SUSPIRIA (1977) Reviews of Dario Argento classic

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Suspiria title

Suspiria is a 1977 Italian supernatural horror feature film directed by Dario Argento from a screenplay co-written with Daria Nicolodi. It stars Jessica Harper, Stefania Casini, Flavio Bucci, Miguel Bosé and Udo Kier.

Suspiria is the first of the trilogy Dario Argento refers to as “The Three Mothers“, followed by Inferno and The Mother of Tears.

The film has become one of Argento’s most successful feature films, receiving critical acclaim for its visual and stylistic performance, outstanding colours, and soundtrack score by progressive rock band Goblin.

It was also one of the final feature films to be shot in was shot using EastmanColor film and processed using the so-called “Technicolor Dye Transfer” technique in the Italian company’s processing plant before it was closed.

American student Suzy (Jessica Harper) travels to Germany to attend ballet school. When she arrives, late on a stormy night, no one lets her in, and she sees Pat (Eva Axén), another student, fleeing from the school. When Pat reaches her apartment, she is murdered.

The next day, Suzy is admitted to her new school but has a difficult time settling in. She hears noises and often feels ill. As more people die, Suzy uncovers the terrifying secret history of the place…


” …does have its slender charms, though they will most assuredly be lost on viewers who are squeamish. The plot, as transparent as the pane of glass that slices up the movie’s first victim, is intentionally ridiculous, and Mr. Argento’s direction has the mocking, stylized simplicity of a comic strip.” Janet Maslin, The New York Times, August 13, 1977

“It’s difficult to give a flavour of its unique, surreal, hyper-intense mood by simply describing it. It’s not all that helpful to outline the plot, since there’s very little of it, and what there is doesn’t make much sense.” Empire

Suspiria may be Argento’s silliest work, but while its plot is scarcely sensible, the film rightfully earns its notoriety via Argento’s fabulous and detailed engagement and reworking of fairy-tale motifs. The film’s opening “once upon a time” giddily anticipates the nasty folktale that follows.” Slant magazine

” …the storyline is seriously under-baked and derivative … Jessica Harper, Stefania Casini, Alida Valli are all wonderful, the images continually provoke a tantalizing atmosphere of sinister magic, and the dialogue has an acerbic wit not commonly found in Argento’s work…” Pause. Rewind. Obsess.

Suspiria remains a high point in horror cinema, a feverish nightmare perfectly captured on film. Umbrella’s Blu-ray release is a good one, presenting the film in great shape, with a few audio options and an excellent selection of extra features.” Rock! Shock! Pop!


“Plot coherence is flimsy at best, and realistic motivations for some of the excesses are hard to find. To my taste, Argento is also overly dependent on loud sound effects and music to make the visuals more upsetting. The acting varies from understated realism, despite often ludicrous dialogue, to a crazed Teutonic caricature. That said, Argento can create striking images…” Mike Mayo, The Horror Show Guide


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“From stormy start to fiery finish, it’s a stylish, compelling, phantasmagoric movie” The Observer

“An eye-popping maelstrom of visual excess” SFX Magazine


Blu-ray release:

Dario Argento’s original 1977 Suspiria was released by Synapse Films as a 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray combo on November 19th, 2019. New artwork by Wes Benscoter is featured on the cover with a choice of the original artwork on the other side.

Synapse Film’s 4K restoration of the uncut Italian 35mm camera negative, which was supervised by director of photography Luciano Tovoli, is presented in 2160p with a high dynamic range. Optional English subtitles are available.

The audio selection includes a new Dolby Atmos audio remix, plus an Italian 5.1 Surround mix and the original 4.0 1977 English language LCRS sound mix.

