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Traumafessions :: Filmmaker Chris Moore On Suspiria

December 6th, 2011 by unkle lancifer · 8 Comments

SUSPIRIA came to me a little later in life, around 9 or 10 years old, but it left me with the same lingering fear that (my previous traumafession) did. I discovered it in an issue of ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY‘s 50 (or was it 100?) scariest movies of all time. It sounded interesting and had a black & white picture of STEFANIE CASINI tangled in barbed wire, which, at the time, I thought was simply a woman hiding in some very tall grass.

I rented the VHS from my local video store after school on Friday and popped it in. After the first 15 minutes, I had to turn it off. I was scared out of my mind. It was just so brutal…and yet beautiful and surreal…and confusing. It felt like every nightmare I had ever had. At that point, I became a DARIO ARGENTO fan for life. For the first time, I had seen an expression of my nightmares on film. It was phenomenal and truly scary.

As a kid, I had many nightmares similar to SUSPIRIA. I know many people say we dream in black & white, but I don’t believe that at all…not after seeing SUSPIRIA. My dreams consisted of similar color schemes, velvet curtains, long corridors, evil witches, strange music, people acting odd, things not making sense…everything SUSPIRIA had to offer. Actually, I even remember having a dream that looked and felt almost exactly like the ARGENTO produced, DEMONS! It took place in an old theatre and everything, but I was only 3 or 4 years old when I had this dream. Spooky, eh?

It’s probably one of the main reasons why I wanted to become a filmmaker. If audiences have embraced DARIO ARGENTO‘s nightmares, maybe they’ll embrace mine!

UNK SEZ: Thanks CHRIS! I could not agree with you more about the power of SUSPIRIA! Folks, CHRIS‘ movie PERVERSION is now available to watch anytime you like on Amazon Instant Video HERE! Check it out!

Tags: Special Guest Stars · Traumafessions

8 responses so far ↓

  • 1 FatherOfTearsNo Gravatar // Dec 6, 2011 at 6:50 pm

    Interesting. Introduced by a black and white add in a magazine.! Most of us GenX-ers in our late 30’s to mid 40’s were mainly introduced to “Suspiria” via this infamous TV trailer back in the Summer of 1977:

    Scared then 10 year old me so bad I wound up running out of the room each time it came on TV! To add insult to injury my then 7 year old sister ran INTO the room to watch it!

    Now decades later I would see this first as a VHS rental. That murder at the beginning was bone jarring indeed! The scene with the seeing eye dog didn’t work for me though. The “dog” looked like the one Jamie Foxx used in those “In Living Color” skits. The dialogue seemed a bit childish at times too. Later on I read that the film was going to star children but that was changed as having pre-teen girls murdered would have been too much…….That would be revisited in 1984 in “Phenomena” AKA “Creepers”. Argento did keep the original script though. In fact, some of this film was influenced by “Snow White”. Jessica Harper (Suzy) was cast with her fair skin and dark hair in mind plus the scene with the doomed Pat running in the forest was taken from “Snow White”.

    Speaking of color: RED! As this was filmed in the old Technicolor process colors, especially reds were vivid and saturated. Blues were gloomy and they were great for that barbed wire scene. That scene, incidentally, influenced the makers of the “Saw” movies in regards to a few of Jigsaw’s traps.

    I’ll admit I was a bit disappointed on that first viewing. That sometimes childish dialogue and the fact that “Skull Lady” wasn’t in the movie! A typical 70’s add gimmick! The soundtrack was a bit repetitive to me as well.

    Now flash forward to the 2000’s where I now have a DVD player and a halfway decent stereo set up. “Suspiria” looks and sounds better plus with repeated viewings I can see and feel Suzy’s peril throughout the film.

    I’ve even watched that trailer in the DVD extras. Looks like a skull on a mannequin covered in a pink wool turtleneck!

