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Episode 124 - Suspiria (w/ Roxanne Benjamin)


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Poll: Episode 124 - Suspiria (w/ Roxanne Benjamin) (31 member(s) have cast votes)

Should "Suspiria" be inducted into The Canon?

  1. Yes (30 votes [96.77%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 96.77%

  2. No (1 votes [3.23%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 3.23%

Vote Guests cannot vote

#1 Dalton Maltz

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Posted 15 October 2017 - 11:02 PM

Producer/director Roxanne Benjamin joins Amy this week to talk about the 1977 horror film “Suspiria.” They discuss the appropriateness of the German setting, the common horror trope of over-rationalization, and the surrealist elements of death and destruction throughout. Later, they examine the M.C. Escher imagery on display in the film.

#2 ijustliketowatch

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Posted 16 October 2017 - 08:53 AM

Oh, this is tough. Came to the forum to see what other people were saying and of course nobody else has commented yet. (Of course, now that I've said that, someone will undoubtedly post while I type this.)

Anyway, in terms of influence on other filmmakers, I can totally accept the argument for including this in The Canon. However, purely on a personal enjoyment level, I'm not entirely sold.

I found some of this really effective. For instance, the barbed wire room was a shocking and gruesome surprise. Definitely one of the best things I've ever seen in a horror movie. Otherwise, though, there are a lot of things I can't quite forgive. The pacing doesn't build tension for me in the way it does for Roxanne. It mostly just makes the film feel really uneven and only emphasizes the very loose narrative structure. There's merit to the argument that horror actually benefits from non-traditional narrative, but here it makes the film feel a little episodic and possibly undercuts the sense that there's some sinister coven at work at the school. Like, we gather that from all the insane stuff that happens, but I wonder if it wouldn't feel more of a threat to Suzy if it felt like there were this unstoppable, unknown plot to kill her.

Still, I can't deny that some of the performances are really effective and the visual style is absolutely incredible so I might wait to see what everyone else is saying before voting. Leaning towards yes because of influence and because this trailer is one of my all-time favorites.

#3 anangrybeet

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Posted 16 October 2017 - 09:13 AM

Simply put, this is my favorite horror movie of all time. Of course it belongs in the Canon.

#4 Cronopio

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Posted 16 October 2017 - 09:20 AM

What I've always said about Suspiria is that it is a great work of art without being a "good movie" in the way we conventionally define what makes "good movie" - a definition that prioritizes narrative over the visual nature of the medium and that values realism over artificiality. Suspiria doesn't care about a coherent narrative or spatial logic, but it's a glorious sensory experience and I want to live inside it.

#5 sycasey 2.0

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Posted 16 October 2017 - 01:24 PM

This movie is so clearly a major influence on all of horror cinema that i'd say it's a yes even if I didn't personally enjoy it. The designs and audio-visual filmmaking strategies found here are essential Canon.

But I did enjoy it and find it effective, despite the overall narrative not particularly holding together. I think that, as with David Lynch, there is a kind of functionality WITHIN the scenes that works beautifully, even if the larger context is missing. I remember watching Mulholland Dr. when it first came out. I couldn't have told you exactly what was "happening" in a logical sense at any point in the movie, but within any individual scene it was very easy to follow the characters' decisions and emotional journeys, because they were simple ones and easily tracked: an actress trying to get a role, a director being threatened to cast someone else, a guy being scared by a monster behind a restaurant, etc.

It was the same with Suspiria. Even if you couldn't explain the whole plot from start to finish, the individual scenes always seem to work: you understand the characters' emotions and the decisions they make based on those, and that makes it work on a simple, primal level. I'd argue that being able to understand it on that base level makes it all the more unsettling when the structure of the movie itself seems to spin off its axis and become unhinged. The film draws you in and then twists everything up. It's a great reminder of why movies work by speaking to an emotional truth and are not logic puzzles.

#6 Dale Cooper Black

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Posted 16 October 2017 - 03:01 PM

Dario Argento is the Lou Reed of horror movies, and this film is his "Transformer." Easy yes.
Guy Fawkes in Socks

#7 HoldenMartinson

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Posted 16 October 2017 - 05:42 PM

As someone who is legally blind, I appreciate that we get a really good death scene in this movie. His own dog eats the guy's throat out? A tip of my cane to you, Argento. For real. I'm 100% down for that type of representation.

A yes for Suspiria.

But a no to the groan at Thom Yorke doing the music for the remake. COME ON!!!

#8 sycasey 2.0

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 03:26 PM

Well, looks like Suspiria will not match Z as the next unanimously-supported entry.

#9 Teddy Gomi

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 06:32 PM

This is such an incredible horror film because it focuses almost entirely on atmosphere. It creates such an incredible sense of disorientation and dread along with it's incredible visuals it borders on being an art film.

