Art and violence seem to go hand in hand. Sir Francis Bacon, Caravaggio, Hieronymus Bosch, and countless other artists have tried to capture the beauty of atrocity in their work. One artist that simply cannot be excluded from this list is the Italian Filmmaker Dario Argento.
Argento was a key figure in the Italian ‘Giallo’ genre of horror cinema. The most famous Argento work would be the 1977 gorefest, Suspiria. The plot is simple and almost forgettable. A young dance student, Suzy Bannion (played by the gorgeous Jessica Harper), travels to Germany to study at some illustrious academy. Little does she know, the academy is home to a vicious coven of witches, and a bizarre and sadistic murderer.
The plot is ludicrous and the acting is kabuki like in its melodrama, but are easily balanced out by the film itself. Every scene is a painting in disguise. Colors splash and bleed in ways one could never imagine. Puddles, buildings, blood, and corpses all receive the same loving care and artistic attention.
The dance school is in its own way the perfect setting. The architecture is breathtaking and the girls who inhabit are even more so. The film taunts and teases your eyes, pitting humanity against artistry. Dario Argento is the very definition of an artist. He turns the simple act of recording movement and dialogue into a deluge of unforgettable images and sounds.
An Argento film is not just 90 minutes of popcorn and entertainment, instead it’s a journey to a new realm filled with dreams…and nightmares come to beautiful vibrant life.