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Review: Suspiria

Decided to get into the spirit of the Halloween season with a midnight screening of Suspiria, courtesy of Sunshine Cinema.

Despite its near universal acclaim, I wouldn’t call this cult horror classic particularly scary. It is, however, relentlessly violent. And I’m not just talking about the gleefully gory, borderline mean-spirited murders; Dario Argento’s surreal, impressionistic directorial style makes every moment a brutal assault on the viewer’s senses. The production design evokes equal parts Escher and Picasso, replete with walls that ooze kaleidoscopic patterns and hallways that twist into disorienting geometries; fiery red, frigid blue, and sickly green lights radiate from seemingly nonexistent sources, bathing the screen in blinding hues; and the demented score by prog rock band Goblin constantly threatens to drown out the dialogue and ambient sound. The result of this deranged witch’s brew can only be described as a celluloid nightmare—haunting, hypnotic, and absolutely captivating.

I’ve been meaning to see Suspiria for quite a while. Fortunately, I was able to experience my first intoxicating taste of its insanity under ideal conditions: in a packed theater, with the volume cranked all the way up, well into the wee hours of the morning.

[Originally written October 21, 2017.]

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