Suspiria Reveiw

Figure 1: Poster  (1977)

Dario Argento's Suspiria (1977) is a visually wonderful film , the story starts with tragedy, which breaks the conventions of todvorian narrative. The film starts in disequilibrium with the gruesome murder of someone who seemed to be an important character. From the beginning the film seems to want to confuse the spectator, it allows terrible things to happen without giving the spectator any valid or logical reason. Things seem to happen because they happen in this film, the only real explanation is that's can sometimes be given is a mysterious killer, but that theory is debunked when a dog kills it's owner. Soon the idea of the supernatural is thrown into the film from what seems like no where, and feels like a lazy way to explain what has happened in the film.
Figure 2: The colourful hallway (1977)

The set design is colorful using primary colours to make it feel unnatural, the set has an added effective of adding a "hallucinatory intensity to the whole film" (Smith, 1977) hinting to its supernatural background. The use of colour can sometimes be to much, which can remove any sense of immersion a spectator might be feeling. Because of the immersion breaking color, jump senses are do not seem as effective in scaring the audience which for a horror film is bad. Without a sense of fear or unease can Suspiria really be seen as horror. There is no definitive answer to that because emotion responses are based on a spectators psycho-graphic, but one argument is if a majority don't feel terror or fear, the film is not a true horror.

The editing follows the template set by the horror genre, slow cuts build tension and closes ups show emotion and a track cam to follow the helpless victims as they fail to escape. The film uses subtle omens to hint that something is going to happen, omens range from bats to gargoyles. Omens for the spectator can "function as bait"(Gonzalez, 2001) for character, In the scene with Suzy (Jessica harper) the the omen convinces hers to explore leading to her death. The sounds the gargoyles seem to be making are also bait in the sense that they stop the blind man from leaving the square.  This allows witches curse a chance to take control of his dog to kill him, for the spectator the repeated cuts is the omen that tells them something will happen.
Figure 3: Falling glass(1977)

Some argue that the plot is "transparent as the pane of glass that slices up the movies first victim" (Maslin,1977) this statement has a lot of truth to it. The film seems like a typical horror, it tries to set is self apart from other films, but Instead just adds a layer of simplicity. It's not a bad film at all, but the way it tackles it's premise of witchcraft is uninteresting, also the fact that the witches were so easy to defeat made the end feel unsatisfing and rushed.

Illustrations List

figure 1: poster. (1977) [poster] at (Accessed on 11/12/2014)

Figure 2: The colourful hallway (1977) From Suspiria Directed by Dario Argento [Film still]. At

Figure 3: Falling glass. (1977) From Suspiria Directed by Dario Argento [Film still]


Gonzalez, E. Suspiria Review. At: (Accessed on 11/12/2014)

Maslin, J. 1977. Suspiria  Review. At: (Accessed on 11/12/2014)

Smith, A. Suspiria  Reveiw. At: on 11/12/2014)


  1. Don't forget to italicise your quotes, Ryan. Also, if you are going to introduce philosophical theories, make sure you spell them right!! It is Todorovian narrative, not Todvorian :)


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