My "Suspiria" Essay (Very mild spoilers)

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by John Randolph, Oct 8, 2002.

  1. John Randolph

    John Randolph Stunt Coordinator

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    My essay on Suspiria (Very mild spoilers)
    This is my first review/essay that I've ever written so I need your honest opinions. If it sucks, tell me it sucks, and if it's good, tell me that too.

    "Suspiria" (1977). Directed by Dario Argento

    Dario Argento’s “Suspiria” is an incredibly haunting, yet mesmerizing film. It is one of the true classics of the horror genre, because it is terrifyingly intelligent, without being ridiculous and over the top.

    Suspiria starts with Suzy Banyon arriving in Europe at a famous ballet academy. She is not on their list, however, and is told to leave. Meanwhile, a murder occurs at the academy, which Argento shows with precision direction. The murder is incredibly graphic, but demonstrates how Argento can use his skills to impress and frighten the audience.

    One of the most interesting aspects of the film is how Dario uses foreshadowing to generate more terror in the film. The scene where the directress is snoring clearly shows this, because the sound of her snoring and the reaction of the characters builds up a great amount of tension. The audience feels a great sense of dread and knows that something terrible is going to happen.

    The cinematography is wonderful, and is still has some of the best uses of color in film history. The scene where all the characters have to sleep downstairs together is the most memorable, with the fabulous red lighting found throughout the room. All of the murder sequences feature a rush of brilliant red, yellow, and blue colors, which were produced by using Technicolor.

    The film’s soundtrack, recorded by Goblin, is another great addition to the film. The music adds to the impact in the frightening scenes, and might be the best horror movie soundtrack ever made. The raspy voices in the movie’s main theme fit the mood of the movie perfectly.

    “Suspiria” is extremely scary, and never lowers to the level of comedic blood and gore. The film’s colors, mood, and music are still remembered today, and the film will go down in history as one of the great horror movies.

    © John Randolph, 2002.
     
  2. Dome Vongvises

    Dome Vongvises Lead Actor

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    Since you said it was your first, it's a pretty good start.
    [​IMG]
    You're off to a good start. You make claims and back them up with sufficient detail.
    [​IMG]
    Nothing big here. You've got some grammatical errors here and there. Certain phrases probably need more elaboration, such as
     
  3. John Randolph

    John Randolph Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for your opinion...I'll try to improve on those points in my next review.
     
  4. Jason_Els

    Jason_Els Screenwriter

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    Hi John,
    I'm very glad you chose Suspiria for an essay subject; I really like it too. You've certainly picked-up on some major elements of why Suspiria is so highly regarded among film fans. Noting the use of foreshadowing, score, and color pinpoint Argento's skill in eliciting shock and fear from the viewer.
    I agree with Dome, run it through the grammar checker. Every writer does (even some you might think wouldn't have to [​IMG] ).
    With critical essays it's important to make a point then illustrate it with examples reinforcing your point. If there's an overall theme to your essay try to prove it through the use of those examples. You're definitely on the right track with the composition but go into more detail. Describe the scene with the snoring headmistress and how the quality of the backlighting on the sheets makes her look like a body in a morgue. Describe why the students might fear her and how the deep, raspy, almost animal sound of her snoring sounds frighteningly unnatural coming from a woman of her apparent age and health.
    You should also try to compare Argento's work to some other well-known horror directors and note how is his unique and why you think it is one of the great horror films of all time. Some horror films, like Return of the Living Dead are campy, some appear on the surface to be dramas with elements of horror thrown in, like The Birds; still others are Gothic in quality as is Laura. Does Argento's vision fit in with any of these? Is what he did representative of his contemporaries or was he a pioneer?
    In another example you note that Goblin's score fits the mood of the film perfectly and I agree with you that it does. Try to explain what the mood of the film is. Like the films mentioned above, tell someone who hasn't seen the movie how a rock band's score enhances the mood. Taking place in a ballet school, one might think that classical music might be more appropriate.
    One of the finest scenes in all of horror filmdom is the scene with the man and dog in the open plaza at night. Argento's camera work and editing, shot for shot, is brilliant. Don't miss an opportunity to diagram or at least mention it. Believe it or not that scene owes a debt to Louis' confrontation with Rick at the end of Casablanca. Maybe compare the two and how that particular process in both movies is used to different effect.
    These are just some ideas and again, I'm very glad you're pushing the envelope with Suspiria. Hope I've been of some help [​IMG]. Good luck!
     
