Suspiria (1977)


Directed by: Dario Argento

Written by: Dario Argento & Daria Nicolodi


Jessica Harper .... Suzy Bannion
Stefania Casini .... Sara
Flavio Bucci .... Daniel
Alida Valli .... Miss Tanner
Joan Bennett .... Madame Blanc

Special Appearance:

Udo Kier .... Dr. Frank Mandel

Release Dates: Theatrical: February 1, 1977 (Italy); May 5, 1977 (Germany); May 18, 1977 (France); August 12, 1977 (USA)

*Images courtesy at:





A teenage American from New York Suzy Bannion (Jessica Harper) arrives at a boarding school dance academy in Italy where she can be a successful ballet dancer run by two mysterious women Madame Blanc (Joan Bennett) and Miss Tanner (Alida Valli).
She finds out from Madame Balnc that a former student who got kicked out of the academy was brutally killed but was never explained how.
However, many students become victims of horrific crimes as the school becomes a walking nightmare of the damned but is told that they have left the academy.
But she experiences abusive actions by her teacher Miss Tanner and things don't seem normal there as she must find out what is going on there and escape if she possibly can.


There was a nice scene in the beginning of the movie with Suzy Bannion arriving from the airport on a stormy night and then a good shot of her in the back seat of a taxi as it looks dark and you suspect a horror event will unravel. Yet it almost does as there's a nice camera shot of the cab driving in tall tree's and outside the window some creepy things seem to happen which looks good.
A good moment with supporting character Pat Hagen at her hotel suite behaving frightened in which all of this looked powerful and mysterious to watch as well as her getting paranoid with a perfect shot of her staring at a window in the night with a flashlight along with some monstrous glowing eyes staring back at her offering great horror taste and then bang! A monsters hand comes crashing through the window and grabs her.
We also have good shots on supporting character Sonia screaming and behaving wildly freaked out crying for help and pounding on the door when this event happens which looked tremendously well for this horrific moment.
We spot good takes on Pat being stabbed and tortured to death and an intense scene of her being hung and bloodied as it gives the film a nice italian horror feel to it.
A well remembered moment is when Suzi is outside of the boarding school and a strange elderly lady is staring at her as well as holding a metal object and hear the whispering words witch as this looked strangely done but in a great horror fashion.
Perfect sharp scene with her entering the boarding school as well as Miss Tanner introducing herself which was strongly drawn in and making this piece looking quite interesting. These situations were done at an energetic pace.
A nice brief scene with supporting character Olga strutting her stuff nicely when she introduces herself to Suzy as she really comes off like she is the best in her school and no one can do better. Alot of this looked highly entertaining to watch and done carefully with a nice focus on each of these characters.
We see a struggling moment with Suzy when she feels sick during a ballet dance practice about to pass out yet Miss Tanner still continues to teach them which looks very strongly done and you wonder why she isn't stopping to help poor Suzy in which leaves a nice impression wondering who this woman really is. Within this moment the tension looked believeable imagining if you weren't feeling well and were forced to do something but feeling weak.
Another great moment with Miss Tanner is when she forces Suzy to drink a pitcher of water and she tries to hesitate. This for sure looked convincingly twisted and abusive as it boggles you while watching all of this unravel.
Perfectly gross situations when Suzy and the other students discovering maggots falling from the roof with great close up shots on all of this.
We also see an intense discussion between Miss Tanner and Daniel quarrelling at one another during a ballet dance practice and her acting abusive towards him forcing him to leave the school which also looks both intense yet funny too when she starts shouting at him.
Perfectly focused moment with Daniel walking his dog and then he's in a silent area with whispery sounds calling towards him as this looked creepy while watching this along with a good terror on his dog attacking him as well as good gruesome results as this looked convincingly gross to watch.
There's a great dark setting with Suzy and Sara awake in a room with the rest of the girls sleeping and there's a dark red light shining on them. It looks spooky when Sara says what is going on with the strange sounds in the room that will leave a bit of a chill the way she explains it.
We set a nice set of the dark hallway with Sara wandering around getting freaked out by the hauntings around her as there's nice green and red lights shining on her as she hears the evil chant and whispers around her. This is a terrific moment for anyone who loves haunting type horror flicks. Also a good moment when she tries to lock herself in and we spot an object trying to pull open the lock with her finding a way to escape through a window as you wonder if she will get out in time. Then a good shocking moment on what she falls through on the other side of that window as this leaves a nice psychological feel as I think to myself if the makers from Saw watched this flick and used a similar idea. Plus a great attacking moment on a killer hands with a good close up shot.
There's effective scene's when Suzy goes through passageways in the school with navy blue lights on her and her surroundings which were nicely done with the shootings. Then she is being pitted against a couple of monstrous looking witches she awakens while holding a dagger which adds some nice touches to the story. Plus a good moment when she spots the headmistress' little secret by what they're doing which looked convincingly strange to watch.
There's good shots on walls crumbling open with windstorms and doors being torn off.
Bottom line is that this is a twisted and confusing yet well done supernatural horror story that really works on it's own and should be well loved by others who enjoy italian horror films.
Some original scares and good effects too for this low budgeter and remains a cult classic which is great watching even better with the lights turned off like other films such as Phantasm or the Exorcist even if this movie doesn't compare to either of them but has that darkness to it to watch at night when it's dark.
Anyone who loves ghostly witches or demonic happenings will enjoy this one for sure.

