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The Masterpiece of Dario Argento's work.
on 13 March 2013
First things first, let's briefly look at the film itself...I wont waste time as any horror fan worth their salt will no doubt have seen the legendary 'Suspiria' countless times by now. But for any newcomers to the scene this 70's horror classic follows the lovely Suzi Banyon (played by Jessica Harper in her finest role) as she arrives at her new ballet school in Bavaria, Germany. Arriving late in the midst of a furious storm she finds herself locked out of the prestigious establishment and has to seek alternate accommodation, but as she heads off in her taxi she notices a distressed girl run off in the distance. The girl has just been ejected from the school decrying that something 'absurdly fantastic' is going on there, but as she holds up in a friends stylish art deco apartment both she and her friend soon fall foul to an evil mysterious presence in one of the most stylish and graphic showstopping death scenes to be seen in a horror movie in a long time. The next day Suzi manages to gain access to her new school and quickly settles in and is introduced to her colleagues and teacher... but before you think we're sliding into a girls own adventure you're swiftly assured that this is anything but that.
Argento's Suspiria is without doubt one of the horror genres true cinematic classics, why so some may ask? Well after viewing the film it should be all to clear (even for those who may not be fans of the directors output in general) - 'Suspiria' is the sum total of collaboration perfection...at the fore is the stunning directorial skills of Argento himself, using the scope of the viewed image he creates every shot as though it is a work of art; stylish, rich and colourful, quite simply a visual delight. But what use is sumptuous eye candy if you don't have a decent plot and the story here is indeed a good one, using mystery elements used successfully in giallo style movies previously Argento and ex wife Daria Nicolodi give the old graphic murder mystery theme a fresh new occult edge that newcomers to the film will find enthralling, especially during the films old school gothic finale. But the final piece of the jigsaw comes in the form of the simply stunning soundtrack scored by 70's prog rockers Goblin who deliver perhaps the definitive companion horror movie score. Suspiria is also probably one of the most atmospheric horror movies I've ever seen. What makes it especially interesting is that it was shot on standard Eastman Kodak color film stock but was printed using the three-strip Technicolor process. This was achieved by using one of the last remaining machines of the kind out there. It really gives the movie a unique look and very vibrant colors.
Nouveaux have sourced a new HD transfer for this disc and on first glance it looks more appropriately coloured than the existing Italian blu-ray disc. The filesize for the transfer is a relatively small 17.1GB and it has been encoded using the MPEG-4/AVC codec and is presented with the sole option of a master audio soundtrack in English. The detail both in and out of light is very impressive for the most part, edges have not been haloed and the colour timing looks as good as I have seen with this film. The 5.1 mix is a very good approximation of three-dimensional sound with even voices mixed to the rears when appropriate, and the added definition is a thing of beauty when witnessing the high pitched scratching effects or the various sickening thuds and impacts of this unforgettable soundtrack. All of the featurettes offered here are presented in standard definition and feature lots of Xavier Mendik whose 10 minute introduction to the releases of Nouveaux's Cine-Xcess line is the same as it has been on their other releases. Fear at 400 degrees is basically an essay from Mendik which also includes Patricia McCormack, Kim Newman, and Norman J Warren. Dario himself pops up and there is some examination of the role of gender in his films, along with appreciation of Goblin's work on the film (from Claudio Simonetti himself!). It's a very creditable and intelligent piece. The final featurette edits together longer versions of McCormack, Warren and Simonetti's interviews to appraise the film from their own personal viewpoint.