SUSPIRIA (1977) -

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By Norman England     June 11, 2000

American dancer Suzy Bannon travels to Germany where she has enrolled for study at a famous dance institute. Little by little, as fellow students disappear and tensions begin running high, she comes to learn that the school is under the control of a coven of witches led by a raspy breathed 'immortal one'. From horror director Dario Argento, SUSPIRIA is unquestionably his most definitive work, displaying all the Italian director's over-the-top talents in one crushing, cinematic, tour-de-force blow: vicious murders by faceless killers; dazzling, fervent photography; elaborate, finely crafted sets; a somewhat convoluted plot with an underpinning of eerie European folklore. Horror has always held a dubious connection with Rock-and-Roll, but it hadn't been properly addressed until Argento brought the association to a head with this film. Working with Italian rock/fusion group Goblin, Argento empowers SUSPIRIA with a pounding rock score that leaves viewers covering both their eyes and ears during the film's many violent offerings. Challenging, but not exploiting, Argento connects directly with our suppressed lust for the thrill of the kill, giving us some of the artiest scenes of murder the genre has ever witnessed. Oh, and let's not forget all those squirmy maggots. Yuck!


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