By Jerome Reuter
The remake. It’s the one word that fans of celluloid fear the most, and with good reason. How often have we been treated to a lackluster reimagining of a classic? How often are we subjected to a film we hold dear being completely butchered? The answer is far to often. Our curiosity of just how bad one of these can be almost guarantees ticket sales. You know what they say; “Curiosity killed the cat.” Horror fans will buy just about anything, from a limited edition Blu-Ray, to the thought that someone might be able to do a better job at someone else’s product.
There’s one remake so many were dreading, myself included. Unfortunately, the remake of Dario Argento’s magnum opus Suspiria is happening. Even though actress Tilda Swinton is on board, there’s little hope that this one will have any redeeming qualities. I’ll even go so far as to say that this is a remake that is completely unnecessary, and not worth the time, or the ticket money. We’ve already been forced to endure a modernized version of The Haunting, and a poor shot-for-shot remake of Psycho. However, this is the proverbial ‘horse of a different color.’
To say that Suspiria is just a horror film is a gross understatement. For so many people it’s a masterpiece, a work of art, and a dark fairy tale for ALL time. When it comes to Suspiria, there’s really nothing else like it. This is a film that stands apart from so many others, and it’s easy to see why. As the 1970’s drew to a close, Technicolor was becoming the old technique. It was something popular during the days of RKO, but many auteurs chose to move away from it, in favor of new advancements in film technology. The first thing anyone notices upon their first viewing is the palate of color this film possesses, the bright shades of blue and red that help illustrate the story, as well as the image on screen. It would be next to impossible to recreate that atmosphere, even with the modern techniques that are made available.
We should also remember the place this holds in Argento’s filmography. He was fresh off his animal trilogy, as well as Deep Red. Although Deep Red is his gateway from giallo to horror, Suspiria remains his definitive work. This is his finest hour, the moment where he broke from the thriller, and entered the world of the supernatural. However, breaking away is not as easy as it might seem. Argento brought the pacing and mystery from works such as Four Flies On Grey Velvet, and carried them into a whole new sub genre.
Very few films today have that same combination of pacing, atmosphere, color, and music that this one has. As cliché as it sounds, this is the ultimate product its’ time. This is a moment where a director transitioned into a true master of the genre, and utilized everything at his disposal to create a masterpiece. A film such as this can never be recreated, and it shouldn’t. We should always look back at the original with joy, and be grateful Argento gave us such a baroque imagining.