Suspiria(1977) is given its cult status in the USA partialy due to the extreme usage of colors. The colors in Suspiria(1977) gives it an artful flavor that makes the movie beautiful to watch. Argento uses the colors of blue, green, red, and yellow in an unique manner. The director uses the old technicolor technique that was in use during the 1950s. This aspect gives the movie a fairy tale appearence.

In the first 20 minutes, Dario Argento wanted to build up suspense and tension that was normally reserved for the climax of a film. The main character and story are built up in good fashion. The shoots of Suzy Bannion inside the taxi cab gives the viewer a feeling of claustrophobia and dread. The image and music in the opening moments add high voltage suspense to the film’s pounding intensity level. The shots through the woods are fabulously done.

The double murder sequence is one of the most bloody scenes in modern horror films. It still retains its shock value after twenty four years. This one sequence makes any murder scene in a teen horror film today look tame. The only murder sequence from an Argento film to match this in its brutality is the arm removal scene in Tenebre(1982). The murder of the first victim is extremely violent and yet stylishly filmed.

Dario Argento owes his debt in making Suspiria to the early animations of Walt Disney and the art of Jean Cocteau. The main source of influence is the Disney film of Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs. The Snow White film would influence many Italian horror movie makers because of the impression it made on them as a child. The story of Suspiria(1977) was to originally take place in a children’s school. This was changed because of the possible controversies this would cause in the film community of Italy.

In filming the murder scenes, the director wanted to pump them with intense horror that wouldn’t let up. He wanted to create scenes of fear that would be carried by its gory visuals and ear pounding music. The murder scenes in the motion picture are given their own personal style. On doing this film and these murder scenes, Argento has said(“Fear is a 370 degree centigrade body temperature. With Suspiria I wanted 400 degrees”). The murder sequences are one of the main things that make the film a gem of a horror movie.

Suspiria(1977) adds some movie lore to witchcraft mythology. The movie looks at the mythology of witches and witchcraft with keen interest. Its one of the best films on the subject of witches. Argento was fascinated by the subject of witches and used that fascination to make Suspiria(1977). Another source of influence is a section from the Thomas De Quincey’s drug induced fantasy essay, Confessions of an Opium Eater called Suspiria De Profundis.

Daria Nicolodi gives an important contribution in co writing the screenplay. Suspiria is the only film where Daria Nicolodi had creative imput on an Argento flick. Part of the film was inspired by Nicolodi telling Argento about her Grandmother’s experiences at a finishing school where black magic was practriced during the late hours of the night. Daria Nicolodi was to play Sara, Suzy’s friend but got injured during shooting. The story is there to give structure to the visuals & music.

The death of Daniel, the blind piano player is set up with suspense. The scene takes an unexpected turn when he is attacked by his own dog. This is because the scene at its opening points to him being killed by a witch. Dario Argento along with cameraman Luciano Tovoli uses complex camera movement to make this scene work. This scene must have impressed Lucio Fulci when he saw the film that he would play homage to it in The Beyond(1981).

There has been a great debate among Argento fans on whether Deep Red(1975) or Suspiria(1977) is the director’s masterpiece. Some see Suspiria(1977) as the masterpiece in the film cannon of Dario Argento. Others regard Deep Red(1975) as his true masterpiece. In my opinion, Tenebre(1982) is the masterpiece of Dario Argento because its complete in motifs that were seen in his films up to that point. Deep Red(1975) and Suspiria(1977) are Argento’s top horror films of the 1970s.

I find it intriging that Suzy and Sara resemble sisters and have names that begin with the letter S. Suspiria was influenced by an obscure horror pic called La Residencia/The Finishing School(1968). Supiria contains a tinge of the giallo genre with a scene in the opening moments. The Goblin gives out another amazing soundtrack following their excellent score for Profondo Rosso. Luciano Tovoli does a fantastic job as the cinematographer in showcasing the nightmarish world of Suspiria(1977).