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Suspiria (Widescreen)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Jessica Harper, Stefania Casini, Flavio Bucci, Miguel Bosé, Barbara Magnolfi
  • Directors: Dario Argento
  • Writers: Dario Argento, Daria Nicolodi, Thomas De Quincey
  • Producers: Claudio Argento, Salvatore Argento
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, DVD-Video, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English, French, Italian
  • Subtitles: French, Italian
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: R
  • Studio: Starz / Anchor Bay
  • Release Date: Oct. 1 2002
  • Run Time: 92 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (274 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005ASOI
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #67,246 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)

Product Description

Product Description


Outside of devoted cult audiences, many Americans have yet to discover the extremely stylish, relentlessly terrifying Italian horror genre, or the films of its talented virtuoso, Dario Argento. Suspiria, part one of a still-uncompleted trilogy (the luminously empty Inferno was the second), is considered his masterpiece by Argento devotees but also doubles as a perfect starting point for those unfamiliar with the director or his genre. The convoluted plot follows an American dancer (Jessica Harper) from her arrival at a European ballet school to her discovery that it's actually a witches coven; but, really, don't worry about that too much. Argento makes narrative subservient to technique, preferring instead to assault the senses and nervous system with mood, atmosphere, illusory gore, garish set production, a menacing camera, and perhaps the creepiest score ever created for a movie. It's essentially a series of effectively unsettling set pieces--a raging storm that Harper should have taken for an omen, and a blind man attacked by his own dog are just two examples--strung together on a skeleton structure. But once you've seen it, you'll never forget it. --Dave McCoy --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

Format: DVD
"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.
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Format: DVD
In 1977 SUSPIRIA was considered an extremely violent film; in the wake of the slasher genre, however, the violence involved seems less horrific than you might expect. What continues to work, however, is the look with which director Argento endows the film, particularly in regard to the set designs, camera set-ups, and use of color. Visually speaking, this is an amazingly beautiful film, with Art Nouveau designs, deceptively simple cinematography, and washes of intensely artificial color that dazzle with intensity. Even in the midst of its horrors it is almost impossible to take your eyes from the film, such is its strange beauty.
The cast is equally strange. Leads Jessica Harper and Stefania Casini are very typical of 1970s ingenues, but they each have a quality that sets them slightly apart from the young actresses of the time. Barbara Magnolfi makes an impression as Olga, one of the school's students, as does Susanna Javicoli as a harsh instructor. Even Udo Kier, cult star of Andy Warhol's FRANKENSTEIN and DRACULA puts in an appearance. But oddest of all is Hollywood's Joan Bennett, who gives a truly flawless turn as the seemingly lady-like and ultra-respectable Madame Blanc.
Less successful is the story itself, which is so slight as to be almost incidental. Young dancer Suzy Bannion (Jessica Harper) has enrolled in a famous Italian ballet school--and upon her arrival finds another student fleeing the school in hysterics, a student who is not long after murdered in a horrifically brutal way. Odd incidents follow, and when Suzy's classmate and friend Sara (Stefania Casini) goes missing, Suzy begins to piece together the truth.
Another flaw, at least to my mind, is the soundtrack.
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Format: DVD
. . . oh, but then, he did (*The Exterminating Angel*, *Los Olvidados*. Et cetera). Okay, if he had directed a GORY horror film, *Suspiria* would probably have been the one. Surreal in the extreme, director Dario Argento's movie eschews coherent plotting for sensorial assault. The result is a mixture of mind-blowing mastery and almost-laughable incompetence. The mind-blowing mastery part would include the entire opening sequence, with Jessica Harper's arrival in a Berlin airport radiating hallucinatory lighting and existential menace, followed by the baroquely photographed murder of a young woman who attends the ballet academy. The fate of the blind piano player at the academy, and the red-lit scene where the girls fearfully whisper to each other while a silhouetted figure behind a sheet makes beastly-sounding snoring noises, would also fall under this category. The almost-laughable incompetence parts would include stuff like the really lame episode involving a toy bat attached to a string. Generally, the bigger the scare that Argento goes for, the harder the movie falls on its face. The genius of *Suspiria* is in its dreamlike mood, largely aided and abetted by the architecture of the ballet academy itself -- surely one of the most triumphantly spooky sets in the history of horror films. And underneath it all is the classic score, enjoyable all by itself even without the film, by the Italian group Goblin. Therefore, considering the movie's overall strength while forgiving its moments of weakness, I recommend *Suspiria* without reservations, especially for the ladies out there: the movie was based, apparently, on a DREAM of Argento's then-wife, Daria Nicolodi.Read more ›
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