Suspiria- Dario Argento – I don’t know if I was in the wrong mood…not sure what the certifiably ‘right’ mood for Italian psychedelic Giallo is, but still…I felt disappointed. An alleged cult classic, I was hoping for moments of disturbing horror, undercurrents of surrealism and an unashamedly good time. Alas, twas not to be. I understand that half of its appeal is probably in its technical incompetence and general lo-fi aesthetics, but sometimes those oh so cool traits become a yawning list of hipster synonyms…usually amounting to one translation: predominantly shit. That was a sweeping and unfair statement, as I am a fan of dodgy, home crafted and Lo-Fi music, film…and various other mediums that can be lovingly rendered with slap-dash enthusiasm. However, when acting is terrible and the plot becomes arbitrary, which is then added to a dispiriting dearth of any horror (be it slapstick, endearing, disturbing, gory or otherwise) then what…what am I watching for!
The soundtrack is fun, all jazz Krautrock noodlings and theatrical black metal whispering – supplemented with a dam good eerie theme – however in its mixing with the film it becomes intrusive and clumsy. What many have dubbed as revelatory lighting (bringing about a supposedly unhinged projection of the inner torment etc) seems instead a Saturday Night Fever palette of primary colours, used with awkward and brash abandon. The ‘dance academy’ setting of the film becomes an almost irrelevant or incidental detail, leading one to think: why didn’t the director commit to laziness and just have it in the haunted house and be done with it! I know this is most probably an uncompromisingly opinionated view, as so many declare Argento to be an inspiring/interesting figure – maybe I should revisit it. For all its baroque sets and lavish design, I found little of real satisfaction in this film. Disco lights, wide eyes and a crushing inability to maintain tension or handle a camera... not dynamite attributes. But then, maybe I’m missing the point of this trashy gem? Which, I concede, I found devoid of ‘gem’. 3/10