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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "SUSPIRIA"-Dario Argento's stylishly artistic masterpiece!
Okay, to all those fans of the Italian horror genre (or 'giallo' films as some would call them) I'd like to say that I am a longtime fan of horror movies and am also new to the Italian horror genre. I'd have to say as strange as it is, "Suspiria" (1977) was actually the first one to get me into the Italian horror films. Considering that I personally do NOT like...
Published on July 12 2004 by Blade

versus
1.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic horror film finally on bluray but...
I love this movie but unfortunately the disc will not play on any bluray in Canada. Too bad...it is one of my favorite horror films.
Published 8 days ago by William McMaster


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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "SUSPIRIA"-Dario Argento's stylishly artistic masterpiece!, July 12 2004
By 
This review is from: Suspiria (DVD)
Okay, to all those fans of the Italian horror genre (or 'giallo' films as some would call them) I'd like to say that I am a longtime fan of horror movies and am also new to the Italian horror genre. I'd have to say as strange as it is, "Suspiria" (1977) was actually the first one to get me into the Italian horror films. Considering that I personally do NOT like any of Lucio Fulci's work (e.g. "Zombie") Dario Argento is quite better and the atmosphere of his movies are a lot better to draw you into.
Jessica Harper (a very talented actress indeed!) plays the heroine, Suzy Banyon, a young female American ballet dancer who attends a German dance school run by the mysterious Madame Blanc and Miss Tannr (given eerily performances by Joan Bennett & Alida Valli) From there, all hell breaks loose as horrific "accidental" deaths occur as many individuals are picked off one by one by an unseen supernatural entity. There are numerous secret passageways in the school (my favorite being the rose painting on the wall), a cruel and sharply grotesque hanging scene, a flesh eating dog, & many other shocking surprises which await as Suzy must discover the school's true revelation before it's too late!
This 3 disk set is in its WIDESCREEN Presentation(2.35:1) & is enhanced for 16x9 T.V. sets. It also includes the theatrical trailer (including T.V. spots), radio spots, a Daemonia music video, poster and still galleries, and talent bios. The third disk is the soundtrack of the film performed by the Italian rock group, Goblin and is definately one of the creepiest scores I've ever heard in a film. (Though maybe not as scary as Godfrey Salmon's orchestrated and conducted score for the sequel, "Inferno")
It's also one of those rare items which requires you to think, but keep in mind that sometimes it may take more than just one viewing to understand it all. The Dance Academy is also the most beautifully, artistic movie sets to ever be used for a horror flick (but in a grotesque and fun way) Without doubt, this is one of Dario Argento's BEST work! (I haven't seen his first masterpiece, "Deep Red" yet) In fact, as he explained in an interview for "Inferno" this, along with that film was one of the hardest films to make in his career and required A LOT of his own imagination and style. I recommend this to those who don't prefer Lucio Fulci's work and I also recommend the sequel, "Inferno". (it carries some of the same resemblance to the first film but the storyline starts to come together more in that one) Truly, this is a non-stop nightmare into the terrifying unknown! I will most definately be checking out the rest of Mr. Argento's work.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kcin's review of Suspiria, July 9 2004
This review is from: Suspiria (Widescreen) (DVD)
I suck at introductions so I'm not even gonna try. This movie is very good. I like it. If you are interested in Horror cinema or just visually intriguing films in general you need to check this out. All right then, on with the specifics.
The plot is easily summarized. Suzy Bannion is an American ballet student in Germany. There a bad goings-ons at the academy and she must investigate and defeat the evil to survive blah blah blah. None of that really matters. Even the staunchest defenders of this film often admit that the plot/script/dialogue are not particularly inspired, and frequently kinda lame. I tend to agree with this belief, but as I said before, it doesn't really matter. However, contrary to what many people say, I didn't find this film to be the least bit confusing. I'll admit that not necessarily everything that occurs makes a whole lot of sense, and that some things are shown which are not terribly vital to the plot, but it's hardly difficult to follow. The acting isn't so great either, with the protagonists coming off a bit flat much of the time, and the antagonists overdoing it, particularly the whacky Miss Tanner, whose got a weird female concentration camp commandant thing going on.(or maybe I'm thinking of Madame Blanc, I get the names confused. If you see it you'll know who I'm talking about.) Still, it's a masterpiece visually.
