Movie #23: 31- Days of Horror Challenge 2018
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Susy Bannon arrives at the prestigious Tanz Academy in Freiburg, Germany on a stormy night, just in time to see one of the other students run away into the rainy night, she is then refused admittance into the building, when returning the following morning to find out that the girl has died. As more strange things start to happen in and around the school, Susy learns about the true history of the school.
This film is considered Argento’s greatest masterpiece, although some may argue that Profondo Rosso (1975) is, but that debate is for another day. Regardless, Argento’s inspired use of color and sound (Soundtrack by Goblin… go listen to more of their work – this is all I will say about it, Goblin’s music deserves all the praise you’ve heard and more.) to assault the senses in this are without doubt genius. And the layers of visual over-stimulation continue, if the audience doesn’t catch the hint when Susy, our heroine, first gives the address as Escherstrasse, that sweeping staircase in the entrance of the dance school certainly draws the audience’s attention to MC Escher’s artistic influence throughout the entire school set, some subtle, some bash you over the head. Also, what I at first thought of a as a very gothic setting, specifically the doors with the annoyingly high knobs, I realized later, was, in tandem with the bright “Snow White” themed colors, was intended to imply a group of younger or at least more immature girls, as evidenced by the behavior of the girls in a few scenes, but obviously with the level of violence in this, it would not have been appropriate to film with children. At least not in 1977.
Although the plot is rather thin, it’s still interesting. I mean how many of us have imagined our teachers or other authority figures are an evil coven of sorts.
The violence and gore in this is signature Argento. The man has a unique talent for inventive murder scenes and always satisfies my gore-whore heart. That first murder scene in this is … well… my brain is offering up mixed adjectives so that’s what you, dear reader, get and must make of what you will: Captivating, stunning, paralyzing, heart-wrenching, glorious, beautiful, and unrelenting. Honestly, these are appropriate for the entire film.
If you’ve never seen this, and are going into it expecting a more cerebral type horror, you won’t get it. This is a visual spectacle and a sound onslaught in the best possible way.