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Suspiria: Defining Italian Horror

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5 months ago
5 months ago
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Dario Argento’s 1977 classic supernatural horror “Suspiria” is a cut above other horror movies, critically explained by critiques. It is partially based on Thomas Quincey’s 1845 essay “Suspiria de Profundis.” It has been labelled as a “Wild thriller” which has paved way for the major upliftment of the generation of European Filmmakers. It focuses on witchery and voodoo as a kind of supernatural horror. This topic has always been controversial among different cultures believing in it or not. The debate has been going on since Shakespearean times and probably before that era.

It focuses on the dark and bright side of the feminine gender, portraying one as a protagonist trying to debunk the mystery inside the academy and the other being the witch. Its effect on the horror genre has been of immense importance. Recently, the remake of “Suspiria” was directed by Luca Guadagnino which released this fall. It included a star-studded cast including Dakota Johnson. A crucial characteristic used in the movie is the use of technicolor. The mixture of various primary colors with blood red gave an eerie impact on the screen, already terrifying the audience. The same technique was used by movies like “The Wizard of Oz” and “Gone with the Wind.” The same technique was again used almost 30 years later in the action movie “Hero” by Zhang Yimou, who is a pioneer in the Chinese Film Industry. Another path breaking improvement was the use of shrilling audio, which made the audience to hold on to their seats since the beginning.

           Argento paired up with the then famous Italian band Goblin for the post-film audio effects as finishing touches for the movie. This helped to bring this genre of music in spotlight.

The different ways in which the murders were portrayed made other filmmakers think deeper for developing the character for serial killing, which opens up to another category of horror known as “Thriller horror.” The concept of “Three Mothers” made Argento to make another hit called the “Inferno”, which focused on a different aspect of technicolor but also helped to carry Suspiria’s legacy forward.

           “Suspiria” has also played an important role in developing the “Giallo” film sub genre, which focuses on blood and gore on a totally different level. These types of films mostly include Italian settings and landmarks, hinting towards the historical aspect of the country. This was a breakthrough for other movies like “Short Night of Glass Dolls” and “Deep Red.” For his famous twists and eye-catching plots, he is often referred to as “The Italian Hitchcock.” His work was also on screen at National Film and Sound Archive from September 20 to October 4.

           Even Quentin Tarantino has expressed his admiration of Argento and his influence in the making of Kill Bill Volume I. Argento’s movies include more sensuality and his cinematography is more vivid, paying homage to the mis-en-scene style in cinematography. The vague camera angles, extraordinary sound track, use of technicolor, etc. depicts the beauty of Argento’s work, which has had a great influence on the “Supernatural” sub-genre.

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