When people talk about this movie they almost invariably describe it as being nightmareish. I don't really care for this description, because it exaggerates the surreality of the film. Visually, it isn't hyper-abnormal, it's really just surreal enough to seem just beyond the bounds of reality, so that nothing in the film seems quite real. This is particularly effective in the Academy itself, which mixes stately, classical looking architecture with extremely garish and tacky, extremely 70s-ish decoration. The night/horror scenes are all the more effective, with natural coloring being essentially abandoned, with everything then being bathed in eerie colored lighting. The two most prominent colors are blue and red, with a smattering of green now and then. On the whole it is startlingly eerie, and can add immense power and atmosphere to scenes where essentially nothing happens. A good example of this comes when they are forced to sleep out in the ballroom due maggot infestation.(which is itself an example of a creepy thing that happens that has nothing to do with anything) Nothing really happens here, but it's bathed in an intense, absolutely hellish red light which gives it immense power. To accompany these visuals is the much-hyped score by Goblin. It is extremely effective, though occasionally weakened by the odd cheesy synth line. It's mostly eerie keyboard lines playing menacing, repetitious melodies, thunderous percussion and random, rumbling bass overlaid with demonic voices whispering and howling. It also gets points for sounding like actual music, rather than the auditory exclamation points that most horror films provide you with. Despite all this, this movie isn't all that scary, but it's pretty eerie and atmospheric, and is just damn cool.
The film suffers slightly from starting off too well, so it's unable to maintain it's level of excellence, and suffers from a rather anti-climatic ending. Still, the opening scenes of the film are absolutely great. Suzy's arrival in Germany during a fierce storm sets the tone for the film, and establishes most of the visual motifs. It is perhaps the most surreal portion of the movie, with the heavy rain obscuring most everything, and particularly random seeming uses of lighting.(The weird forest they pass through is especially cool) The first murder scene, which is early in the film, is easily the best of the horror set-pieces. Although it isn't really all that gory it's a truly brutal scene and ends with some genuinely horrific imagery.(I'll admit that the effects are dated, but they still work very well in this scene, imo) The other horror scenes are reminiscent of the first, indoors, with the use of phony looking set decoration and colored lighting, with one exception. It takes place out in the open, and the normal colors are abandoned, instead opting for utter blackness and plain white and grey coloring on the surrounding, neo-classical architecture. It's also got some great, Leone-esque staging and camera work, as it drags the scene out as long as dramatically possible, alternating between extreme long-shots and extreme close-ups. It's a great scene (other than some dated gore) which is made all the more effective by how it contrasts with the rest of the film.(I should mention that despite the supernatural trappings of the film, the killings are generally done manually, with slasher-esque staging and methods. This film has witches, but they ain't much like what you usually see.) As I said before, the ending isn't so great. It's a bit abrupt, and doesn't show us anything we haven't seen before, but just re-iterates old motifs in an inferior manner, and suffers from some bad acting on the part of the main antagonist.(Well, now that I think about it, it does have one great scare, which is unexpected and unlike what we've seen before, but overall it's just not nearly as good) Also, there's a scene with a bat which is unintentionally funny. That bat's just so damn adorable.
