Suspiria

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Suspiria is a 1977 Italian supernatural horror slasher film directed by Dario Argento, who co-wrote the screenplay with Daria Nicolodi, partially based on Thomas De Quincey’s 1845 essay Suspiria de Profundis.

Suzy Bannion travels to Germany to perfect her ballet skills. She arrives at the Tanz dance academy in the pouring rain and is refused admission after another woman is seen fleeing the school. She returns the next morning and this time is let in. She learns that the young woman she saw fleeing the previous evening, Pat Hingle, has been found dead.

Suzy is refused entry to the school and forced to stay in town overnight. Pat takes refuge at a friend’s apartment and tells her that something sinister happened at the school. Pat is ambushed by a shadowy figure who stabs her repeatedly and drags her to the roof of the apartment building before hanging her with a noose by throwing her through the building’s skylight. Pat’s friend is also killed after being impaled by falling debris while trying to alert other tenants to the murder.

The film is the first of the trilogy Argento refers to as The Three Mothers, which also comprises Inferno (1980) and The Mother of Tears (2007). Suspiria has received a positive response from critics for its visual and stylistic flair, use of vibrant colors and its score by Argento and the progressive rock band Goblin.

Suspiria was nominated for two Saturn Awards: Best Supporting Actress for Bennett in 1978, and Best DVD Classic Film Release, in 2002. It is recognised as an influential film in the horror genre. It served as the inspiration for a 2018 film of the same title, directed by Luca Guadagnino.

The majority of Suspiria was shot at De Paoli studios in Rome, where key exterior sets (including the façade of the academy) were constructed. Actress Harper described the film shoot as “very, very focused”, as Argento “knew exactly what he was looking for

A creative touchstone among horror aficionados, the picture stands as an example to all filmmakers seeking to create tangible onscreen synergy between story, design, direction and cinematography.

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