Archive for the ‘Movie Reviews’ Category

Monstrous Affections – David Nickle (2009)

December 7, 2018

I picked up David Nickle’s horror short collection Monstrous Affections mistakenly thinking he was another author whose work I read in another anthology. Basically I was in the mood for some good horror and wanted to try something other than my ‘go to’ Stephen King pile. While it was a case of mistaken author I’m glad to say the error was a fortuitous one as I enjoyed this collection. I thought that the first entry, The Sloan Men, was easily the best story in the lot and the one story indicative of the great cover art on this book in case you were as curious about that face as I was. (Credit artwork to Erik Mohr).

Here’s a rundown of the stories:

 

The Sloan Men

Meeting your boyfriend’s parents for the first time is always a touchy and nerve fraught affair. Moreso if your boyfriend and his father are actual monsters only you did not know it despite the clues.

 

Janie and the Wind

This Wendigo story is told from the point of view of a rather naive woman made a virtual prisoner on a secluded island by her mate. I did find that the story was creepy at first but loses a bit of its luster towards the end.

 

Night of the Tar Baby

An ex-con has picked up a few tips on mystical powers while in the slammer and raises the power of a Tar Baby to protect his family from evil. But as some members of the family soon find out, a Tar Baby does not discriminate between outside threats and those in the family itself. What is a Tar Baby you ask? Must read this to find out and you won’t be disappointed.

 

Other People’s Kids

Fezkul is a devilish imp that only children can see and who readily do his bidding. Even murder. But Sam is on the cusp of adulthood and this borderline state gives him the rare opportunity to save a popular roadside grill and park from Fezkul. A literal coming of age story that includes a bit of lighthearted comedy.

 

The Mayor Will Make a Brief Statement and Then Take Questions

A one-pager story on the hit-and-run death of a child. But buried (deep) in the mayor’s soliloquy is a subtle hint of unstated paranormal horrors.

 

The Pit-Heads

A tale of life friendship among a group of artists and how embracing vampirism may be beneficial to honing their craft while redefining ‘lifelong’. The pit-heads referred to by the title are the mine entrance sheds in which the take refuge.

 

Slide Trombone

Head scratching tale of a doped up Led Zeppelin cover band that can’t figure out how and why they have a trombone player. And then there’s the trout swimming in the bathtub. I did say it was a head scratcher.

 

The Inevitability of Earth

Another very odd tale of a young dreamers anguished life mission to find his long gone grandfather who just “flew away” one day while his family tries to keep him well … grounded.

 

Swamp Witch and the Tea-Drinking Man

This is clearly a fantasy story of a so called ‘swamp witch’ who has snatched and held a town in time. But her time has come when the ‘Tea-Drinking’ man has made the same bargain with the devil. Fantasy has never been my cup of Tea so it’s not surprising that this was my least favorite story.

 

The Delilah Party

When a sex cult tries to set up an emotionally unstable young boy for a tryst with his long time infatuation, they get more than they bargained for.

 

Fly in Your Eye

Single pager exactly fitting the title with a little shocker for an ending.

 

Polyphemus’ Cave

When a renown gay actor returns home upon receiving a telegram of father’s death the ensuing investigation on the exact circumstances include a circus, a soul-sucking giant cyclops and a circus. Guaranteed to be the strangest coming out story you’ll ever read.

 

The Webley

This would fit nicely in a Stephen King collection as it is a story about some kids in a small town, a gun (the titular Webley) and a dog. My only problem was the too abrupt ending as I really wanted more.

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Movie Reviews 371 – Billy Jack (1971)

November 30, 2018

Billy Jack was something of cult favorite film that was made by political activist and auteur Tom Laughlin after him seeing firsthand the treatment and plight of American First Nations. Made on a shoestring budget and bandied about across a number of studios over a lengthy production period, the film would eventually be released as an independent film by the writer, director and star Laughlin himself. While the film ended up being a great success from a return point of view, sadly the realities depicted by the subject matter in the film still hold true today.

The film has Billy Jack (Laughlin), a half indian, Vietnam veteran Green Beret as the self imposed defender of a progressive “Freedom School” being run by his girlfriend Jean (Delores Taylor, Laughlin’s real life wife) against redneck mustang poachers from the nearby town. The poachers are led by Stuart Posner, the town heavy who has most of the town council in his pockets but even worse than the elder Posner is his son Bernard (David Roya) who despises the natives even more than he hates his own father.

