The sensuous pleasures of Suspiria are many: an iconic Goblin synth score, eye-popping set design and occult thrills.
A young American dancer, Suzy Bannion (Jessica Harper), arrives at a German ballet academy.
After a series of weird occurrences, she realises that the school is a front for a witches’ coven.
Suspiria is the most famous example of giallo cinema, a distinctive brand of ’60s and ’70s Italian horror featuring high style and pulp twists.
Director of photography Luciano Tovoli was inspired by the Technicolor hues of Walt Disney’s Snow White (1937).
Argento knew he had a hit on his hands after witnessing the opening-night response, and famously recalling: “People came running out, screaming, telling people in the queue ‘Don’t go in! Don’t go in! It’s all witches!’ It just made everyone in line want to get in even more.”
Argento sold the rights to Suspiria in 2008 to Luca Guadagnino, of Call Me By Your Name fame, resulting in a remake which was released in 2018, to extremely mixed reviews.
Guadagnino has since said that his film was more of an “homage” to the original, and aimed to honour the “powerful emotion” he felt when he first watched the original film.
“I was so terrified, but as always with something that terrifies you, I was completely pulled in,” Guadagnino said.
“I think the process of how that movie influenced my psyche probably has yet to stop, which is something that happens often when you bump into a serious work of art like Suspiria.”
Suspiria will quicken the pulse as you wander through the rabbit-hole of Argento’s twisted imagination.
Catch it tonight at AGNSW, Art Gallery Road, Sydney, at 7:15 pm.