  • 2 Chris MooreNo Gravatar // Dec 6, 2011 at 7:01 pm

    I’ll never forget my first viewing. It was truly a one of a kind experience. Like I said, it was like my nightmares came to life on film. I still feel the same way. The film doesn’t always make sense the way most dreams don’t make sense. The odd dialogue, the plot progression, the imagery, everything…it all contributes to the nightmare feel.

  • 3 Ben SherNo Gravatar // Dec 6, 2011 at 9:50 pm

    My first experience with SUSPIRIA was kind of kinder-trauma-ish, too. It was on Cinemax late one night in the early ’90s, before the internet, and I knew *nothing* about it. The summary in TV guide said “A girl goes to a dance academy run by witches,” and I assumed that it’d be the typical cheesy late night Cinemax fare (i.e. SORORITY HOUSE MASSACRE 2). BOY was I surprised. I kept getting scared and changing the channel, but then turning back because I COULDN’T LOOK AWAY! It was wonderful.

  • 4 unkle lanciferNo Gravatar // Dec 6, 2011 at 10:41 pm

    I was introduced to Argento by a friend of mine in the mid/late eighties. He had “Inferno”, “Creepers” and the doc “Dario Argento’s World of Horror” on bootleg tapes. All full screen. A couple of years later (89 or 90) Suspiria was finally released on VHS in the U.S and it was a big deal to me. TLA in Philly was the only place that had it and I believe you had to put down a full 100$ deposit to rent that tape because they didn’t want anybody to steal it. Watching Suspiria’s opening scene for the first time was kinda like being hit by a tidal wave of full on horror but it’s so incredibly beautiful too. I absolutely agree with Chris’s assessment that Suspiria operates like a dream/nightmare. I think there are so many people who judge movies only by how much they resemble reality or are “believable” and I feel sorry for them. Suspiria and Argento made it pretty clear to me that there were bigger things to experience when you let go of trying to rationalize and label everything you see. Then again, I also believe that there is authentic black magic in this movie!

  • 5 Chris MooreNo Gravatar // Dec 7, 2011 at 2:21 am

    Just as Billy Graham said that the devil was in the celluloid of The Exorcist, I believe there has to be black magic in the negative of Suspiria. There’s something impossible to explain hidden within that film. I’ve never been able to put my finger on it. It’s the closest thing to a real nightmare that I’ve ever experienced on film, next to some of David Lynch’s films, as well as some of Argento’s other works. Even Mario Bava’s films, while equally strange and stylized, tend to have somewhat of a more “realistic” tone and screenplay to balance it out. Argento simply doesn’t seem to care about any sort of realism and I love that. All of his films operate like fairy tales or urban legends. To a child, they seem perfectly understandable and logical, but as adults we discover that they are riddled with plot holes and odd character turns that really come out of left field. There’s something so childlike and simplistic about his films that I love. I’d love to see him take on a classic fairy tale like Hansel and Gretel and really go for broke.

  • 6 Ben SherNo Gravatar // Dec 7, 2011 at 7:24 pm

    “To a child, they seem perfectly understandable and logical, but as adults we discover that they are riddled with plot holes and odd character turns that really come out of left field.”

    Chris, that is *so true*! I always felt the same way about EXORCIST II: THE HERETIC. When I first saw it on TV when I was young, it made *perfect* sense to me. I wish I had that understanding now! (I still love it.)

  • 7 ApocalypsejunkieNo Gravatar // Dec 8, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    There’s a very good reason that you felt there was really black magic going on in the film. Daria Nicolodi, the writer of Suspiria and Argento’s wife at the time, based it on a story her grandmother told her about attending a boarding school that practiced witchcraft and black magic in secret. She never gives the full details of that anecdote, demmit.

  • 8 smidget28No Gravatar // Dec 11, 2011 at 9:27 am

    I never saw the movie until about 5 years ago as an adult. But why did I shudder my whole life at the name of the movie? THAT DAMN COMMERCIAL, that’s why! UGH! It scared the LIFE out of me…I used to hide my face whenever it came on… terrifying as a kid!

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