Well that's about it. Some flaws, but it's a horror masterpiece anyway.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic horror film finally on bluray but..., April 11 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I love this movie but unfortunately the disc will not play on any bluray in Canada. Too bad...it is one of my favorite horror films.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars its okay, May 19 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Suspiria (DVD)
I got my package quite late, a week later than I was supposed to. Also,m due to lame packaging the dvd was squished and one of the discs was loose inside the new dvd, that was pretty lame.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Look of Horror, July 5 2004
By 
S. Harris (Spotsylvania, VA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Suspiria (DVD)
I could of probably lived without 10 over-the-top seconds of "Suspiria." Those 10 seconds are graphic to the point of porn. No doubt Argento fans would say that such scenes are what make Argento Argento. Whatever. That said, this is a really good movie with a terrific look. Argento's use of colors and architecture to establish mood (dread) is simply astounding. I have to believe Kubrick borrowed from Argento, heavily, in his making of "The Shining." I almost didn't finish watching "Suspiria" due to a graphic murder in the beginning. What kept me hanging in there was the stylish way Argento was framing his scenes. Hairy and taloned arms appearing out of the dark, a haunting run through the woods, wild and/or garish art deco interiors that have you thinking Jack the Ripper picked out the colors and patterns, and a building that looks like it was designed in Hell.
The plot? It's ok. Not as weak as some have suggested, but it does have holes - holes you don't spend much time pondering, since it's your eyes and ears Argento is after. Acting? Almost seems beside the point. You have your various grotesque characters, some with very big teeth, doing evil things. Jessica Harper is, however, very good as the waif-like ballet student. Her physical slightness, her big eyes, all contribute to the impression that she is surrounded by monstrous horror. How will she escape? Watch and see. The soundtrack, especially if you have surround sound, is effective and eerie. Lots of evil whisperings and other ominous sounds jump from unexpected directions. So the makers of the dvd are also to be applauded. It's as crisp a picture as you can imagine. (Guess Argento wanted those "reds" to really show.)
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Yikes!, June 8 2004
By 
Ryan Wilkes (Savannah, GA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Suspiria (DVD)
Suspiria was made a long time ago, in film terms, anyway. Yet it still seems modern, despite being very stylized. This film is unmistakably European and decidedly scary. The story goes something like this: A naive and innocent American girl gets sent to a deadly, decadent, and wicked European dance school (in Germany, no less); soon all hell breaks loose and our American ballerina is fighting for her life; I agree with another viewer that the heavily synthesized score really under'scored' the stylized horror of the film. You may be wondering about my use of the word style, but once you've seen the film you're sure to agree after seeing just a few minutes of its eerie sets and haunting music. It's like a truly terrifying haunted house at the fair; and those have never frightened me. Or maybe it's because I was really really stoned when I saw this movie. That tends to heighten the excitement.
Cheers!
R.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Possibly the greatest Italian horror movie., April 25 2004
By 
Darrell B (Warwickshire, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Suspiria (DVD)
Suspiria is not only one of the greatest Italian horror movies of all time, but one of the greats of horror, full stop. For years, the British censors cut material from this film which they deemed as being offensive. Fortunately, they have had a change of heart over the past few years and are now allowing movies previously too controversial to now be released. Suspiria is one of them. I won't reveal the scenes which were cut as it might spoil your first time viewing, but if you want to watch some good horror that doesn't have any of the typical 'masked killer stalks good-looking teenager' which dominates the modern horror movies then Suspiria will provide you the frights.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars not great, Jan. 25 2004
By 
Austin Bowen (Pittsburgh, PA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Suspiria (VHS Tape)
This movie deserves 2 1/2 stars. It is not scary. The theme song is pretty good, but overused. The sound effects are often ridiculously busy. The scenes of gore are inappropriately graphic -- a close-up shot of a throat being cut does not fill me with dread, it just makes feel a little bit uncomfortable. The suspense is forced and amateurish. The witch theme becomes intriguing, but surfaces too late in the movie. The ending is strangely obvious and straightforward, in contrast with the rest of the movie.
