Suspiria by Dario Argento: the most stylish horror movie to watch this Halloween

Demonic voices hiss at us dangerously as Susie walks towards the exit gates of the airport. As soon as she leaves the safe space, she enters the wind, thunderstorm and torrential rain. The voices eclipse her conversation with the taxi driver. Green and red lights twinkle on her face. The final destination is a ballet school; a building painted in red and gold, resembling a temple from the Far East rather than a German institution. A panicked young woman stands at the door. She seems to have lost her mind and screaming something in the night before frantically running away. They won’t let Susie in and force her to stay somewhere else. She’s not supposed to be near this town, let alone enter this ballet school. The same night, a spectacular killing occurs. A virgin figure in a white nightgown, covered in blood as red as the walls around it, ends up hanging from the ceiling after a graphic stabbing close-up. And that’s just the beginning.

Suspiria is a show from start to finish. A celebration of femininity, beauty, art and sound, enveloped in bloody splashes here and there, as we bask in its colorful glory, deafened by blood-curdling screams. Argento has created a horror extravaganza that doesn’t lack suspense despite its stylized visuals. The robotic play and dubbed vocals may seem off-putting at first, but that only adds to its contrived character, alerting the viewer even more that something strange is happening. Throughout the movie, we don’t know what we’re afraid of, fighting, or running from.

Dominant emotionality and erratic behavior are intensified by the dubbed voices. At first it may seem a little off-putting, but it only adds to its mysticism and merges with the behavior of the girls.

The rooms feature an eclectic mix of furniture and murals. The interior design is a mix of Art Deco and Art Nouveau, adorned with Mondrian style mirror frames, everything is lit in saturated blues and reds. The girls’ personal spaces are bathed in blue light, which can be seen as a symbol of temporary serenity before the reds take over, drawing them out of their safety into danger. Outside, there is no such structure and the colors are swapped, making the girls believe that blue is only safe for them to fall into a death trap. The entire production design is designed to emphasize the primary colors, especially the red without any other tints, making it more cartoonish, and so that adds to the nightmarish qualities of the film. If you are a fan of David Lachapelle photography, you will love Suspirie.

Hair and makeup seem to be the one constant that helps determine when the movie takes place. However, the costumes differ from feminine 70s dresses to glittery 20s accessories such as sparkling shoes and scarves, alongside surprisingly conservative yet colorful swimwear and black ballet outfits.

Trendy shine is just as much a leitmotif as its splash genre. Ahead of its time, Suspiria is one of the most striking and shocking horror movies because it is a feast for the eyes and the ears. Even if you manage to forget the flowing blood, the colors or the overall design, the haunting soundtrack will continue to ring in your ears after you step out of the theater.


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