Friday, October 27, 2006
When listing off the greatest 70s horror films, you get the old faithfuls: The Exorcist, Dawn Of The Dead, The Amityville Horror, Jaws.
What you don’t hear about is a film called Suspiria.
Made in 1977 by bonkers Italian director Dario Argento, it’s a twisted little story about an American dancer (Jessica Harper, Shock Treatment) who transplants herself into a German dance academy, where the teachers may or may not be involved in something a lot darker than ballet.
Though it may not be the most famous of 70s horror, it is certainly the scariest. Argento’s tense plot is enhanced by a vivid and inspired use of colour, stunningly arranged shots, and a few of the best and most inventive deaths in screen history. It’s so nail-biting, in fact, that it’s almost hard to watch, the tension strung taut as a wire.
The dubbing is slightly disastrous however, yet it’s not impossible to ignore and is complemented by a childlike, memorable score that sets the teeth on edge. The performances are as good as your usual 70s horror. Harper gets along fine, but her supporting cast are shaky at best.
But it’s the direction, cinematography and editing that drive this along, and if that’s what you like, you’ll be jumping at the tiniest noises for the next week.