Suspiria is not a great movie, period. It is not very entertaining, and it is not scary in any way. Go ahead and rent it, but take it for what it is. You may really like it, but I don't see why you would.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Barely Interesting, Jan. 6 2004
By 
"baakus" (Kansas City, Missouri United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Suspiria (Widescreen) (DVD)
I had been looking forward to seeing Suspiria for quite some time. I'll confess, the numerous reviews and word-of-mouth got to me. Specifically, the reviews posted here at Amazon. But, holy cow, what an incredibly, dramatically, amazingly OVER-RATED film this is! OK, I'll give you the cool Goblins' soundtrack. I'll grant you Argento's deft use of light and color. But that's it... nothing else.
Suspiria is not a terrible film per se, but one of the scariest, most "beautiful," most memorable horror films ever?! No way. Not even close. As has been noted elsewhere, Argento's "plot" is hardly there at all, and the acting and voice-over work is merely passable. But those are not really the reasons to watch an Argento film. You are suposed to enjoy or appreciate his ability to shock and scare you. I am easily (and happily) scared by horror flicks: really good ones (The Exorcist and Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer); pretty damn good ones (28 Days Later and Blair Witch Project); even marginally OK ones (Hellraiser II comes to mind -- not great, but interesting). Suspiria ain't even in the same ballpark. Not the same league. Not the same sport. Not for one instant was I in suspense regarding who the bad guys were. Not at any point did I approach being scared. And, MAN-O-MAN, do you think you could get to anything even BEGINNING TO LOOK SCARY QUICKER THAN THE NEARLY 90 (yes, 90) MINUTES IT TOOK TO GET TO THE FRIGGIN' "SCARY" PART?!?!
The fact that Suspiria takes sooooooo long to get to the confrontation between the protagonist and the bad guys was in and of itself enough for me to recommend against this film (nearly 90 minutes, folks). So why 1 star? Because not all the acting is abyssmal, because the cinematography and camera work is interesting, and the soundtrack is genuinely cool.
But the scares are non-existant (I am honestly amazed that ANY of the reviewers here stated that they were even the tiniest bit frightened), the first (and, essentially, only) act is far too long, and there is a pitiful "resolution" to the film (bad guys all die, heroine walks away... the end).
I am not of the opinion (as has been stupidly and naively stated elsewhere, Lee) that Halloween Part 4567, or Freddy, or Jason, or Scream are "great horror films" -- I think they genuinely suck -- and I resent the idiotic implication regarding my intelligence. The fact remains that this film is over-rated. Period. It is not great nor is it a classic, though it does have some winning aspects, which I have noted. But films like Blair Witch, Texas Chainsaw Massacre (the original), and the first Halloween ARE terrific pieces of entertainment, and are far better representatives of the horror genre than this silly, silly film.
The thinking-man's horror flick this ain't. It is simply ridiculous to count this film among the greats of the horror genre, European or otherwise... this film simply does not work in nearly any way for me.
Did I miss anything?
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Overrated, Dec 9 2003
By 
This review is from: Suspiria (DVD)
Like many others here, I bought Suspiria solely on the hype it has received as 'one of the greatest horror films of all time'. I am a huge fan of the genre and do enjoy other films by Argento, but after watching Suspiria I had no sense of it being even remotely close to one of the greatest horror films of all time.
The film is beautifully shot, as has been stated by others, the use of color is stunning and consistent throughout. The score is great as well. But the plot is fairly thin and the acting is average at best. Some of the effects were somewhat cheesy also, like the scene with dog attacking the piano player. Clearly it could be seen that this was a mannequin, and a poorly constructed one at that. The blood used looked like fingernail polish and nothing like actual blood.
With that said, Suspiria is definitely worth a look. I purchased it and am happy to have it as a part of my collection. But when you stand this movie next to classics like 'The Exorcist', 'Halloween', 'Black Christmas', or 'Carrie' it simply doesn't measure up.
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Suspiria
Suspiria by Dario Argento (DVD - 2002)
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