The troubles really begin when the free living daughter of a Sheriff’s deputy – a man working on the side for Posner – gets pregnant and, after a violent confrontation with her father, seeks refuge at the school. While the law and town council suspect the natives of harbouring the girl their searches prove fruitless. Meanwhile Billy, as protector of the school, has run-ins with Stuart, his henchmen, and son Bernard on several occasions.

But when Bernard crosses the line and commits atrocious crimes against a number of people connect with the school including Jean, Billy’s rage gets the best of him and he deals with Bernard such that he will never be a problem again. This leads to a standoff with Billy held at the school while surrounded by law officials. But Billy is not one to give up easily and as the minutes tick by he serious weighs the idea of going out in a final blaze of glory instead of being imprisoned for years to come at the hands of a corrupt system.

To be fair this movie is really rough around the edges which makes watching cringe worthy at times. The largely young cast provide mostly painful cardboard cutout acting. Several scenes are just the kids acting out nearly incomprehensible skits (including a very young Howard Hesseman) which are not only boring but excruciatingly long. While Laughlin himself is not that bad, even his character is remains fairly unidimensional. More troubling is the oft cited mixed messages dispensed by the film. Jean is the die-hard pacifist at odds with Billy whose good intentions are backed up by high flying kicks and the agility to take on mobs of assailants. One of the few respectable town residents is none other than the sheriff, who is indeed a laudable lawman, but in the end he too is forced stand against Billy. Even the detestable Bernard is first introduced as a gun wary boy who is one of the few willing to confront to his forceful father, only to become worse than him. While the film intends to side with the kids (the school in fact been portrayed as a hippie commune that were popular in the day), they sometimes come off as obnoxious and biased as the rednecks.

But there is plenty of good stuff to enjoy as well. The motorcycle riding Billy shows off some remarkable (if exaggerated) combat skills that captured audiences that had yet to be exposed to the martial arts films that would soon flood the market – mainly thanks to the talents of Bruce Lee – and give rise to the Kung Fu mania that followed. The scene where Billy confronts Stuart Posner – declaring “I’m going to take this right foot and I’m going to whup that side of your face. And you know something? There’s not a damn thing you can do about it.” – and then doing exactly what he said, is a pure classic. There is also a memorable scene when Billy takes some time out for a ritual which entails going head to head with a rattler and having to endure it’s bites in order to become ‘brother of the snake’.

Technically, this is a sequel to Laughlin’s film The Born Losers in which the Billy Jack character first appeared and the success of this one also led to the inferior The Trial of Billy Jack. It’s hard for me to say that this is still a must see film for either those interested counterculture media or martial arts devotees. But I certainly got a kick out of it. Many, many kicks to sure.

Movie Reviews 370 – Seconds (1966)

November 24, 2018

I vaguely recall reading about the movie Seconds in some older Science Fiction film books over the years and also have run across it being discussed in some Horror forums but have not had the chance to watch it until now. Now having seen it I can understand how it loosely fits both genres and in fact can very much be considered a psychological thriller, and even more surprisingly an art house film as well. This one certainly fits many niches and delivers the goods for each one.

A well-to-do elder businessman finds himself nearing the end of a fruitful career but in loveless marriage and with nothing to show for his life when he gets a call from a supposedly dead friend with an interesting offer. It is the opportunity to drop out of life completely (including a having a faked death) and to undergo a radical rejuvenating surgical procedure that will transform him into a young man again, ready to start life anew.

At first Art Hamilton (John Randolph) is incredulous that Charlie (Murray Hamilton) is indeed his deceased friend an must be convinced. But once satisfied he enters a nefarious world of secret messages, covert transport, hidden offices, and a secretive corporation behind it all

While still a bit reluctant, he buys into the hard sell by “Mr. Ruby” (Jeff Corey) and after a prolonged session of surgeries and physical therapy emerges as Tony Wilson (Rock Hudson), complete with a fabricated background and home in an isolated resort to slowly integrate into his new life. He finds it difficult at first but a chance encounter on a beach with a vibrant young woman (Salome Jens) slowly changes his mind. Maybe he can adapt and enjoy life again? All goes well until a party is held at the resort where a little too much alcohol has Tony slipping out a few things about his past, breaking a cardinal rule of those who are ‘seconds’. Suddenly everyone there turns on him, but he is able to slip out and make a run.

The corporation eventually tracks him down and after a lot of discussion agree to another ‘rebirth’. But as he is shuffled into a room of men that seem to just pass the time, he runs into Charlie who is also waiting for another rebirth himself. Only when Tony is told that he is about to get his turn again does he discover one of the conditions that the corporation needs to address in order to perform their ‘service’. And Tony fits the bill.

