It’s been hailed as one of “the greatest horror movie(s) of all time”, and this dual format 4K restoration release of Italian director, Dario Argento’s signature classic has come to pass on nothing less than its 40th Anniversary. So if you don’t know the story by now, 2 things. No.1: Shame on thee! And No.2: I am actually just a little bit frickin’ jealous that this will be your first encounter with such a glorious gem!
Okay, so one time now for all you lucky virgins out there, Suspiria tells the tale of a dance academy in Germany that holds the darkest of secrets. And with new arrival, Suzy, a student from America, whatever evil that lurks in the shadowy halls emerges to destroy anything and anyone that gets in its way.
Before Suzy even steps onto legitimate German soil we are greeted with the picture’s hair-raising soundtrack composed by Goblin, Argento’s previous collaborators on the1975 giallo, Deep Red. Its surreal tinkering percussion is both nightmarish and dream-like at the same time. Here it is given to us as clear as church bells, iconic and a true musical masterpiece in its own merit.
The restoration itself is a thing of undeniable beauty when combined with the ever-present colour scheme of the picture’s atmospheric lighting and stunning set pieces. All these wonderful elements are probably most noticeable in the moments leading up to the demise of Suspiria’s first victim, one of horror’s supreme death scenes. Goblin reach their zentih with a frightening chorus under-scored by some punchy Rock’n’Roll guitar. Details once hidden come to light, transforming and elevating the entire experience to newer and seldom travelled realms of horror and fear.
The haunting climax of this scene, however, has changed drastically from Cult Films’ previous 2012 Cinema Classics version . The once vibrant colours have been muted, presumably to alter the shade of our victim’s streaming blood from appearing like spilt nail varnish to a more realistic red. Although I understand the reasoning behind the correction, I still find myself somehow missing the unexpected magic quality that came before.
As the movie creeps and crawls onwards to its chilling end, the new lease on life that this restoration has bestowed upon it continues to dig further under my skin as every spooky sequence ascends to newfound trepidation. Watching, I await each one with a delicious sense of wonderment and terror.
New features on this restoration release include an introduction by director Dario Argento himself; an interview with Argento to commemorate his picture’s 40th Anniversary, as well as a look into what goes into a 4K restoration. Meanwhile it maintains all of the features from the 2012 version, which include the Fear at 400 Degrees documentary and Suspiria Perspectives by Cine Excess. And last but not least, the Audio Commentary by Alan Jones and Kim Newman.