I keep seeing posters saying that the movie makes no spatial sense. Don't the characters talk about the school not making spatial sense in the film? I think this was done on purpose much as Stanley Kubrick later had his hotel make no spatial sense in The Shining.

#10 Sarah Nicks

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 08:42 PM

The only other time I’d seen Suspiria was with a group of people who were only really into Goblin. They played the soundtrack over a silent projection of the film while someone fast forwarded to all the death scenes. I was such a treat to finally sit down with this film and actually watch it as there is so much to appreciate beyond just the soundtrack. I knew going in that color played a huge role but I was so overwhelmed by the sets and scenes that Argento selected - every frame is truly a painting. I paused it a couple times just to take a look around the gorgeous interiors.

I found myself thinking about the word Suspiria - seemingly a combination of suspense/suspicion/spirit/hysteria. The film certainly embodies all of these things and like the spiral staircases, winding halls, and secret passageways the disorientation that one feels while watching is clearly the point and fun of this film. The further you go in the film the more you become like Suzy stumbling in a stupor down the hallway under a spell.

Loved seeing that huge blue velvet curtain which seems to separate the two worlds in the film - obviously something that Lynch is nodding to with his recurring red room.


A very easy, yes.

#11 Cronopio

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 09:53 AM

View PostTeddy Gomi, on 17 October 2017 - 06:32 PM, said:

I keep seeing posters saying that the movie makes no spatial sense. Don't the characters talk about the school not making spatial sense in the film? I think this was done on purpose much as Stanley Kubrick later had his hotel make no spatial sense in The Shining.


I think in The Shining, Kubrick was trying to create a credible, realistic space, and its only when you obsess over it and draw up diagrams that the artifice becomes apparent, it's not something you grasp immediately - but in Suspiria, the reality of space is subverted blatantly, sometimes from shot to shot. Rooms and hallways appear out of nowhere (the chamber full of barbed wire, for example). In the first kill, after the killer smashes the window and attacks Pat in her bedroom, Argento cuts to her friend outside the door, and when he cuts back to the attack, they are no longer in the room but in this abstract space with a metal fence in the background, bathed in expressionistic blue and red light - is it the roof of the building? who knows! who cares! I don't think this is a defect of the film, but it is a defining characteristic of it.

#12 Johnny Pomatto

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Posted 19 October 2017 - 08:50 AM

I'm so sad I was out of the country last week and missed casting a "No" vote for MARTYRS. I enjoyed the conversation it provided but I could never endorse that film as an essential Canon entry. This, on the other hand, was an easier week to pry a yes out of me. For as many times as I've seen SUSPIRIA, I still consider Argento to be a bit in my blind spot. I've only seen maybe 3 more of his films, and while SUSPIRIA is undeniably his most known film, I'd be curious if a devoted fan would call it his best. I was initially drawn to it simply based on the numerous noteworthy directors who called it an influence, and while I don't get as much pure fun and joy from watching this film as I do others in the horror genre, I can definitively say it's one of the films that does consistently scare me, even on repeated viewings. Attending a screening of the new 4K transfer last month, I was astonished by how it felt like I was watching it again for the first time. Argento, perhaps more than any other horror director, may deserve credit for introducing the use of sound as horror, at least in the modern sense that we know it as now. While the method has been cheapened in recent years to deliver jolty jump scares, the sound in SUSPIRIA is so effectively frightening that wimps in the audience can't ever escape the terrors, merely by closing their eyes. I like what Amy and Roxanne had to say about the dreamlike nature of the film, because I get the same sensation watching the film that I do when in an inescapable nightmare. The impossible corridors and claustrophobic architecture of the school really gives one the sense that they are trapped inside it. Even a sensible horror victim who avoids investigating suspicious noises or splitting up from the group may go mad with dread. I have trouble calling this the definitive Argento film, but with nobody out there to tell me otherwise, I would say this is an essential horror entry into The Canon so I'll give it my YES vote.

#13 JAL2099

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Posted 20 October 2017 - 07:18 PM

I am so remiss I did not vote in the last two. The Tingler is so great and Martyrs is the Fight Club of French Horror. Strong yes on Suspiria. That scene in Helena Markos' room is as terrifying today as the first time I saw this. Suspiria is a film that has and will always stand on its own and is untouchable by time.

#14 FictionIsntReal

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Posted 20 October 2017 - 08:20 PM

I have no problem calling this the definitive Argento film. He may have started with non-supernatural giallo films, but he could never really compare to Hitchcock in telling a murdery mystery that makes any sense. Here he leans into the things he's best at. It's not just the best Argento film, or the best Italian horror film (with apologies to Mario Bava), but also probably the most beautiful horror film. And the Goblin soundtrack works perfectly. One possible shortcoming is that it was supposedly written with younger characters in mind, and probably would have worked better that way (setting aside how child actors usually don't work as well, and can be unconvincingly dubbed in other Argento films). The remake hasn't tried going that route, presumably because the original is such a classic that it would seem weird to do it differently.