This film has the semblance of a prolonged old Twilight Zone episode complete with some drawn-out ambiguity and mystery and ending with a crashing finale. All that but with the higher production values and a few other differences. One glaring difference is the abundant group nudity in a particular Woodstock-esque scene (hey, it was the sixties) that ends up being a turning point for Tony. There certainly was never any of that in the Twilight Zone!

Story aside, the cinematography is mesmerizing with lots of lens effects and the use of innovative, but highly appropriate angle shots and lighting. Some may get a kick seeing Will Geer (grandpa on The Waltons) and Richard Anderson (Oscar from The Six Million Dollar Man) in small but critical roles.

A top notch, somewhat obscure Science Fiction thriller that is quite riveting. Despite the title truly a timeless movie.

Movie Reviews 369 – A Tale of Two Sisters (2003)

November 16, 2018

A Tale of Two Sisters is a Korean horror that takes the concept of flipping a story on it’s head to extremes. Much like Shyamalan’s The Sixth Sense where a pivotal point of the story has the viewer reexamining everything that they had seen prior to that event because the point of reference changed the entire story, this film does it not once, but twice.

It begins two sisters, Soo-mi (Lim Soo-Jung) and Soo-yeon (Moon Geun-young), arriving at home from some unexplained long term visit elsewhere. Soo-mi is the defiant, feisty one who clearly hates her stepmother (Yum Jung-ah) while being protective of her younger, quiet and simple headed sister. The stepmother lashes at Soo-mi almost as soon the girls arrive, trying to assert herself as the matriarch ruler of the house but Soo-mi will have none of it and stands her own ground defiantly. Standing between them is the father (Kim Kap-su) who has lost control over the household to the bickering women.

But the battles are interspersed with odd events indicating that something is not right. There are hints of abuse of Soo-yeon and the stepmother rants crazed stories at a family gathering where everyone else are clearly not at ease. But who is crazy, Soo-mi or the stepmother and more importantly why? Even after the first big reveal there are many unanswered questions that remain including the full extent of the horror that put the family in this dysfunctional state.

The movie does use some of the tropes of K-Horror (and J-Horror for that matter) that we’ve become familiar with over the last decade or so (the long hair hiding the girl’s faces, stark flashbacks, etc) but this is mostly new ground filmmaking with a powerful supporting story. Low on gore relying on the psychological, the finale is brilliant and puts everything into perspective.

This is the first feature by director Kim Jee-Won that I’ve seen only having been exposed to his segment in Three Extremes II before, but if this film is any indication of his talents I will certainly be on the lookout for more. I have the Tartan Asia Extreme 2 disc DVD box set which is filled with extra interviews by the entire cast, but as much I as hoped the film plot would be elaborated on, none of the extra features are all that interesting and they can be skipped. But do watch this movie.

Movie Reviews 368 – Gaslight (1944)

November 9, 2018

You hear the term gaslighting more and more these days. While in a manner it has been around ever since people have lied and manipulated one another, the term now sadly applies to political parties and partisan groups subjecting it to the masses.

According to Wikipedia:

 “Gaslighting is a form of psychological manipulation that seeks to sow seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or in members of a targeted group, making them question their own memory, perception, and sanity. Using persistent denial, misdirection, contradiction, and lying, it attempts to destabilize the victim and delegitimize the victim’s belief.”

If you’ve ever wondered how the word for a turn of the century mode of household illumination became synonymous with deceit and imbalance look no further than the 1944 production of the multi-Oscar film Gaslight directed by George Cukor.

A young London girl is subjected to the murder of her famous opera singer mother when a thief failed to get some jewels they were seeking. Now grown up and living in Italy Paula (Ingrid Bergman) falls for a Gregory Anton (Charles Boyer) a French aristocrat who sweeps her off her feet . The two soon marry and Anton sways Paula into returning to her mother’s house despite her long held revulsion for the house since the murder.

But it was not chance that led her to meeting Gregory and neither was it coincidental that they have moved back to her old home. Anton, seemingly the loving and caring husband, is slowly and deliberately influencing his wife to doubt her sanity while keeping her isolated from prying eyes and ears. His goal, simple enough, is to have her declared insane so that he can get his hands and what the thief wanted all those years ago.

