Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Movie#1 Suspiria (1977) Directed by Dario Argento

I will start the reviews off with a film I saw Saturday night at the Coolidge Corner Halloween Marathon a few days ago. The film is 'Suspiria', and it's about an american girl who goes to a German school for ballet that is run by witches. "God damn it!", you cry, "You ruined the movie by giving away secrets about the plot." Not so. There is an insane and ridiculous song by this band 'Goblin' in the opening scene that shrieks "Witch!" repeatedly. You know there are witches in this movie straight off the bat.

I would give this a 4.5 out of 10 on the fear scale. It certainly tries to scare you at parts, but Argento's heavy handed script complete with schlocky script and revelations that seem pretty obvious to anyone not suffering from closed head trauma tend to bore my pants off. The trailer still freaks me out though.


Lots of over the top death sequences here. A solid 7 reapers reaping. Those unfamiliar with Argento's work should note he is quite imaginative when it comes to offing folks. Stabbings, strangulations and death by barbed wire all feature in this film. The red, red kroovy flows in abundance.


Sadly, little here. I'm going to give it a 3, but only because of my love for Jessica Harper (of 'Phantom of the Paradise' fame) and a soft spot for Italian actresses of the 1970's. I'm truly disappointed that a director who later shoots a movie (1996's 'The Stendahl Syndrome') in which his real life daughter plays a character who is repeatedly raped (eesh, I know) doesn't even feature any gratuitous nudity in his most famous film.


Though I admit to falling asleep during parts of this movie, it does have some fun parts. A solid 5.5 on the chuckles scale. "Goblin' provides a damn entertaining atmosphere with their incredibly dated 70's super synthesized organ music. Argento is so earnest in his desire to be the Italian Hitchcock and ends up writing some bizarre stuff that turns out so terrible you have to laugh. I can't tell when he is trying to be serious, honestly. I find his theatrics endearing.


Credit where credit is due: Argento the cinematographer is really good. Surprisingly so. Argento the director, eh. Argento, the screenwriter...oh brother. So, all and all, I give it a 6.66 for Quality. The colors in this movie are all kinds of wow. He's got the angles, he's got the light. He can film a death sequence like few others.


Not going to lie. The witches in this movie were kind of lame. I give them a 3.5, better than a 'Twilight' vampire or a demon from 'Charmed', but not as good as a Ghoulie or a Boogen. They seemed fairly effective in the beginning of the film but, like me, they have a weak spot for Jessica Harper.


Over all, I liked the sum of the parts more than the whole. This was my second time watching this flick and I'd certainly watch it again. Parts are yawn worthy but musical interludes provided by Italian super-group 'Goblin" will wake you up for the fun stuff. I give it a 5 out of 10, witches brew.

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