Suspiria remake

The Suspiria remake trailer is here at last. It’s a moody, effective, deliberately vague look at Luca Guadagnino‘s upcoming film, which also provides us with our first listen to Thom Yorke‘s score.

And it’s also worlds removed from Dario Argento‘s original. Let’s examine how.

In case you missed the Suspiria trailer, here it is in all its glory.

Suspiria Remake Trailer

On its own, this is one effective trailer. It’s loaded with ominous imagery and an atmosphere infused with dread. But perhaps the most striking element here is how different Guadagnino’s film looks compared to Dario Argento’s original. It’s too early to compare plots – no one has seen the new movie. The basic story seems to be the same, though: supernatural trouble afoot at a dance academy.

From a purely visual (and auditory) standpoint, though, the new Suspiria is far removed from Argento’s film. Just take a look at this trailer for the original film.

Original Suspiria Trailer

What stands out most here is how Guadagnino and Argento use color.

suspiria trailer screenshot

suspiria screenshot 2

The color palette in the new Suspiria is extremely muted. The first few images we see are tinged with slate grays, cold blues and muddy browns. The film looks lived-in; worn around the edges.

jessica-harper-suspiria

suspiria original

Argento goes all-in on color – a crimson red is predominant here.

dakota johnson suspiria

The closest thing we get to this in the new Suspiria is the first brightly-colored shot in the new trailer – Dakota Johnson looking directly into the camera – the maroon color of her tank top, along with the red color of her hair and her pale skin, clash with the early muted shots.

suspiria red

There are flashes of red throughout the new trailer, but it’s nothing compared to Argento’s original. Darkness is the prevailing visual theme in Guadagnino’s take on this story, while Argento wanted something richer. As American Cinematographer Magazine reveals, Argento was “inspired in part by the Technicolor grandeur of Walt Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” for the look of his film.

“I decided to intensively utilize primary colors — blue, green and red — to identify the normal flow of life, and then apply a complementary color, mainly yellow, to contaminate them,” explains original Suspiria cinematographer Luciano Tovoli. “A [horror] film brings to the surface some of the ancestral fears that we hide deep inside us, and Suspiria would not have had the same cathartic function if I had utilized the fullness and consolatory sweetness of the full color spectrum.”

Tovoli added:

“To immediately make Suspiria a total abstraction from what we call ‘everyday reality,’ I used the usually reassuring primary colors only in their purest essence, making them immediately, surprisingly violent and provocative. This brings the audience into the world of Suspiria…You say to yourself, ‘This will never happen to me because I have never seen such intense colors in my life…This makes you feel reassured and, at the same time, strangely attracted to proceed deeper and deeper into this colorful journey.”

In extremely sharp contrast, Luca Guadagnino deliberately stripped primary colors from his remake. “It has no primary colors in its color palette [unlike the original],” Guadagnino said. “It’s the opposite of [Call Me By Your Name, Guadagnino’s previous film]. Call Me is light, warm, and summer-ish, and Suspiria is winter-ish, evil, and really dark.”

I have a suspicion this is going to turn some people off. The original Suspiria is so renowned for its color scheme that Guadagnino’s wintry remake might seem jarring, even unnecessary. At the same time, it’s commendable that rather than just attempt to recreate what Argento did, Guadagnino is trying something new.

Suspiria Score

In addition to revealing the first Suspiria footage, the new trailer also gives us our first listen to the new score from Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke. The original Suspiria score comes courtesy of Italian prog rock band Goblin, and is perhaps more famous than the film itself. Goblin created most of the score before the film was even shot, which gives the music an eerie disconnect from the visuals. The synth-based music makes great use of clanging bells, drum machines and whispering voices. “I need the audience to feel that the witches are still there, even if they’re not actually on the screen,” Argento told Goblin keyboardist Claudio Simonetti during the recording of the soundtrack.

Yorke’s score, based on this trailer at least, is more droning; more atonal. There’s still synth-based music here, but it’s a lot less melodic than what Goblin created. At the same time, Yorke is clearly using sound effects underneath all the music, as well as eerie whispering. Just like the visuals, the score here seems to be emulating the original without outright copying it.

“It’s hard because I’m way out of my comfort zone, and I can’t read music so it’s not like I’m writing for orchestra. I’m building it all myself,” Yorke said, adding that he drew inspiration for his soundtrack not from Goblin’s original score, but rather the Blade Runner soundtrack composed by Vangelis:

“I watched Blade Runner twice at the weekend. ‘Oh, that sound, I could do something like that, that’s quite easy,’…’I’ll rip that bit off there and that bit there and I’ll be fine’…Vangelis, it’s his hands that made that. Which encouraged me. Because that was the thing I was finding most daunting. Normally [scoring] a horror movie involves orchestras, these specific things. But Luca [Guadagnino], the director, and Walter [Fasano], the editor, are very much, like, find your own path with it. … I just have to find a way into it.”

The bottom line: Guadagnino’s new take on Suspiria is going to be much different than Dario Argento’s original. And that’s not such a bad thing after all. We’ll always have Argento’s original to turn to. Now it’s time to see what Guadagnino and company have created.

Suspiria opens on November 2, 2018.

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