What makes the plot remarkable is the subtlety in which Paula is manipulated, not by elaborate tricks but mostly by minor events and treatment. With the help of the house servant (Angela Lansbury) her husband also maneuvered into being hired – and with whom he was having an affair with – Anton picks up on the slightest opportunity to induce doubt in Paula. While he does stage a few misplaced objects he devilishly creates an entire living environment mimicking a virtual prison in which Paula’s own mind does the most damage to her sanity.

This is a great film from beginning to end and one that the entire cast shines, but just like it’s own plot, the history of the film itself includes a bit of attempted skulduggery. While the film was based on a play named Angel Street,  the initial movie rights where sold to a lower budget studio English studio which made the film four years prior to this version. But when MGM bought the remake rights to make this one, it also attempted to eliminate every trace of the first going so far as trying to get all prints and the negatives destroyed.

Lucky for me that my Warner Home Video DVD includes both versions because word is that the original is not only closer to the original play, but in some ways even superior to this version that has garnered all the accolades over the years.

That’s right. We’ve been gaslit as an an audience.

Movie Reviews 367 – The Final Countdown (1980)

November 2, 2018

A few years before Swedish rock band Europe had a mega-hit with their song The Final Countdown I was sitting in a movie theater watching Kirk Douglas (101 and still kicking today I should add) in one of his last major starring roles. But The Final Countdown here is a bit of an oddity both for what we seen on screen; a Sci-Fi film which included Martin Sheen, Katherine Ross, Charles Durning and James Farentino – none of which you would associate with the genre including Douglas – and offscreen based on a behind the scenes revelation that I happened to pick up reading the credits.

The plot is simple enough. We have a modern day (well 1980 modern day) atomic powered US aircraft carrier, the Nimitz, with a full complement of supersonic jets, all armed to the teeth operating off the coast of Pearl Harbor when then are engulfed by a sudden unexplainable fierce magnetic storm vortex which appears to have brought them back in time. But not just any date. They are brought back to December 6th 1941. The day before the infamous surprise attack by the Japanese on the US naval base there which annihilated the entire US Pacific fleet and which forced the US to enter the fray of World War II.

This was an event that clearly changed history and now the captain (Douglas) must decide whether he should use the might of the carrier and aircraft at his disposal to circumvent the attack and alter history. Despite the fact that many lives will be clearly be saved by circumventing the attack, the change will also have an impact on how the war plays out. Would that mean the hindering or delaying the US involvement would allow the Axis to win? Not an easy decision to make regardless. I guess you’d call it a lose-lose proposition.

Star power aside, what makes this movie a fascinating watch is the powerful footage of both the carrier and it’s dizzying array of aircraft. Even after all these years the footage caught is quite mesmerizing. The production crew had almost full access to the ship and it is evident that many of the action scenes were clearly staged to showcase their capabilities. You can easily call this an armed forces recruiting device and I’m sure that was the intent in providing that special access in the first place.

Where the film does falter is how the eventual conclusion on what to do is practically hoisted into the plot after having a decent buildup of suspense. It’s a cheap cheat only partially rescued by a small time-anomaly final scene.

And that behind the scenes surprise I mentioned? While perusing the credits I happened to notice the name of Lloyd Kaufman listed as associate producer, production manager and even a minor playing role. Could this be THE Lloyd Kaufman of Troma studios fame who gave us such classics as The Toxic Avenger, Class of Nuke ‘Em High, and Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead? Yep, the one and only. Turns out that this was the movie that was the tipping point that turned him away from mainstream studios and embark on his now legendary B movie career.

Fun to watch for sure, despite the mediocre handling. And if nothing else you can play ‘spot Uncle Lloyd’ while watching some pretty amazing acrobatics.

Movie Reviews 366 – The Boys From Brazil (1978)

October 27, 2018

It’s hard to imagine that a movie featuring an all star cast of consisting such exalted actors that include Gregory Peck, Sir Laurence Olivier and James Mason could be anything other that an austere melodrama dealing with only the most serious of storylines. But The Boys from Brazil shakes off some the Shakespearean plaudits, first as a quasi B-movie science fiction, horror melange that dabbles in Nazi cloning experiments and secondly by also featuring Police Academy alumni Steve Guttenberg in a pivotal role.

Wannabe Nazi hunter Barry Kohler (Guttenberg) believes he has stumbled upon some evil plot in Paraguay and even believes he has found the Angel of Death himself, notorious Auschwitz concentration camp human experimenter Dr. Joseph Mengele (Peck). When he makes a frantic stateside call to renown Nazi hunter Ezra Lieberman (Olivier), Ezra’s response is basically “Tell me something that I and the rest of the world don’t already know!”.

