An Opinion Piece by Jordan
Recent reports that Chloe Grace Moretz has been cast in the Suspiria remake made their way to my heart first, where the initial feeling was panging for a lack of imagination, before the idea was filtered even more critically in my mind. If she’s indeed playing Suzy Bannion, having already starred in numerous horror remakes (most poorly received) in her short career, how can she instil the character with the same enchanting sense of being aloof and a wallflower; new to the Freiburg Ballet School like the lovely Jessica Harper was new to the audience and a beacon of innocence to defeat the entrenched repugnance?
Utilising a striking colour pallet to paint in broad strokes nightmarish imagery as well as finer details to endorse Dario Argento and his then-wife Daria Nicolodi, who wrote the film, as pioneers in the Giallo and grandiose horror fields, Suspiria unfolds like a deranged, but strangely beautiful Grimm fairy tale, it’s artistic merits exceeding anything produced in the genre since and themes long-lasting.
Asked in an interview by Indie Wire why he’s opposed to Luca Guadagnino’s planned remake of his 1977 singular, supernatural masterpiece, the revered director stated:
Well, the film has a specific mood. Either you do it exactly the same way — in which case, it’s not a remake, it’s a copy, which is pointless — or, you change things and make another movie. In that case, why call it “Suspiria”?
Exactly. Argento hasn’t once been contacted for advice or reference, which is strange given how easily identifiable his signature is on his films; none can be assessed without thought of his creative intent or sometimes-pointy assertions.
Suspiria did receive a suitably surreal sequel in 1980 with Inferno, which was belatedly followed-up in 2007 with the divisive Mother of Tears, both of these expanding the lore of the Three Mothers and allowing Argento a universe to experiment with ideas he couldn’t implement in his thrillers. Inferno is often mesmerising, highlighted by a dreamlike scene in a flooded basement and it’s macabre finale, but it still failed to capture the fresh feeling of terror Suspiria presented; a feeling I’m confident can’t be recaptured again. Argento’s fans are so feverishly enamoured with his visual and audible trademarks (highlighted in fact by Goblin’s escalating, piercing score for Suspiria), that a remake will be greeted with such scepticism it’s hard to fathom it’s relevance, especially when nearly 40 years later the original remains so undeniably impressive.
Very good film makers such as Darren Aronofsky and Nicolas Winding Refn have sourced inspiration from the mood and saturated hues of a genre classic, which remains the perfect way to pay tribute to past pioneering while producing something new and exciting. The story is not the focus of Suspiria, nor is there a marketable, irrepressible villain that fans are eager to see resurrected. A remake has few identifiers to translate into something new without completely misunderstanding and disrespecting its source material, and if there is no intention to go in a different direction, then as Argento says, this is pointless anyway.
In further fear that reimagining this leads to further plundering of an untouchable catalogue, please, from a paying audience member who has previously enjoyed and understood the purpose of remakes, leave this one alone.
“without completely misunderstanding and disrespecting its source material”
….that’s making the assumption that the people leading the charge to remake the film even give a crap about understanding and respecting the source. There are some remakes that bring them to relevance, as horror films are often commentary and metaphor for society, so I can’t write them off as a whole. BUT, there is no way to remake this movie. There is no need for update or translation to current culture.
The fact that we are drowning in remakes and sequels is depressing, and this just made it worse.
Very well said. I absolutely agree that the films that are relevent to be retold should be, or maybe the ones that aren’t as closely tied to their writer/director. Suspiria though is just so singular – there really is no point to this.
This just should not be remade. It’s wrong.
NO. Even if the cast is great, the film is visually stunning, and it gets critical acclaim (probably from folks who haven’t seen the original), just NO. Dunno why the director doesn’t just do a neo-giallo in the vein (pun intended) of FRANCESCA, or others that nail the marks of the genre and pull off some great results without remaking a thing.
Suspiria scared the hell out of me from the TV spot I saw as a kid with those creepy veined letters. The actual film did more work, but made me laugh as well (in the tension, there are some funny bits!). Methinks this one will be a depressingly drone-y reworking without the Argento style to kick it to where it needs to be.
Exactly! Pay homage to it in a different way… make a new giallo, a new ballet themed horror film or hire Goblin, just don’t do a remake.
Those bits that made you laugh, as well as the dog with the blind man and Suzy walking away laughing at the end showed that Argento and Nicolodi were lawless. I can’t see how a genre film now, let alone a remake can recapture that.
