Horror Series: Suspiria

Suspiria
Suspiria

Suspiria

Suspiria is an old 1977 horror film by Dario Argento, that I saw for the first time at a cast party for a one act play I was in college.  Suspiria weaves a menacing tale of witchcraft as a fairy tale gone horribly awry

 Plot: (from Wikipedia only because I haven’t seen it in a long while. And I unfortunately do not own it)

An American ballet student, Suzy Banyon , arrives from her flight in Munich, Germany on a stormy night to enroll in a prestigious dance academy (The Tans academy)  in Freiburg. After Suzy is unable to gain access into the academy, she decides to spend the night in town. Meanwhile, Pat Hingle , a former student who is expelled from the academy and seen leaving the academy in a somewhat frightened mood by Suzy, finds refuge at a friend’s apartment in town. After Pat locks herself inside of the bathroom, a mysterious arm smothers Pat against the glass and repeatedly stabs her with a large knife and then graphically disembowels her. Her friend overhears her screaming and tries to scream for help, although nobody replies. Pat is then bound with a cord before she is hung in mid-air after crashing through a large stained-glass ceiling. Her friend is killed directly below by the falling glass and metal.

Upon Suzy’s arrival at the academy the next morning, she is introduced to Madame Blanc and Miss Tanner . She is escorted to the ballet students’ locker room, where she meets Sarah and Olga, the latter with whom she has arranged to stay with off-campus. The following morning, Blanc offers Suzy a dormitory room, but she declines Blanc’s offer. After a strange encounter with the academy’s cook , Suzy seemingly struggles before fainting during a lesson. Later that night, Suzy awakens to discover that she has been moved into a dormitory room against her wishes. The doctors then tell Suzy that she is to be “medicated” with a glass of wine daily. Suzy befriends Sarah after the two are roomed together. As Suzy and the rest of the students prepare for dinner, hundreds of maggots fall from the ceiling. The students are told this was due to spoiled food boxed in the attic. The girls are then invited to sleep in the practice hall overnight. During the night, Sarah identifies a distinctive whistling snore as that of the school’s director, who is not due to return to the academy for several weeks.

The next morning, Tanner orders Daniel to leave the academy immediately after his guide dog bites Albert. Later that night, Sarah overhears the teacher’s footsteps and begins to count them whilst Suzy becomes irresistibly drowsy and falls asleep. Meanwhile, while Daniel and his guide dog cross a plaza within the city, Daniel senses a strange presence. Suddenly, his seemingly calm dog lunges at Daniel and tears his throat out, killing him. The next day, Suzy recalls the words “iris” and “secret” from Pat’s mumbling before leaving the academy. Later that night, Suzy and Sarah go for a swim while Sarah reveals to Suzy that she and Pat were close friends, and recalls that Pat had been “talking strangely for some time”. The two girls search for Pat’s notes in Sarah’s room, but they appear to have been stolen. Suzy suddenly becomes drowsy and falls asleep before Sarah flees to the attic after hearing approaching footsteps. Sarah is chased by an unseen pursuer and, thinking she will be able to escape through a window into another room, falls into a huge pile of barbed wire. Becoming entangled, she struggles in anguish until a mysterious black-gloved hand of a dark figure appears and slits her throat.

The following morning, Blanc and Tanner inform Suzy that Sarah has abruptly left the academy. Confused and suspicious, Suzy goes to meet one of Sarah’s acquaintances, a psychologist named Dr. Mandel , who explains that the academy was founded by Helena Markos, a cruel Greek émigré who was widely believed to be a witch. Dr. Mandel’s colleague, Professor Millus, then tells Suzy that a coven can only survive with their queen. Upon Suzy’s return to the academy that night, she discovers that all of the students have gone to the theater. She overhears the footsteps Sarah identified before and follows them to Blanc’s office. She suddenly recalls Pat’s mumbling after discovering irises painted all over the walls of Blanc’s office. After entering a hidden passage, she discovers Blanc, Tanner and the staff forming a ritual where they plot Suzy’s death. Unseen, Suzy then turns to find Sarah’s body nailed to a coffin. Frightened, Suzy then sneaks into another room, where she accidentally awakens a shadowy figure who reveals herself as Helena Markos. Helena then orders Sarah’s nearby corpse to rise from the dead to murder Suzy. Suzy then stabs Helena with one of the room’s decorative knives, which appears to kill her (she fades from view screaming) and Sarah’s reanimated corpse. Helena’s demise causes the building to set alight. As the academy is slowly destroyed with the coven inside, Suzy manages to escape before the entire building catches on fire.

This movie left an impression on me and introduced me to Dario Argento horror films.  The most amazing scene to me is when Sarah falls into the Barbed wire room.

This film is pretty violent and brutal and it is banned in Germany for it’s violence and graphic brutality (for which Argento is famous for)  which is ironic since it takes place in Munich, GA.

This movie is bloody, gory, and scary from start to finish.  If you haven’t seen it, rent this immediately.

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