14 January 2008

Dario Argento's Suspiria

Due 14 January 2008

This month's Final Girl Film Club selection: Dario Argento's Suspiria.

"The Only Thing More Terrifying Than
The Last 12 Minutes Of This Film Are The First 92"

"Even at his best Argento's movies have been more about spectacle than coherence."

Well, I promised to return today, and here I am, but damn it if I don't have any time to spare to write about this, and I'm all up for it, too. I'm separated from my computer, and borrowing my brother's laptop to type this bit on. Unfortunately, it will probably have to wait two weeks until I finally move into my new apartment and get my internet hook-up in February. Everything below is what I started after I watched this back on December 8th.

I was hoping this might turn out to be something like what I expected Satan's School For Girls to be. (The 2000 Shannen Dougherty version, I haven't seen the 1973 Charlie's Angels version yet.) I was looking forward to something creepy like Rosemary's Baby, where everyone was in on the secret except Suzy. I thought the teachers would be training the girls at the school to be witches. I imagined they would use the "ballet school" as a front, and use it to trick foreign girls like Suzy into coming to them whenever they, oh, say... needed a virgin to sacrifice. And they would gaslight her so she would think she was going crazy.

Instead, the teachers keep the ceremonies to themselves, and find it necessary to knock off student after student as they discover their secrets. It doesn't make much sense.

You'll do better to suspend logic for the duration of this movie, it's very dream-like, and that's one of the greater appeals of the film.


I didn't get very far before I had to switch from the dubbed English language audio to the original Italian audio track, much of which turns out to be dubbed as well. The DVD doesn't have English subtitles, but the closed captioning works. I suppose the dubbing adds another layer of "offness" that could add to the atmosphere of the film.

It was also odd that the school was in Germany, but everyone including the American spoke perfect Italian. Many Hollywood movies set elsewhere have everyone speaking English, so I imagine this must seem natural to the Italian audience. Should they really be speaking German, then, or is everyone Italian and living in Germany? I learned that Freiburg, where the movie was filmed, really is a college town, and has the highest percentage of foreign students of any town in Germany.

Haus zum Walfisch (House of the Whale)
Freiburg im Breisgau Baden-Württenberg Germany
Built 1514-1516
Rebuilt 1946-1948

Mother Of Tears - Early Review

I have lots more to say, but it will have to wait until I'm reunited with my computer...screen-caps & more to follow!


Bloody Mary said...

Thanks, Anonymous! ;)

AE said...

Looking forward to reading the rest of your review! I had the same idea that it would be more of a mystery movie. And it was, just not in the way I was expecting -- anyway, good luck getting settled in!