Have Your Say: Is Dario Argento's SUSPIRIA Vastly Overrated?

Contributing Editor; Rotterdam, The Netherlands (@ardvark23)
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Have Your Say: Is Dario Argento's SUSPIRIA Vastly Overrated?
Dario Argento's occult thriller Suspiria turns forty this year, and despite its age it is very much in the news. Synapse's cinematographer-approved restoration will have its grand reveal at Fantasia in August, while a separate Italian restoration is currently already doing the rounds. And after a decade of false starts, this year a remake will finally be released, directed by Luca Guadagnino and starring Chloë Grace Moretz, Tilda Swinton, Dakota Johnson and Mia Goth.

There's more: because the original has an anniversary, several labels see fit to re-release the film on disc. For an example, just check the stunning Leatherbook Edition released in Germany this month.

With all that attention lavished on it, you can rightfully call Suspiria a beloved title. But is it a bit TOO beloved perhaps? I know several people who feel nothing for the film, or who even profess hatred. Suspiria sure is an odd film in that Dario Argento sacrifices everything for a nightmarish mood, even normally essential movie qualities like "plot" and "acting", and this pisses many people off. Colors and fairy-tales are interspersed with truly shocking violence, making this an acquired taste.

I can see both sides' points. Lovers of the film argue that the film is a psychedelic experience, an audio-visual ride rather than a story, and should be judged as such. Haters of the film tend to demand more substance underneath the style, and I agree with them that the film has an insanely stupid plot (when I hear there were behind-the-scenes fights about who got credited for the script, I kept thinking: who'd want to own THIS script credit?!).

So let's make that the question this week: does Dario Argento's Suspiria warrant the love and attention it gets, or is it vastly overrated?
Chime in, in the comments below, and HAVE YOUR SAY!

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KurtJuly 18, 2017 10:18 AM

Pretty colours, creepy soundtrack, creative kills. It's a grand time at the movies.

B.July 18, 2017 10:42 AM

Indeed, story and performance wise it's weak, but I never really cared. It's a vivid, kaleidoscopic dream.

Ryan HauptJuly 18, 2017 10:57 AM

Like Eraserhead, it has to be seen in a theater. The sound design on BLAST to get the full experience. At home viewing just doesn't cut it.

Ard VijnJuly 18, 2017 11:17 AM

You raise a valid point... I haven't seen it in a cinema yet. Being bombarded with it while fully focused may actually work hugely to the film's advantage.

Paul WilliamJuly 18, 2017 11:22 AM


AndrésJuly 18, 2017 11:24 AM

I don't think this film is style over substance. I think its style IS its substance. You are watchng a dream, a nightmare. When was the last time you needed a plot to enjoy a dream? Suspiria is a nightmare, so it makes perfect sesne to be like that. It's like asking the same to Fulci's L'Aldila or House by the Cemetery. I remember watching House by the Cemetery and ejoying that the maid was cleaning the blood on the kitchen while the family was having breakfast as if nothing had happened. That's the point! It's all about the senses! (And yes, you have to watch it in a theater, at least one time, to truly enjoy it)

Ryan HauptJuly 18, 2017 11:36 AM

I watched Suspira on home video for years. Then i saw a print in a theater and was like HOLY SHIT. Its how you're supposed to see it. Larger than life, colorful, and LOUD music that elevates the scenes to another level.

ClarkNova4July 18, 2017 12:01 PM

This film is exactly what it needs to be and it does so wonderfully. Todays movies wish they had 1/10th of the artistic integrity / singularity of vision that Suspiria has. This isn't just a film, it clearly defines a subgenre and helped to push the boundaries of it too. Proof? Its still being copied and talked about 40 years later and it will still be in 40 years. This is what you call an original film that set the bar so high in its boldness that it may never be surpassed and will live forever thanks to its beautiful weirdness that only could have happened during the 70s and only be made by one man.

Ard VijnJuly 18, 2017 12:39 PM

"I think its style IS its substance."
Well said. VERY well said.

ManateeAdvocateJuly 18, 2017 12:39 PM

My wife and I love it. If you're a fan of film then how can you hate Suspiria? That's not something I'm meant to understand. The 70s were an incredible time for film and Suspiria is one of those films that proves such.

Aaron FrostJuly 18, 2017 12:40 PM

Nope. It's just the way,it's supposed to be. Either you love it,or you don't.

