Suspiria (1977)
By: CJ on June 24, 2003  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
Simitar (Australia - USA Import). All Regions, NTSC. 2.35:1 (16:9 enhanced). English DD Surround EX, English 6.1 DTS. 98 minutes
The Movie
Director: Dario Argento
Starring: Jessica Harper, Stefania Casini, Flavio Bucci, Miguel Bosé, Barbara Magnolfi, Susanna Javicoli, Eva Axén, Alida Valli and Joan Bennett.
Screenplay: Dario Argento and Daria Nicolodi
Tagline: The only thing more terrifying than the last five minutes of this film are the first 90!
Country: Italy
AKA: Dario Argento's Suspiria; Suspiria - In den Krallen des Bösen
Dario Argento, with the possible exception of Lucio Fulci, is probably the most well known of the Italian directors. His films have the reputation of being stylish, violent and superbly crafted. Suspiria is no exception and has been given a lavish DVD treatment by Anchor Bay.

Suzy Banyon (Jessica Harper) arrives in Germany on a horrendously windswept and stormy night and hails a cab to take her to the ballet school where she is to enrol and take up classes. However, upon arriving at the school she finds that she is denied access. She gets back in the taxi and on the ride back she sees a girl running through the surrounding forest.

The following day, Suzy returns to the dance academy and is allowed entrance to the building. Suzy quickly discovers that the girl who was fleeing the previous night is dead and so the mystery begins. It soon becomes apparent to Suzy that things are not as they seem and she soon finds herself on a perilous path to solving the puzzle.

More murders are committed and played out with Argento's strong visual style and he manages to keep us guessing right up to the final frames of the film – even though the film is literally littered with visual clues.

Suspiria is hailed by many critics as being his finest film – and indeed it is a superb film. Maybe not quite as good overall as the immensely satisfying Deep Red, but an impressive work nonetheless. Argento literally commits to film a waking nightmare. The all-encompassing sound, the saturation of prime colours across the screen and the highly stylised – and brutally vicious – murders all add up to create a cinematic feast for the senses. Stylistically this is probably Dario's most accomplished film to date. The set designs are impeccable and impressive, the locations faultlessly chosen, and a superb cast all combines to bring Argento's nightmarish vision to breathtaking life. This is not the work of a mere hack – but the work of one who truly knows and loves his craft.

There is little more to be said about this film than has already been said by so many other writers. Those familiar with horror cinema will undoubtedly also be familiar with the work of Argento. Whether you love or loathe his films, there is no doubting the technical excellence of his productions – and it's this excellence that sets him apart from so many of his peers. Suspiria is visually sumptuous and aurally impressive work that is experienced more than viewed. It's a rollercoaster ride of striking visual compositions and assaulting sound – few films will involve you so completely as this one.

If you haven't seen this film before, then this disc from Anchor Bay and distributed in Australia by Simitar is the best way to see it. The disc is faultlessly mastered, completely uncut and has an incredible sound mix that will simply astound you.
The video presentation by Anchor Bay is simply stunning. The image is pin-sharp, free from any defects and perfectly captures Argento's vision in all its Technicolor glory. An absolutely incredible transfer.
There are two audio options available, Dolby Digital Surround EX and 6.1 DTS. Both of them sound fantastic and perfectly recreate the pounding aural onslaught by Argento favourites, Goblin. Dialogue, along with the music, is crisp and clear and free of any hissing and given the THX stamp of approval. First class job. You also have the option of viewing the film in French or Italian.
Extra Features
Although this is a review of the single disc edition (as opposed to the 3 disc Limited Edition), there are still a good few extra features to be had on this release. There are theatrical trailers, a TV spot, radio spots, poster and stills gallery, talent bios and a wonderful music video by Claudio Simonetti's band Daemonia. Overall it makes up a nice package indeed. Also, on the extras menu screen, if you click right on your remote, a feather of the crystal bird will light up. Click select and you will discover an Easter Egg in the form of an outtake from a Udo Keir interview (which is obviously presented in its entirety on one of the discs in the 3-disc set).
The Verdict
A superb film presented on a top notch DVD. There's not more to be said than that. And now that Simitar are distributing this in R4, there's no reason for the Australians among us not to pick it up. If you like horror and you like Argento – then this is a must. But if you're not familiar with Argento – this would be an excellent introduction to his films. So go on – click the link at the bottom of the page and order yourself a copy, you won't be disappointed.
Movie Score
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