Sunday, 7 February 2010

(500) Films of Empire - Day 144

312 - Suspiria - 4 stars
I must give a special "shout out" to the team behind the Blu Ray transfer because the results are absolutely beautiful. I watched Suspiria a few years ago on DVD and it was grainy and dull, but seeing it after it had gone through this high definition restoration it was like watching an entirely new film.
The first thing that you notice are the colours. They are so intense and vivid, particularly the colours red, blue and green. This was the last film shot on Technicolour and a fitting tribute to this bold, vibrant film format although at times the colour scheme is so intense that it could threaten to overwhelm what is happening on screen.
This horror film based around an American student discovering her ballet school is run by a coven of witches is most famous for its series of elaborate murder sequences. You have the opening murder through the glass window, the death where a girl falls into a room that for some reason is filled with nothing but barbed wire, and the highlight of the film, the death of the blind piano player. Now I've seen this film before but I was still fooled by the fabulous bait-and-switch of the death (I won't spoil it for anyone who hasn't seen it yet).
The other highlight of the film is the soundtrack by Goblin and Dario Argento. This was their second collaboration following the success of Profondo Rosso (aka Deep Red) and they would go onto do the soundtrack for Romero's Dawn Of The Dead. It's a fantastic blend of synth and funk that is as seminal a work within the horror genre as the soundtracks to Halloween and Psycho, even to the point where Hans Zimmer has referenced this heavily when scoring the soundtrack to The Ring remake in 2002 (something I only noticed during this viewing).
Whilst the film is a tremendous fun and a landmark within the horror genre, it is not immune from criticism as some of the acting is shockingly bad, particularly the lead actress Jennifer Harper; although this might be in part to the fact that the film was entirely redubbed in post production and she was acting opposite Italian actors.
If you liked/loved this film then I must recommend Profondo Rosso (Deep Red) which I believe is even better than Suspiria and has fantastic use of the archetypal black leather murdering gloves!

Days remaining - 221 Films remaining - 288

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