In the spirit of Halloween, many people flock to the theatres or to their TV screens for a good spine-tingling flick to accentuate the horror mood. The problem is, a lot of horror films out there rely on either a gratuitous burst of violence or a plain pop-out-and-go-boo scare tactic to appease the general audience. Seeing a great Halloween movie now requires a little trudging around. If you’re looking for that hidden gem that combines a stone-cold creepy atmosphere, disturbing imagery, a timeless Halloween character, and the spot-on use of surprise and startling gore, look no further than Dario Argento’s Suspiria.
Assuming you’ve already seen all the obvious horror classics like The Exorcist, JAWS, The Shining, all the Universal classic monsters, all the slasher stars (which, as the sequels go on, tend to go for cheap laughs rather than genuine horror), and the other obvious go-to movies, this one is definitely a film worth checking out. Set in a reclusive dance studio in Germany, an American girl begins her dance classes on the night of the gruesome murder of a former student. The situation gets weirder as more deaths occur, other characters become increasingly suspicious, and the influence of witchcraft and the occult grow ever stronger. There aren’t too many great witch movies out there, considering they can be seen as a somewhat campy thing (yet demonic possession and vampire films are farted out by the industry with reckless abandon); this may either change your views on these kinds of movies or confirm your prejudices.
What set this movie apart from other horror films was its one-of-a-kind soundtrack that certainly contributed to the creepy atmosphere. Sure, some of the effects are somewhat lacking, even for a movie from the ’70s, but the offset colour of blood and exaggerated makeup design adds to the unique artistry that this films presents. Something that will resonate with the viewer is the use of setting. Each room is designed in such a particularly interesting European way and can border on the abstract and surreal.
Now, something that the horror fans are really here to see: the slasher scenes are brutal and unforgiving. Even though the effects can be exaggerated and widely unrealistic, they can still have many a horror fan cringing. For a horror film, this movie can be downright beautiful in a lot of its scenes. So, if you’re racking your brain for a decent horror film and refuse to settle for a mindless piece of crap, see if you can find this movie somewhere. Chances are, you won’t be sorry.