But as the call ends with a chilling scream Ezra’s conscience gets the better of him and he does start investigating. What he finds is more puzzling than it is disturbing. The fact that remnants of the Nazi regime are murdering a select group 94 men across the globe that are exactly 65 years old and all civil servants and with no other apparent link including either political affiliations, religion or knowledge of one another. The shocking truth is no less than a diabolical attempt by surviving Nazis hoping to establish a fourth Reich! But how does killing 94 seemingly innocent men fit in with all this?

Based on Ira Levin’s (of Rosemary’s Baby fame) novel of the same name, this movie is not all Nazi intrigue as there are welcome moments of levity, most notably in a scene with Rosemary Harris (aunt May from the Spiderman film series) as an unapologetic young widow flaunting her wares to a much older Olivier.

I can’t say that these actors are all in top form as the concept is somewhat far fetched while based on some dodgy science and even more implausible situations, even beyond Guttenberg trying to be serious. Still, I enjoyed it 30 years ago and I enjoyed it again with this recent rewatch. I did find it ironic that Olivier, found chasing Mengele here had played the role of a similar Nazi doctor himself in Marathon Man only two years earlier. For his part, Peck was said to have relished the idea of playing the doctor as a welcome change from his usual Goody Two Shoes roles. It may not have hit the mark but it was certainly different.

Movie Reviews 365 – These are the Damned (1963)

October 12, 2018

 

Famed British production company Hammer Studios ruled horror cinema during the late sixties and early seventies with their lush and bloody Gothic offerings featuring stars like Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing. But in the earlier days the studio produced more mainstream thrillers, film noir and even Science Fiction films, underpinned by the magnificent Doctor Quatermass series.  One of those oft overlooked gems includes These are the Damned (released in North America simply as The Damned).

An mid aged American businessman visiting a small English seaport village is drawn by a beautiful young girl into an alley where he is brutally beaten and robbed by a gang of motorcycle riding hooligans led by the girls dominating brother King (Oliver Reed). Somewhat remorseful Joan (Shirley Anne Field) befriends Simon (Macdonald Carey) who not only still wants the girl, but hopes to rescue her from the clutches of her ruthless brother.

Escaping King, Joan brings Simon to safe haven she has frequented before, a remote house atop a seaside cliff, but the house is that often used by Freya (Viveca Lindfors) a sculptress who interrupts the couples interlude. Leaving the house Joan and Simon are chased by King and his boys but military personnel are scattered around the cliffside and intercept the two before King can get to them. They later learn they’ve  stumbled upon a highly secretive military operation run by Freya’s husband Bernard (Alexander Knox) in which a handful of kids have been kept completely isolated within chambers in the cliff. But these are no ordinary children as Joan discovers their ice cold skin and complete lack of basic common knowledge and how even Bernard only communicates with them via televised sessions.

The secret of the children may be a key to surviving the cold war’s nuclear crisis but the answer is so disdainful that Freya cannot even believe her own husband is behind the plan. But stumbling upon the children has even more immediate consequences.

This is a quirky one that begins as a rough and tumble troubled youth story that suddenly changes cadence to a dark science fiction mystery. One moment were listening to a rockabilly tune that goes “Black leather. Black leather. Rock rock rock” (trust me it’s catchy and played for all it’s worth) and suddenly we’re dealing with ignorant kiddie captives and military hide-and-seek. Oliver Reed’s King undergoes a similar transition from powerful angry young man to a blabbering and scared wimp.

I had to dig into the background of this one as it reminded me of so much of Village of the Damned (based on John Wyndham’s 1957 The Midwich Cuckoos) that I wondered if one was riding the coattails of the other. As These are the Damned was itself being based on the novel The Children of Light by H.L. Lawrence written in 1962 I have to give Village of the Damned props and readily admit that it (both novel and movie) are better.

It may be inferior but if you like Village of the Damned, spooky kids, or atomic age stories, you’ll enjoy this one.

 

Movie Reviews 364 – Bloodsport (1988)

October 5, 2018

I dread watching Jean-Claude Van Damme (or simply JCVD as he has come to be known*) films with a passion. While the man has undisputable martial arts credentials, when it comes to thespian capabilities the cardboard Belgian actor with the curdling English accent has less credible emotion than a waffle. But there was one particular film of his, Bloodsport, that acquaintances had sworn was not only marginally better but actually used the word “good” which was enough to persuade me to give it a spin.

