Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Fear Of The Dark

Suspiria finally comes to DVD and Blu-Ray on Monday 18th January. It still to this day remains one of the most terrifying films I’ve ever seen, and was a major influence on my young life. I was 13 when I saw it on VHS one Saturday night while stopping at my good friend Chris’s house. The weekends were a ritual of late nights and genre movies then, and that particular night we’d bribed the video store with an extra pound as we always did when renting ‘X’ cert flicks, and hired Zombie Holocaust (crap), Enter The Ninja (better) and an Italian film I’d been reading about in the pages of Starburst magazine, which back then was my film bible. The great Alan Jones had been raving about a guy called Dario Argento for a while, and he’d called Suspiria the greatest movie he’d ever seen. It was about a young dance student who went to train in a remote academy in the heart of the German black forest and uncovered a coven of witches. I loved the sound of it, and the stills I’d seen in the magazine looked weird and exciting. Plus, Jones had turned me on to John Carpenter and Brian DePalma, and I took his word as gospel. We sat down with snacks, got the zombies and ninjas out the way, and around midnight loaded the film.

Suspiria changed the way I looked at film. From that day on the floodgates of world cinema opened and I drowned in a sea of Italian gore, Spanish horror, Japanese violence and Hong Kong bloodshed. It was the key to making my young mind realise that films weren’t just about the US and were produced in other languages, that there were brilliant directors like Argento, Lucio Fulci, Akira Kurosawa, Kenji Misumi, Tsui Hark – some of the best films I’d never seen were just waiting for my appreciation. I started to track down everything I’d ever read about, heard about, dreamed about. 24 years later, I’m still doing it.

If you have the slightest interest in motion pictures, you need to see Suspiria. It is one of the greatest horror films ever made. Hell, it’s one of the greatest films ever made. 102 minutes of perfection that still makes my heart quicken, my eyes widen, and still makes me believe in the power of cinema.