ClarkNova4July 18, 2017 12:48 PM

Great examples given!

ZetobeltJuly 18, 2017 1:46 PM

On the contrary. Vastly underrated!

chuckJuly 18, 2017 2:57 PM

I love it and I can tell you with a straight face it is ALL due to nostalgia for me. Watching this as a pre-teen many years ago on VHS I knew I was watching something shocking and "not right" so to this day I can still watch it and look past some of the more hokey parts.

On the other hand, every time I've tried to show this to anyone who didn't grow up on schlocky Italian horror/B films they can not get past how dated the effects are. I hate having to preface a film with " its a masterpiece but the effects are really dated..." And I do have to say I cringe a lot at how bad some of the kill effects are but damn ol' nostalgia keeps me from hating it. ( sort of like Dawn of the Dead, yes they are cartoony effects on purpose but try to explain that to someone that has grown up on Walking Dead or more modern FX horror films and they can't look paste the goofy blood).

This is one film that if they can pull off the remake will maybe give some good will to more modern horror fans to go back and watch the original with a more open mind.

David SmithJuly 18, 2017 3:00 PM

Cobblers, it's a masterpiece. Argento's greatest film. Realism is vastly overrated

wabaliciousJuly 18, 2017 3:56 PM

I haven't seen Suspiria and don't think it'd really be my cup of tea, but i'm always interested in reading people's enthusiasm for the film. I don't think i've ever heard a bad word about it, really. What i did see, though, was Goblin performing a couple of tracks from the soundtrack, with selections from a couple of other films. That was after they screened Dawn of the Dead and had Goblin play the score live over the film. It was lots of fun, but slightly surreal :)

Unflinching_EyeJuly 18, 2017 3:59 PM

It's underrated. End of story.

Unflinching_EyeJuly 18, 2017 4:02 PM

I saw the recent Italian restoration in a packed theatre this year LOUD. After years on my tv it was a revelation.

Ben UmsteadJuly 18, 2017 5:19 PM

I will agree that realism, a sense of plot or logic... all of these things are overrated in cinema. It's cinema, people. Cinema can be anything.

However, when it comes to Suspiria, I am underwhelmed by the work. I think there is a distinction, at least for me, on something that is just not my cup of tea and being overrated. I don't begrudge anyone who loves Suspiria. I love Daisies, a movie that works totally outside of a traditional narrative. But when you mention your love of La La Land let's say, well then, that is where I become skeptical of the person making such a declaration. Kind of shallow, yeah, but that film to me is dangerously reductionist, with a nostalgia bent and sense of entitlement that I think is unhealthy for a society at large, so it's mainstream popularity is indeed scary to me, ad thus overrated. Genre fans loving Suspiria falls within other boundaries.

Michael BatesJuly 18, 2017 9:11 PM


Mr MofoJuly 18, 2017 10:24 PM

Its still remembered, end of story

ToryKJuly 19, 2017 12:12 AM

I was gonna try to write a full paragraph or two, but never mind. Kurt's got it.

Unflinching_EyeJuly 19, 2017 12:19 AM

Slightly off topic, but I received my mediabook blu of OPERA from Koch Media in the mail today and it is a thing of beauty. Very nice packaging! If anyone is considering picking one up I'd definitely recommend it.

Ard VijnJuly 19, 2017 7:19 AM

With regards to the remake: is it me, or does Mia Goth seem genetically engineered to be a target in a Dario Argento film?

adertamilka .July 19, 2017 8:47 AM

If it's something, it's criminally underrated.

Ard VijnJuly 19, 2017 9:40 AM

Ooooh.... tempted!

cjohnstonJuly 19, 2017 3:36 PM

i;ll have to watch it..


PFerrariJuly 19, 2017 3:49 PM

It's an easy film to pick apart if you're so inclined, but it's a straight-up "dream film," one of the best ever made. Dating myself here, but after only having the Japanese laser disc (a signed copy), which was the best homevideo version for many years, I was finally able to see an uncut dye-transfer Technicolor print from the UK (at an American Cinematheque screening, with Jessica Harper and Udo Kier in attendance, and introduced by Richard Stanley). It was indeed a revelation, as the earlier posters have testified. It's great news that these newly-discovered prints and meticulous restorations are having theatrical exposure. Hopefully a new generation will have their minds blown.

A man with a knifeJuly 21, 2017 4:36 AM

For vastly overrated see Dr. Strangelove.