I realize that I’m going to annoy a lot of people here, but the whole truth in my opinion is that I saw “Suspiria” four different times over the years, and I’m sorry to say that personally I was never that impressed by it. FYI I grew up watching and loving all sorts of horror movies from the classic black and whites through the Hammer and Amicus era,, including several grindhouse classics and others through the slasher films of the 70s and 80s. I was 13 years old when “Suspiria” was released but I didn’t get to watch it until I got into college when VCRs started becoming household appliances.
While I found “Suspiria” to be atmospheric and mysterious, I just never felt that sense of fright or dread that I’d heard about for years. I gave it several more chances trying to get that suspenseful feeling but it just never came to me. Perhaps I’d just heard too much hype about it, and so by the time I finally watched it my initial reaction was “That’s it?”
All that said, I do not think that “Suspiria” should be remade.
Final note: I fully expect people to disagree with me, but please be respectful
We’re all about respect here at J&E! I think even genre fans (the best group of film fans out there) have particular tendencies to favour some styles over others, be it American slashers, Ozploitation or German expressionism. For me, and perhaps a lot of others, horror when used as an outlet for striking/vivid imagery is when its at its most exciting, and the Italian directors of the ’60’s and ’70’s seemed to harness this the most proficiently, which is why Suspiria caught my attention so much upon first viewing and certainly frightened me. It really is a wonder for the senses.
I’m glad you still agree with the sentiment!
Are you a fan of any other Argento films?
Teddddd. We’re all adults here. Your opinion was well-written, you don’t flat out blindly hate the film and aren’t trolling. So that means you get respect. Yes, it’s best to go in blind to something like this, as even in the pre-internet age, magazines and friends tended to chat up some films a wee bit much, lol.
You are right in mentioning Refn’s name because The Neon Demon was for me an homage to Suspiria….and Showgirls too which maybe both a terible thing and a fantastic one. Plus we all know how good Miss Moretz last remake did at the box office. I like her but she makes terrible choices
Perfect Blue also sprang to mind after I wrote this; a stunning film that owes a lot to Suspiria.
I agree that Moretz has shown considerable talent, but these are not endearing choices.
Jordan- in answer to your question, NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Is it mandatory that Hollywood take every classic film from every genre and reboot it with sub par casts and writing? Isn’t anyone doing anything original? Okay. I am stepping away from the keyboard now…… 😉
The only silver lining is that we can appreciate the originals even more now! When you’re at the point where we’re basically getting remakes of remakes, you know something has gone wrong…
So true, Jordan! If only it were like the 70’s with the young guns, Spielberg, Coppola, Lucas, Scorsese….
I’ve finally made peace with Hollywood’s need to remake good movies. I’ve accepted that one day, Forrest Gump will be remade and and there’s zero that I can do about it. Mind you, I’m not saying I like it but I understand and accept why it is done.
I can certainly understand the need as well sometimes, but there must still be some films that can be left alone.
That was well argued. I was against this remake idea from the moment I heard about it, but that was purely because it would be an unnecessary remake. What you’ve presented to me here, isn’t just brilliant, and clearly thought out, but reaffirms why I’m against a remake. Plus it now gives me legitimate points that I can now cite when need be. Thanks! This piece has also reminded me of the tragic fact that I still haven’t seen “Suspiria”. I really need to rectify that.
Hey Steven. Glad you enjoyed (and agree with) the article! I’m not always against remakes, as long as they’re belated and relevant (The Thing, Dawn of the Dead etc.), but I just don’t think Suspiria fits that criteria… its a timeless movie, without politics connected to its time and place. I still hold out hope that it won’t happen.
I’m a fan of Dario Argento and have nine of his films on DVD. “Suspiria” was the first one I purchased some years ago, and I love watching it. I don’t find it all that scary, but it is suspenseful and engaging, and has a great finale. I have great appreciation for films that move along slowly, such as the original “Flight of the Phoenix” and “Rear Window.” Films that rely on fast pacing and jump scares just don’t do it for me. “Suspiria” is a classic. I agree that it should not be remade. In general, I don’t bother with remakes. I certainly would not be interested in seeing the remake of “Suspiria.”
Along with Kubrick, he has long been one of the directors I appreciate most. All of his films unfold with so much more style than people care to implement now, and I too really find the endings of his best very satisfying. Perhaps Eddie will catch the remake but I’d prefer to re-watch the original, or perhaps something underappreciated like Sleepless or Four Flies on Grey Velvet.
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