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Quick-Thoughts: Dario Argento’s Suspiria (1977) in 4K Restoration

2nd Viewing, Dario Argento Binge Part III of V, Screened at The Frida Cinema with @offthebright & @RaymondSkinner

Fact: Suspiria in 4K is the greatest piece of evidence that pure beauty does exist in this world. 

Given: Suspiria deserves to be a contender for the top 3 prettiest-looking movies of all-time—gotta love color.

Truth: Suspiria has the greatest opening kill of all-time. 

Lie: Goblin’s score for Suspiria is NOT the greatest horror movie musical piece ever. 

The opening proceeding to Dario Argento’s often referred to as “Giallo Masterpiece,” Suspiria, does, as I just mentioned, secure your attention like no other horror picture. The crew behind this marvelous feat in colorful set designs, grotesque special effects, and uncanny sound quirks have done something that is unparalleled to any other motion picture to come before it. Argento’s directing and framing of Suspiria reach such an attractive, tasteful magnitude that any paused moment of the frightening motion picture can make for a mighty, artistic portrait. And, as a whole, this movie is still a mostly effective slasher with possibly the greatest visual composition to be graced in a horror movie. The theatrical 4K transfer really did numbers on just how much I appreciated the aesthetic craftsmanship that is paved so diligently in this technicolor classic. 

This revisit of what used to be one of my top 10 or 15 favorite horror movies ever has given me the unfortunate opportunity of realizing how much more flawed the motion picture is than how I had initially perceived it. Candidly, the dubbing in Suspiria deducts so much tension or intimacy with not only the conversations being presented on screen but a lot of the more horrific elements that involve vocal reactions from certain characters. The voice acting here is irrationally corny and theatrical that it more or less sucks you out of the movie. Also, having been spoiled by 70s horror classics such as Black Christmas and Carrie, the characterization in Suspiria seems insanely weak in comparison, if not, non-existent to these cinematic phenomenons. Granted, not every slasher movie, of course, has to have profound characterizations, but it’s indisputable that those that do have fleshed-out characters usually end up being the stronger films at the end of the day. Last, but certainly not the least and, in fact, very much the most, is the unapologetically horrendous 5-10 minute exposition dump involving the “witch expert”—a big, well-deserved boooooo to that scene. 

Hence these complaints, Suspiria’s grade has dropped considerably due to this rewatch. Is it still an accomplishment in what it set out to do? Does it remain to be a masterclass in the art of optical presentation? Are these even real f*****g questions? Must I answer such foolishness? Duh. 

Verdict Change: A > B+ 

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“Suspiria” is now available to stream on Amazon Prime, Vudu, YouTube, and Google Play. You can now also purchase Suspiria on 4K UHD + Blu-Ray in select stores.

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