Dario Argento’s horror film “Suspiria” is an immaculate production, one that almost commands you watch it with unbreaking attention. While many have argued it lacks a narrative and often times feels aimless, Argento vies more for a cinematic experience than something that relies heavily on narrative. “Suspiria” feels like one long fever dream, and Argento paints every scene like its being influenced by pure evil. While Suzy herself is being influenced by witches and witchcraft, the audience itself also seems to be pulled in to the same seat, watching every bit of setting being altered in to this realm.
Jessica Harper is great as Suzy, a young dancer who travels to German to attend a ballet school. Taking the place of another student who’d been mysteriously murdered, she arrives at the exclusive school one very stormy night, she realizes her dream is slowly transforming in to a nightmare as her school reveals itself to be so much more sinister than she originally imagined. As the body count rises, Suzy begins looking in to the under belly of her school, and risks a horrific death. “Suspiria” is a captivating but it’s also quite scary as it derives a lot of frights from the unknown and from the inexplicably evil. There are some fine moments of terror from wheezing witch from behind the curtain, Suzy watching one of the students from the ballet school flee down a stormy forest, and of course the infamous barb wire pit.
The stunning cinematography from Luciano Tovoli along with the score from Goblin allows for a wicked assault on the senses, creating nightmare that taps in to paranoia, hysteria, and raw fear.
Disc one features two feature length commentaries. There is one with Argento scholar Troy Howarth, and another with Argento Scholar Derek Botelho and Film Scholar David Del Valle. At twenty seven minutes, there’s “A Sigh from the Depths: 40 Years of Suspiria,” which discuss the world of horror with a ton of horror heavyweights and common names in the world of horror journalism. They discuss the legacy and influence of “Suspria,” arguably Argento’s best film. “Do You Know Anything About Witches?” is a thirty minute essay by Michael Mackenzie, who discusses his exploration of “Suspiria” and then gets anecdotes from film historians and critics, as well as analyzes the themes and compositions of the film itself.
“Suzy in Nazi Germany” is an eight minute rundown of the history of the German locales used in the film. It uses a lot of footage from the film, and what they look like in present day Germany. “Olga’s Story” is a seventeen minute interview with Barbara Magnolfi, who discusses her credentials and film credentials up to Suspiria. She also discusses working with Argento, his vision for the movie, and how she fared after the film was made. There’s the HD “Breathing Letters” which is the original US Release Opening Credits. There’s the original theatrical trailers for the film which includes two US Trailers and an International Trailer. There are original US Television spots garnering three US Spots altogether. Last but not least, there are the original US Radio Spots in HD, all clocking in at two minutes altogether.