  5. John Randolph

    John Randolph Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks Jason! That was a huge help.
     
  6. Rich Romero

    Rich Romero Supporting Actor

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    Hey John, didn't you just buy Suspiria like a week ago? I'm glad you liked it so much. So many people are let down by all the hype people give it around here. It's a good essay, and I agree with mostly all of it, although I prefer the sequel Inferno.
     
  7. Dome Vongvises

    Dome Vongvises Lead Actor

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    Don't forget to show the revised draft!!! [​IMG]
     
  8. Jonathan Perregaux

    Jonathan Perregaux Screenwriter

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    Real Name:
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    Here's my Suspiria review:
    "Wow!"
    ©2002 All Rights Reserved.
     
  9. John Randolph

    John Randolph Stunt Coordinator

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  10. Damin J Toell

    Damin J Toell Producer

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  11. Herm C

    Herm C Stunt Coordinator

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    Tenebrae, Phenomena, and of course Deep Red are all outstanding and vintage Argento.
     
  12. Herm C

    Herm C Stunt Coordinator

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  13. Dome Vongvises

    Dome Vongvises Lead Actor

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    John Randolph said:
     
  14. Andy Sheets

    Andy Sheets Cinematographer

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  15. Rich Romero

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    I agree!

    Also, John, your pretty much safe buying anything that Dario made from 1975-1987. Look at his filmography for a better guide. The Stendhal Syndrome is good, but it's a bad DVD. The Bird with the Crystal Plumage has a nice dvd, but Anchor Bay will supposedly release a better one.
     
  16. Mark Palermo

    Mark Palermo Second Unit

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    Good essay. You may want to change the phrase "terrifyingly intelligent" to "terrifying and intelligent," though. Otherwise your meaning is kind of confusing. Then again, I don't know if you're trying to get this published anywhere.

    For more Argento, I recommend Opera and Deep Red the most. IMO, Opera is his best, most underrated work. Like Rear Window and Blow Out and Minority Report, it's a movie about the guilt implicit in the act of watching movies.

    Mark
     
  17. Justin_S

    Justin_S Producer

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    Argento is a brilliant master of horror films, and he is one of my top 5 favorite directors! SUSPIRIA is his best film in my opinion, and deserves all the praise it gets.
    John, you asked for Argento recommendations, and I HIGHLY recommend the following films:
    PHENOMENA- Spectacular supernatural giallo, as well as the gorgeous Jennifer Connelly, and the great Donald Pleasance!
    TENEBRE- Masterful giallo with a stellar score, Argento's usual stylistic direction at an all time high (just check out the roof climbing sequence), great performances, stunning kill scenes, and the always reliable John Saxon!
    OPERA- Another brilliant giallo from Argento! All of the greatness of Argento is present in this film, and you can't go wrong with it! Love the ravens/identity sequnce!
    SLEEPLESS- Argento's wonderful comeback giallo, with a powerhouse performance from Max Von Sydow, and Argento at the very top of his game!
    THE STENDHAL SYNDROME- Brilliant film, and by far Argento's most underrated! A misunderstood masterpiece!
    INFERNO- Followup to SUSPIRIA, while not as great, still a wonderfully stylish film all the same!
    FOUR FLIES ON GREY VELVET- Argento's most rare film, and one of his best! A must see if you even remotely like Argento!
    CAT O'NINE TAILS- Argento's least favorite of his films, but I don't see why. This film is a riveting piece of work, and it stuns me that its his least favorite!
    Those would be my main recommendations, but in all honesty, I recommend ALL of his films, except for the awful PHANTOM OF THE OPERA.
     

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