"Suspiria," directed by Dario Argento, tells the story of a young American woman who goes to study at a ballet school in Europe. But a gruesome murder early in the film indicates that horror lurks behind the school's elegant facade. More horrors unfold before the true nature of the school is revealed.
I must admit that while a lot of hype seems to surround this film, I didn't find it to be as shocking or horrifying as I expected--perhaps the passage of time and my experience of more shocking films made after it has blunted its impact as a work of pure horror. For me the enduring power, pleasure, and importance of "Suspiria" lie in its blend of visual and musical style. Virtually every frame of the film--including the goriest and most violent scenes--is a lovingly crafted work of art. Set design, costumes, etc. all come together to enhance Argento's brilliant use of color, shadow, shapes, and visual motifs. At his best Argento creates an enchanting poetry of sadistic violence. This visual genius is marvelously enhanced by Goblin's creepy, bold musical score--it's music that at times relentlessly assaults the listener.
"Suspiria" has been given a lavish treatment in this 3-disc DVD edition, complete with a wonderful booklet about the film. Disc 2 contains a well-made documentary that commemorates the film's 25th anniversary. It features interviews with the film's stars (Jessica Harper, Stefania Casini, and the marvelous Udo Kier), director Argento, the musicians who created the unforgettable score, and other key behind-the-scenes creative talents. Disc 3 is a CD of the score. It's a total package that really enhanced my appreciation and enjoyment of this remarkable film.