July 8, 2018

Horror Favorites: Suspiria (1977)

Suspiria (1977) blu-rayIf you learned that a remake of one of your all-time favorite films was about to be released, how would you feel? Would you welcome a new vision of the film, or would you worry that it could somehow ruin the first film for you? Would your reaction differ based on how well you thought the original film held up today?

 I watched one of my favorite horror movies the other night, Suspiria (1977). I am aware that a remake of this Dario Argento classic will be coming out soon, and I'm both curious about what they'll do with it and less-than-thrilled that they are remaking it at all. I've never found the original to be particularly scary, so I could imagine a remake that took it in that direction could be worthwhile. And yet, I am having a hard time imagining how a modern-day remake could possibly do justice to that film. What made it great had little to do with how scary it was (or wasn't).

What I've always loved about Suspiria isn't easy to describe because a big part of it has to do with the psychedelic vibe. The set design, cinematography, and the color palette combine to produce what remains one of the most visually striking and unique horror films I can recall. When I saw it for the first time, I felt like I was watching a painting come to life. And then there's the music. No matter how many times I've seen the film, I never seem to remember how much the Goblin soundtrack contributes until the opening scene. It is such a big part of what makes this one so unique.

I can't imagine a modern remake capturing much of this, but that is probably okay. The original is going to stand on its own as a horror masterpiece no matter what they do with the remake. I think the best case scenario for this remake is that it involves a re-imagining of the film where they utilize the basic outlines of the story but put a different stamp on it. I'm thinking of something like what Rob Zombie did with his remake of the first two Halloween films. I didn't think they were anywhere near as good as the originals, but they reflected Zombie's vision and didn't try to be something they weren't.

I've gone out of my way not to read anything about the upcoming Suspiria remake. My curiosity has made that difficult, but I haven't decided whether I want to see it yet. And if I do see it, I'd like to go in cold without any idea of what to expect. In any case, seeing the original again made me realize that it is very unlikely that any remake could ruin it for me.