The accompanying Blu-ray disc has the following special features:

Two audio commentaries by authors and Argento scholars Derek Botelho, David Del Valle, and Troy Howarth
A Sigh from the Depths: 40 Years of Suspiria – New retrospective on the making of the film and its influence on cinema
Do You Know Anything About Witches? – 30-minute Suspiria visual essay by Michael Mackenzie
Suzy in Nazi Germany – Featurette on the German filming locations
Olga’s Story – Interview with actress Barbara Magnolfi
Original theatrical trailers, TV spots and radio spots
“International Classics” English opening credit sequence from U.S. release version
Alternate all-English opening and closing credits sequences, playable via seamless branching


“CultFilms is proud to terrify audiences once again with the dazzling 4K restoration of Dario Argento’s groundbreaking horror masterpiece.

Now finally presented for the first time ever according to the director’s original vision: the 4K scan was restored painstakingly by the applauded TLE Films (who did the Clint Eastwood Dollar Trilogy among others) with that crucially distinct colour palette reinstated in accordance with Argento’s original specification.

  • New Extra: long interview of Dario Argento discussing his Suspiria
  • New Extra: Exclusive Dario Argento Introduction of this new 4k restoration
  • Audio Commentary by critics Kim Newman and Alan Jones
  • Fear at 400 Degrees: interview with Argento and Claudio Simonetti
  • Interview with Claudio Simonetti, British horror director Norman J. Warren and Patricia McComack (Blu-ray only)
  • New Extra: The 4K Restoration Process”

Buy Blu-ray:

US company Synapse’s long-awaited 40th-anniversary SteelBook release of Suspiria is now available. Limited to 6,000 units, the three-disc set features the film on its own Blu-ray, extras on another, and a CD featuring a remaster of Goblin’s iconic score.

The centrepiece is the 4K restoration of the original uncut 35mm camera negative, with colour correction supervised by director of photography Luciano Tovoli. It features the 4.0 English language LCRS sound mix, along with the Italian 5.1 surround sound mix. Newly-translated English subtitles for are also included.

Buy 4K Blu-ray Steelbook or 2-disc Special Edition:

  • Limited edition of only 6,000 units produced
  • Exclusive Steelbook packaging and collector’s o-card sleeve, featuring artwork from Malleus, Van Orton Design, Juan José Saldarriaga & Chris MacGibbon
  • Three disc [Two Blu-rays + One CD] limited collector’s edition (only 6000 units) containing a new 4K restoration of the original uncut, uncensored Italian 35mm camera negative exclusively done by Synapse Films, with color correction supervised and approved by Suspiria Director of Photography, Luciano Tovoli
  • Original 4.0 1977 English language LCRS sound mix not heard since the theatrical release in 1977, presented in high-resolution DTS-HD MA 96 Khz/24-bit audio
  • Italian 5.1 surround sound mix
  • Two audio commentaries by authors and Argento scholars, Derek Botelho, David Del Valle & Troy Howarth
  • Do You Know Anything About Witches? – 30 minute Suspiria A visual essay written, edited and narrated by Michael Mackenzie
  • Suzy in Nazi Germany – Featurette on the German locations from Suspiria
  • A Sigh from the Depths: 40 Years of Suspiria – All-new anniversary retrospective on the making of the film and its influence on cinema
  • Olga’s Story – Interview with star Barbara Magnolfi
  • Original theatrical trailers, TV spots and radio spots
  • Special Collector Edition Booklet containing an American Cinematographer interview with Luciano Tovoli, liner notes by Derek Botelho and restoration notes by Vincent Pereira & Don May, Jr. Cover artwork by Matthew Therrien Illustration
  • “International Classics” English “Breathing Letters” opening credit sequence from U.S. release version
  • Alternate All-English opening and closing credits sequences, playable via seamless branching
  • Newly translated, removable English SDH subtitles for the English language version
  • Newly translated, removable English subtitles for the Italian language version
  • Exclusive CD remaster of Goblin’s Suspiria motion picture soundtrack, containing additional tracks not included on the original 1977 soundtrack release

Animated title gif courtesy of Monster Serial

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