Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Chiller Classics present: Suspiria!


Alrighty, here we are Booniacs and Buckleheads, everyones fav retro horror loving segment. Where I, Chuck Boonsweet, or my co-hort in all things bloodshed film - Ken-Ken Bucklesworth, bring light to some cult, or not so much, classic entry in the horror/thriller genre. In Sept we brought you the Chucky Retrospective, which of course brought joy to all the horror kiddies. In October Bucklesworth brough you the monster slasher - Pumpkinhead... So how 2 follow up back 2 back awesomeness... well, there's only really one option... awesomener awesomeness... Yup. I will of course probably be making up more words as we go along...

The classic horror directors of all time. Craven comes to mind (Nightmare on Elm street, Hills have eyes, Scream, and the porno that turned into a real movie - Last house on the left), Tobe Hooper (Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Eaten Alive, Lifeforce, Toolbox murders) and well... the list goes on. But what about movements on other shores that inspired all kinds of future Slasher entries? What about Gaillo? The italian sex filled, blood filled, genre that I (and a few others) could make a strong argument for creating the Slasher genre as what it is today... And perhaps the most prolific of those italian slasher/Gaillo Directors - Dario "Let the blood flow" Argentoooooooooooo!

Phenomena, Deep Red, Tenebre, and the list goes on, or well, some would argue stops shortly after those entries... the POINT is, when the man was on he was one of the greatest of all time. Perhaps more than any other filmmaker you can see his influence on modern cinema. From plot twists, to bloodletting, to camera techniques, and evolutions in soundtrack cohesion that can not be overlooked. And well, most, though perhaps not I, are firmly behind SUSPIRIA as being his masterpiece.

SUSPIRIA is a strange exception in the Horror genre. A film that is loved by the horror fan underground, as much as by the mainstream critics, and film buffs. A true representation of art meeting the most underrated (and timeless) genre of all time.

So, folks, your plot; American moves to a prestigious foreign Ballet academy. Creepiness ensues and she realizes there are sinister forces at work... possibly against her. And (shout out American Horror Story season 3) they might be witches! Dun. Dun. Dunnnnnnnnnn!

Sorry but dammit that is all the plot you need! Why are not here to tell you story shizzie, this is about awesomeness, and why this film is here in the revered - CHILLER CLASSICS! Or well, maybe the plot of this film is that easy to sum up... in... three lines. Haha... whatever, lets move on.

I thought I would take a break from my usual
awesome photo comments to simply call out the use
of colour, and angles in this amazing feature. 

From the very opening you know you are in for something special here. Perhaps his best opening (and I am saying I love PHENOMENA and DEEP RED - future Chiller Classic features? Yup). The subtlety of the music as she exits the airport. The shot of the headlights moving through the trees... this is just in a different league. In fact the opening 5 minutes of this movie showcase the mastery of the camera to which Dario awes nothing to no one. The shift in music, as our lead watches a woman run through the forest. All of this, as a horror fan should have you incredibly interested...

Why... why Dario just decided to ignore all this shit later in his career has baffled many a fan, and critic. Perhaps, it is a simple matter of he forgot, ah dammit. DRACULA 3D is creeping into my mind, ahhhhh... lets stay on track here.

Watching this film on bluray is nipple hardening. A little hard to find (Mine is a region B that forced me to buy a special player), but the good news is a North American release is coming soon. But hey for all my non NA Booniacs out there... damn it get on it! The quality of the transfer is amazing. If you are a hardened horror fan (you know such as me lol) the high def detail of all the practical death well enthral.

Ya, enthral... sue me I've been reading a lot lately...

Moving on. You can make a great argument that the american horror films of the late 70s early 80s were the nexus of creativity and chaos... but I counter that by saying, that Dario, and his Gaillo peers, where doing it in a way unlike anything made on NA shores. They were simply unafraid to go batshit crazy, and treat it like a completely award worthy feature. Does that make sense? Thats as close as I can get...

I mean this is a story about an evil ballet school full of witches, and yet, it manages to be fun, and involving throughout. Think Wes Craven could've pulled that off? I say no. I admit, I am not against debate on the topic... I expect some of you may challenge me on this. But watch the camera work of Craven vs the camera skills of Argento at his prime... two different levels of film-making. Not saying one is better than the other... but its american grind house shock vs Italian Arthouse shock.

Of course, we are talking 4 decade old italian cinema, so you can expect the writing at times to come across as a little forced or silly. And after some American success italian filmmakers were making an effort to make their films more appealing to NA audiences... sometimes thats a good thing, and ah... sometimes not so much. But occasional silliness aside... not effort to wipe the HD grin off my face.

Listen, if you are not a fan of ol skool horror... maybe this won't change your mind. But... it just may. The colours, lighting (including the awesome prism scene), directing, are extraordinary. And, heck if that last 5 minutes isn't damn near perfect. It may be a little slow at times, but in the tradition of the finest gaillo... it is a fun mystery/whodunnit/slasher lol...

Although... did I miss who the green eyed thing was? Ah maybe just a demon. No point in thinking too deep on it...

Movie scale 3.5 out of 5 stars
Classic Horror scale 4.5 out of 5 stars

How about a teaser... next months Chiller classic will be the oldest one I Chuck Boonsweet have ever done... Yup we going like 70 years back. Prepare for the first ever... black and white CHILLER CLASSIC... (and the crowd goes wild... or you know fist pumps by their PC... Booya!)

-Chuck Boonsweet.

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