Friday, October 28, 2011


seen online via YouTube

When Steve and I worked at the Third Avenue video store, and later on, the Avenue A store, he would often talk about horror movies, especially obscure or foreign ones. I mean, no one I've met, before or since, knows this stuff as well as he does. There was one name he kept coming back to time and again, though: Italian writer-director-producer Dario Argento. At both video stores, we were fortunate to have had some movies that he worked on, so occasionally he'd put in one of them to watch (the only one I specifically remember seeing with him is one called Demons, which Argento produced). Of course, any talk of Argento would also have to include his actress daughter Asia, who has directing experience of her own (mostly shorts).

Steve is as left of center as one can get. I couldn't even find him on Facebook at first - it took a mutual friend to tell me that he has some bizarre alias, one that would not automatically make me think of him. Actually, Steve was the one who convinced me to go on Friendster, while we were at Avenue A. Almost everyone else at work was doing it, but these were all twentysomething kids, and Steve and I were considerably older. I figured if he thought it was the fun thing to do, then why shouldn't I? Most of the time, though, his tastes are aggressively skewed towards the underground and the fringe. I'm a bit surprised he even is on Facebook.

In that sense, I can see why he would dig something like Suspiria. It's kinda trippy, looks-wise, and it's as much psychological horror as blood-spattered gore-fest. As I watched it, I kinda went in and out of the story in terms of interest. I didn't really get it in parts, and I think I might've confused one character for another. Not sure. Since it's about a ballerina, I immediately thought of Black Swan, and while I don't doubt that that movie was inspired in part by this one, the two are quite different. For instance, weird as it was, Suspiria still didn't make me want to throw things at the screen!

Apparently witches are supposed to be the big bad in this story. There's one section in the second half where our heroine (who looks like a young Karen Allen) learns all about them from "experts" on the subject, who spout all the usual stereotypes. I can't help but be a little sensitive to that, because believe it or not, I've known a few. Seriously. Of course, the accepted term for them these days is "Wiccans," but they're not that different from other people. There's one I currently know who regards it as a kind of spiritual thing, a guide for living you could say, and one I knew from college who was more New Agey about it; collecting rocks and crystals and plants and stuff like that. Neither one made a practice of using spells to zap people with, or indeed, of using them all that often. They're both big believers in karma. I admit, Wicca used to creep me out at first, but honestly, it's no stranger than most religions.

I was more impressed with the visuals in Suspiria than in the story. I liked the use of color in high contrast with the stylistic shadows in the ballet conservatory in general and the rooms in particular. Maybe I'd watch another Argento film in the future. It depends. 

Previously in Halloween Week 2011:
The Ghost of Yotsuya 
The Gorgon

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