The acting is not too bad for a foreign film as it was not overdubbed by american actors and the italian cast members did well with their english in the film.
American actress Jessica Harper (Suzy Bannion) seems to pull off her role well and has the right looks to be in a supernatural horror like this one. She reacts well when she goes through passageways in the school with navy blue lights on her. She shows nice shocking expressions on her face as well as getting spooked in another scene. Shows a good timid and mellow type of behavior into whatever she did here. Also reacts well to being weak and not feeling well in a certain scene too coming off by being natural. Shows great energy when the terror starts to strike which offered nice reactions to everything.
Stefania Casini
(Sara) who is a student roomate comes across very mysterious and does a solid performance with her part in this film. Does a nice job acting well alert on stuff as well as having a good clear voice. Also shows off some nice scared energy when trying to get away from the terror that strikes her. She reacts painfully well when she is caught in a web of barbwire which looked truthfully painful.
Flavio Bucci
(Daniel) brought on his role nicely as a blind music teacher. Shows off a nice sensitive type of performance in which shines off pretty decent. Also does well with his upsetting emotions too during an argument. Also shows off a nice fearsome attitude near the end of his performance as this looked convincingly done.
Alida Valli (Miss Tanner) stole the film with her intense performance as the evil and abusive school teacher showing terrific aggressions to her part in it. She shows off a good sharp attitude especially during the beginning of her performance coming across as deceivingly wlecoming. Was terrific with her forceful behavior along with acting wicked too. She does well with her english speaking and not having too much of a thick accent.
Joan Bennett
(Madame Blanc) is another example as a mysterious one in the film and plays a nice headmaster of the boarding school. Shows off a perfect unwarming type of attitude. Also shows off nice serious and aggressive type of expressions along with her emotions too. She shows off a convincing force to her part in it.
There's a nice cameo by italian celebrity Udo Kier (Dr. Frank Mandel) who comes across nicely as a strange Doctor which seems quite twisted too.
Shows off a nice creepiness to his appeal and was quite noticeable while behaving this way.

A girls chest is torn open revealing her heart
A dog tears open a blind man's neck
Some gruesome stabbings and a throat slit

There were many different sounds of spooky music composed for this film. We have a nice tingling light keyboard sounds to many of the scenes as what you would hear in Phantasm or even The Exorcist as well as some dark creepy tones to it as well which is splendidly horrific for the terrifying events unraveling as done by Goblin with a bit from Dario Argento himself. However alot of the composing was overly played and it drove me nuts to hear it over and over.

Olga: Susie... Sarah... I once read that names which begin with the letter 'S' are the names of SNAKES! Sssss! Ssssss!

Suzy Bannion: Hey, thanks, my room is really pretty.
Olga: Do you like it? You're sweet, I bet we'll do fine together.
Suzy Bannion: Even if I have the name of a snake?
Olga: Oh, I was just kidding! Don't tell me you're as touchy as Sarah.
Suzy Bannion: No.

Helena Markos: [aroused from her snoring slumber] Who is it? Who's there? Ah, I've been expecting you! The American girl! I knew you'd come. You want to kill me! You want to kill Helena Markos!
[vanishes, laughing]
Helena Markos: You wanted to kill me! You wanted to kill me! What are you gonna do now, huh? Now death is coming for you! You wanted to kill Helena Markos! Hell is behind that door! You're going to meet death now... the LIVING DEAD!