In January of 2019, I started keeping a spreadsheet to track the movies I watch. I assign a rating from 0 to 10 (with 5 being the average, or expected value) and write a little snippet with some quick opinions on the film in question. Here, I’ll post a few of those snippets at a time for your enjoyment.
Blood and Black Lace (1964)
The movie that invented the Giallo genre, black gloves and all. It also influenced every notable filmmaker (especially the Italian ones) for 50 years. Off-the-charts amazing photography and production design. Bava’s use of primary colors was way ahead of its time. What would Suspiria (1977) look like without Blood and Black Lace? Probably alot more like Suspiria (2018). Watch this movie however you can (it’s on Amazon Prime if you don’t want to buy the Blu Ray), but be prepared for a sub-optimal experience because a good transfer doesn't exist yet in the digital era. This movie is ready for a restoration.
Cameron Mitchell costars, which is hilarious.
Critics and bloggers are always referring to this movie with some variation on the phrase "candy-colored nightmare", which is understandable since it’s just about the most apt description of Suspiria that I can think of. Argento's best movie (or is that Deep Red?) stars Jessica Harper in a role that she passed up the title role in Annie Hall for. Pretty crazy, right? Just chew on that for a second. Anyhow, the murder scene that opens this film up is one of the most over-the-top, brutal things ever committed to celluloid and sets the tone for the best Italian horror flick of the late 70's. This film is an atmospheric horror classic that drips with style (which makes up for the fairly thin story) and it must be seen by all genre afficianados. The "remake" from 2018 is also very good but very different to the point that it's almost unrelated. Trivia: Suspiria is the last film to be shot on Technicolor.
This isn’t a remake at all, more like a retooling. It hits some of the same beats as the 1977 classic and keeps the same setting, but the story is much more thoroughly fleshed out and Suzie’s role is very different. Additionally, Argento’s flashy primary colors have been traded for muted earthy tones and the rock score is replaced with something more moody and traditional.
None of this is bad in the least, in fact it’s an altogether better film than the original. Is it as memorable? Will it become a classic in the same way Argento’s movie did? The answer to both of those questions is no. What I can say is that there’s nothing else quite like it. Maybe it’s the first art house occult horror movie? Either way, it’s a great film.