suspiria remake featurette

Remakes are par for the course in Hollywood, yet they still mostly inspire disdain or suspicion among audiences. Especially when that remake is of a lauded horror classic like Dario Argento‘s  Suspiria.

But director Luca Guadagnino leapt those hurdles by making a film that was drastically different to Argento’s 1977 original: reimagining the Italian director’s kaleidoscopic nightmare as a grotesque display of body horror. It was polarizing to say the least, but went over well with critics, who proclaimed it a successful remake for how different it was from the original. But Argento didn’t think so.

In an interview with Radio Rai 1’s Un Giorno da Pecora (via The Playlist), Argento, who had remained quiet in the months leading up to the release of Guadagnino’s remake, had some harsh words for the 2018 Suspiria:

“It did not excite me, it betrayed the spirit of the original film: there is no fear, there is no music. The film has not satisfied me so much.”

That’s a dramatic shift from Guadagino’s effusive praise for the original film in the months leading up the film’s release late last year, and his assurances that he had Argento’s blessing. In an interview in 2018, Guadagnino said, “He was very generous. He has seen the movie, but it’s not for me to relay his reaction. I can only say to you that after he saw it he called me, and it was a great call.”

Both directors are Italian, but it sounds like something was lost in translation. Nevertheless, Argento’s harsh reaction isn’t so surprising to me — he’s echoing what many critics who didn’t like the film said: that it’s too slow, too subdued, too caught up in the Cold War paranoia. But his claims that there was “no fear, there is no music” seem a little out-of-bounds: there’s plenty of fear to be found in the dread-inducing mood of Guadagnino’s slow-burn and in the sudden shocks of gore and body horror.

That it “betrayed” the spirit of the original film is something up for debate, because Guadagnino managed to make a remake that didn’t at all play like a remake. His film is better described as a “reimagining” — he essentially took the premise of Suspiria and created the horror film he wanted to make. And I admire that more than directors that slavishly try to pay homage to the original films.

Suspiria will be arriving on Blu-ray January 29, 2019. You can watch it on VOD platforms now.

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