Suspiria (1977) *


Perhaps realising that Profondo Rosso had taken him about as far as he could go with the Giallo subgenre, temporarily at least, Dario Argento pole vaulted several stages further into unreality and made his first supernatural horror film, in the form of this truly one of a kind fusion of fairy-tale and ultra-violence. The narrative is knowingly ambiguous and ill-defined, and the set pieces conform to a dreamlike anti-logic entirely of the film’s own devising, creating as true a cinematic recreation of nightmare as has ever been realised or attempted.

Boasting a unique visual style, and some of the most beautiful colour photography ever seen, the film is full of expertly conceived, painterly imagery, distinguished or marred (depending upon your taste) by the director’s now customary penchant for intensely detailed physical violence.Whatever you make of it, I would argue, it marked the beginning of the end for Argento, since it licensed him to coast purely on style, and then, when even that talent deserted him, on pure violence.
Jessica Harper makes for an extremely likeable heroine, and it's just wonderful to see Alida Valli and Joan Bennett again, seemingly enjoying themselves enormously as the witches.