), Suspiria is a giallo horror film about an American dancer at a German ballet academy harboring a coven of witches. Don’t bother trying to add it all up, just sit back and enjoy the Technicolor ride.

Subtle he is not. The film is a prime example of the stylistic choices that have come to define Argento’s work—vibrant colors, over-the-top orchestrations of violence and haunting symphonic rock scores (here provided courtesy of Goblin)—with the end result being a nightmarish quality that’s as stylish as it is polarizing.

There’s really no in-between with Suspiria; you love it or you hate it. The Village Voice’s J. Hoberman said it best when he called Suspiria “a movie that makes sense only to the eye." —JW

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