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There are formidable films, so powerful that they don’t even get stuck in the shallows of time evoked by Macbeth. It is the case of Suspiria directed by Dario Argento in 1977 and written by director together with Daria Niccolodi. Likewise for certain highly prized red wines, the fruit of very important vines, a work which, year after year, instead of aging, increases its power to fascinate, seduce, terrify. So Suspiria – The Silver Fairy Tale written by Nico Parente with Fabio Cassano and published by Shatter Edizioni is truly a phantasmagorical, fascinating journey that investigates, reflects and reveals the many souls of the Argentine masterpiece. A film, which represents the filmmaker’s debut in the pure horror genre, as well as the first chapter of the trilogy dedicated to the “Mothers”. A volume that bewitches you, along the lines of the cook (Franca Scagnetti) when in one of the most evocative sequences of the film she dazzles the young protagonist, while the very disturbing Albert (Jacopo Mariani, the unforgettable child of Deep red ) observes enigmatic and silent.
The quotation in the book in the exergue expertly introduces us to the malevolent Freiburg Dance Academy. Not surprisingly, the words are those of the demiurge of the thrill Dario Argento: “Making a film about witches thrilled me; in fact, witches have always enchanted me. Maybe it’s something that goes back to my childhood, to the times of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Suspiria, in fact, is very inspired by Snow White. It is like a parable of all of us, who are victims of a very cruel world full of horrors and fears. All of us, all of us are teenage girls in the midst of monsters, sometimes we dodge them, sometimes we fail, and other times we chase them away.” So page after page, the volume takes us into the nightmare, while the automatic glass door of an airport opens onto a dimension of pure evil. Suzy Benner left New York at 9 in the morning and arrives in Germany at 10:45 local time and nothing will ever be the same again. The Germanic Black Forest with its visionary baggage of legends and spells, told by the Brothers Grimm, embraces in her fatal grip the unfortunate protagonist who has the face of Jessica Harper, already the object of desire of the Stage Ghost, directed by Brian DePalma. The macabre dance inspired by that incorrigible toxicophile Thomas De Quincey and his Suspiria de Profundis manifests itself. A psychedelic sabbath orchestrated by a terrible secret and a dark blue iris, while mephitic worms rain down and ferocious bats fly.
Between an interview with the iconic Barbara Magnolfi, the coquettish, insolent, even insinuating Olga, who seems to have come out of a libertine and refined illustration by Aubrey Vincent Beardsley, and the shrewd notations on the genesis of a masterpiece, the book reveals itself as a dazzling guide to orient yourself among those architectures with a lysergic style, dreamlike spaces very suitable for a perpetual orgy of sighs and frights. A story “out of reality” that finds in the photography of the master Luciano Tovoli (not at all interested in the horror genre), the ideal accomplice to orchestrate this witchy and uncanny fresco. The light is transfigured into a bucket of paint thrown at the actresses’ faces. And from a tantalizing collection of reviews of the time, taken from the main Italian and international newspapers, we move on to Roberto Lasagna’s accurate analysis of the sequence in which the blind pianist played by Flavio Bucci loses his coat. Because Suspiria remains a delusional labyrinth to be explored endlessly As reported by the book, Suspiria it was supposed to be set in a school for girls, between the ages of eleven and fourteen, however the distribution objected. However, Dario Argento maintained that spirit, whereby the protagonists behave like little girls amidst whims, teases, childish puns (“Do you know what they say about people whose names begin with the letter S: they are snakes”). the director used visual tricks to send the viewer an unconscious effect, just think of the door handles of the dance school placed much higher than normal.
Perhaps some purists will turn up their noses, but with courage and acumen the volume also explores the (non) remake of Suspiria signed by Luca Guadagnino in 2018. Alessandro Romano defines the film as an Orphic melò and it results in an original, intriguing and attentive reading of the feature film presented in competition at the Venice Film Festival. Finally, the journey ends with the chapters written by Fabio Cassano on the soundtrack signed by the Goblins and with an interview by Nico Parente with Claudio Simonetti. Between the Moog synthesizer mixed with the Greek bouzouki, the Indian sitar and tabla, the whispered phrases and bottle caps, it is clear that the soundtrack takes on the value of an authentic character within the film. As the writer Antonio Tentori points out: “these are ancient and modern instruments that contribute magnificently to the creation of the world of mysteries and atrocities revealed by Dario Argento. In short, more than 45 years have passed since the cinema release of Suspiria, but the film continues to lock us in its spiral of contagious madness, while Mater Suspirorium born Helena Marcos, cruel whispers behind a veil, very similar to death at work. The images of the film still imprison us, as happens to the unfortunate Stefania Casini, in a lethal tangle of metal wires. And it is gratifying and beautiful that the book Suspiria – The Silver Tale help us understand the enigma that continues to capture us over time.