As one of the most globally recognisable instances of 20th century Eurohorror, Dario Argento's Suspiria (1976) is poetic, chaotic, and intriguing. The cult reputation of Argento's baroque nightmare is reflected in the critical praise it continues to receive almost 40 years after its original release, and it appears regularly on lists of the greatest horror films ever. ForAs one of the most globally recognisable instances of 20th century Eurohorror, Dario Argento's Suspiria (1976) is poetic, chaotic, and intriguing. The cult reputation of Argento's baroque nightmare is reflected in the critical praise it continues to receive almost 40 years after its original release, and it appears regularly on lists of the greatest horror films ever. For fans and critics alike, Suspiria is as mesmerising as it is impenetrable: the impact of Argento's notorious disinterest in matters of plot and characterisation combines with Suspiria's aggressive stylistic hyperactivity to render it a movie that needs to be experienced through the body as much as through emotion or the intellect. For its many fans, Suspiria is synonymous with European horror more broadly, and Argento himself is by far the most famous of all the Italian horror directors. If there was any doubt of his status as one of the great horror auteurs, Argento's international reputation was solidified well beyond the realms of cult fandom in the 1990s with retrospectives at both the American Museum of the Moving Image and the British Film Institute. This book considers the complex ways that Argento weaves together light, sound and cinema history to construct one of the most breathtaking horror movies of all time, a film as fascinating as it is ultimately unfathomable....
|Number of Pages||:||120 Pages|
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This is a rare foray for me into published film criticism about one particular film (outside of sundry Criterion/Arrow Video essay booklets), and I'm a bit mixed about the results. While I love the idea of a 33 1/3-style series for film (the Deep Focus run was short-lived but quite good), this particular entry in the conceptually-appealing Devil's Advocates series feels like it leaves a lot on the table. It's a decent summary of critical and intellectual interpretations of both this film and the success this film found, but I'm left wishing there was simply more here to chew on. The highlight is the interview with Suspiria's cinematographer, Luciano Tovoli, which concludes the book. He offers insights and far-ranging asides that are at least as interesting as anything else discussed throughout. Worth a gander if you're passionate about the film, but I imagine this won't make too many new converts.
Though I don't consider myself anything other than a fan of Argento (certainly not a deeply read scholar), this managed to have a lot of new information for me and insights which I myself hadn't quite considered, both from Alexandra and from those whose works she quotes.I found the most valuable parts of the book the career lead up to Suspiria and the assembling of the team that makes the film and then the aftermath. A lot of the book is plot synopsis along with various tidbits of information scattered in it.there is a very good interview at the end of the book with Luciano Tovoli which provides additional insight.The printing of this book is bad though, the images extremely pixelated and muddy. I wish I had read it digitally or that the images weren't in the book at all.I'd suggest this to someone who doesn't consider themselves very well read on Suspiria already.
Not quite as engaging as Murray Leeder's analysis of Halloween (another entry in the same series, the Devil's Advocates), but understandably so due to the subject matter. Suspiria is weird, man. But Heller-Nicholas breaks it down well. While there is the occasional "reading too much into it" moment and summarizing the narrative, it does succeed in bringing to attention the whole "senses over logic" perspective necessary to actually enjoy the movie. Brings to light some cool information about Italian horror and Suspiria's impact on the horror landscape. Some excellent points made about Dario Argento's inconsistent and incomprehensible gender politics as well.
Basically one of those books that over-analyzes films, in this case the frightening and well-made Suspiria.