As a non-Asian adopted into a family that had earned respectability as martial arts fighters in the annual secret Kumite tournament, Frank Dux (JCVD) is forced to represent the family and his father’s honour when his adoptive brother dies and the legacy is threatened. His commitment is such that he temporarily deserts his post in the US army to attend the underground tournament. There he must contend with those skeptical of his skills and most of all the hulking reigning champion Chong Li (Bolo Yeung) who will win at all costs.

But Frank is not alone as he quickly makes friends with dim witted but towering American Ray Jackson (Donald Gibb) a fellow competitor, and reporter Janice Kent (Leah Ayres) who is trying to crack the secretive ritual for headlines. And tailing Frank throughout are Helmer and Rawlins (Forest Whitaker), bumbling officers trying to nab the AWOL army captain and hoping to prevent him from fighting in the tournament.

Now you’d think that the fighting sequences would be the highlights of the film but anyone who is even remotely familiar with martial arts films will be thoroughly unimpressed here as the array of international gladiators take to the mat in hand to hand combat. But I have to admit that some of JVCD’s moves and even practice rituals were impressive. But what I found most entertaining in all the melees was the charismatic Chong Li as his impressive build was used to pound opponent after opponent while having the betting crowd chant his name with every victory.

The melodrama is as sappy and artificial as the fights and in many scenes its JCVD that is the weakest link making watching this barely tolerable. When I heard that Frank’s last name was “Dux” and pronounced “Dukes” I groaned at what I thought was silly faux pugilist name being used to match the character. But as I watched the trailing credits and Blu-ray extra features I learned that this was in fact a film based on a real Frank Dux as incredulous as it sounds.

So do the few good parts make it worthwhile you watching this film? My answer is JCVD. Just Can’t Vouch for this Dreck.

*Enter JCVD into the Wikipedia search bar in it’ll bring you directly to his entry!

Movie Reviews 363 – Suspiria (1977)

September 29, 2018

SUSPIRIA, poster art, 1977

While Mario Bava can be considered the grandfather of Italian Horror, Dario Argento just as easily can assume the mantle of giallo cinema maestro. But oddly, Argento’s best films are not his giallo’s but his pure horror oeuvres, and topping them all is his masterpiece Suspiria.

An aspiring ballet dancer from New York (Jessica Harper) travels to Germany and arrives in the middle of the night in pouring rain at the doors of the prestigious Tanz dance academy. As Suzy ascends the stairs to present herself another delirious eyed student is exiting while muttering some incomprehensible warning. When Suzy rings she is told that there is no one by her name expected at the school, leaving her out in the cold.

The escaping student makes her way to a friends apartment where she is terrorized, drawn to the rooftop only to be tangled by a cord and dropped through the stained glass foyer ceiling, killing not only her but her confidante.

The next day Suzy is finally brought into the school and immediately notes the cold reception by many of the girls and miss Tanner one of the instructors with a Nazi demeanor and the looks to match. But she does make friends with Sara (Stefania Casini) who confides that the student who died had warned her that something was amiss. As Suzy begins her dance classes she tells the instructors that she is not feeling well but is none the less goaded to continue and soon faints. But this is but a pretense to keep Suzy under the eye of Madam Blanc (Joan Bennett) who runs the academy. Under the medical supervision of the school doctor (Udo Kier) Suzy is  drugged but wise enough to continue her snooping even after her only friend Sara disappears under mysterious circumstances. Suzy eventually learns the secret hidden behind the walls of the school, but can she do anything about it?

Brimming with horror clichés of faraway footsteps, hidden passageways, clues that must be twisted to make sense, gargoyle fixtures and bloody encounters by the handful, Suspiria also brought new life to the genre by Argento’s bold use of pulsating colors, Masonic emblems and lush lodgings (pink Deco!) befitting Alice in Wonderland, all captured with masterful camera work. The horrors include maggot infestations, canine casualties, and razor wire trampling to name a few. As good as all that, no mention of this film can be complete without lauding the immaculate score by Italian prog-rock Goblin (credited as The Goblins).

Written by Argento and Daria Nicolodi (his wife at the time and mother of their daughter, actress Asia) Suspiria was the first of the The Three Mothers trilogy which included Inferno and The Mother of Tears  which he only completed in 2007, 30 years after Suspiria. Needless to say, this was not my first viewing of this classic, but even so it was only this time around that I noticed the distinct influence of The Exorcist here. All that to say that this movie never ceases to surprise.