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'Suspiria 1977' She's a Witch! She's a Witch? 07/12/2015

Fig 1: Supiria Poster
This film review will focus on how the world is shown to us as a colourful environment with meaning and not just another pretty set. The film was directed by Dario Argento and the music was composed by 'Goblin' (Music Band). Suspiria is know for its very ineresting art direction and design, although the acting and whole plot was not overly interesting it is the set design that really gives this movie its teeth and lets it stand on its own. "Suspiria" may not always make perfect sense plot wise, but it's a thrilling roller-coaster ride through what may very well be Hell. "Suspiria" ranks as one of the best Italian-made horror films of all time." (phillindholm)

Fig 2: Taxi Scene
When the film first starts we can see a number of random events happen, people dying, chaos and general fear being spread. Suzy Bannion (Jessica Harper) is a young girl from New York who has travelled far to fulfil her dream, the journey in the taxi scene is very distinct from the rest of the film because it is only one of three scenes in the entire film that takes place outside of the mansion. However even though she is not at the mansion yet the taxi cab scene appears to be very dangerous, its almost like a bad drugs trip, flashing lights everywhere, a very low understanding of what is going on around you and every second being very intense, not knowing what might happen next. Its almost as if something is trying to keep her away from the mansion, an other worldly force, however the only other worldly force is the power are the witches in the film, but the witches have not even met Suzy in the film? They may of known when her arrival would have been and attempted to delay her because they were already killing someone, or this scene could be foreshadowing what is going to happen in the film, there is no clear explanation.

Fig 3: Mansion Floor
The set design in the film is where is really pulls its best together, having the lighting in certain colours, the patterns on the walls and floor, the layout of the mansion, even the windows and doors are made in a way that reflects the mood of the scene taking place in the film. A good example is this scene (Fig 3) this is the scene where a girl is being murdered, the colours Red, Black and White are the most prominent in this scene the Red symbolises pain, white symbolises uncertainty and black symbolises death. Also notice how the room is symmetrical, these witches have a system in order to kill their prey, the way the room is designed shows that almost like a cage. The floor pattern is also somewhat similar to that of a sacrificial alter, when all of these fact are put together you have a room that symbolises a cage of death which cannot be escaped. "But Argento’s work was defiantly of its time. The music throbbed progressively. The colours were those of post-glam platform-shoe nausea." (C Donald. 2013) The witches in the film have the power to alter future events into their favour, they also gain power via sacrifice. In order to keep this power going constantly they need some sort of system, much like what you would see with a business, they have a plan and they repeat it until they reach their goal/profit, in this case the witches profit is infinite power.

Fig 4: Blind Man Death Scene
Another example is the scene where the blind man is murdered, now because the area is so open that you would expect the thing that makes the dog bark would be very easy to spot, we expect this monster t come running out from the shadows at any given time, but instead we are given this unexpected role reversal where the dog kills the man, leaving everyone with a question of "What the hell just happened?" It is an interesting twist, one which would not be expected from first time viewers, but its the way the environment is set up which is done masterfully. Having a wide open space means that we would be able to see the attacker coming from any direction, he may be blind but his audience isn't. What is also strikingly well done is the way this scene is filmed, it is a birds eye view, meaning we have a view of everything around the blind man, not only that but the camera takes up close to a majority of the structures, showing us that there is nothing hiding in the shadows. But the most noticeable addition to this scene is the amount of time we have to wait, its like a hunter stalking its prey, creating build-up towards this encounter and when we are ready for this final confrontation the dog kills its owner. By the end of the film this scene makes perfect sense, but the way that one shot is filmed shows the extent of the witches powers and what they can really do without us even realising.

Fig 5: Mansion
The music that was done for the film really complimented the film too, what the movie lacks in story and depth, it makes up for that with its atmosphere. What is really interesting about the film is the effort gone to to make the environments immerse you as much as possible, the  music is an example of this. Even though it is the same few tunes that are played over, and over, and over again it still is able to capture that essence of mystery and fear at the same time. The screeches, the piano and the furious mash of sounds which makes your brain go nuts, it adds to the scenes so well it is ridiculous. The music also once again represents the witches powers, the sound giving off this magical feeling, yet at the same time this unimaginable fer factor that will paralyse a human' if they were exposed to it, but something 'supernatural' would be just fine."The off-kilter beats add to the feeling that you’re watching a film that is capable of unleashing something very bad and bloody at any moment." (W Matt. 2013)


Clarke, D. (2013) 
50 years, 50 films: Suspiria (1977) | Screenwriter. 
(Accessed on 6.12.15)

Philindholm (2005)
Suspiria reviews & ratings.[online]
(Accessed on 6.12.15)

Wedge, M. (2013)

From the Parallax review vaults: Suspiria (1977). 
(Accessed on 6.12.15)

Image Biblography


  1. Interesting read Tom :)
    Just make sure you proofread, as you have a few typos in there... also, you only need theauthor's surname and the year after the quote, not the initial too.


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