Suzy (Jessica Harper), a young American dance student arrives in Germany during a rainstorm of biblical proportions and finds horror at a bizarre ballet school.
Shortly thereafter a woman is attacked through a window, suffocated, stabbed repeatedly through the heart and then dropped through a glass skylight and hanged by a noose.
A second woman is killed by the falling shattered skylight when a broken beam impales her to the floor and a sheet of glass slices her face in half . . . worse still, the Dance School don’t have a room ready for the American girl yet.
Luckily, she meets the dentally-challenged handyman and a woman called Olga (Barbara Magnolfi) who is to be her landlady. Suzy also has to borrow a pair of dance shoes! Which part of “Dance Student” did she not understand exactly?.
She also learns that “names that begin with the letter ‘s’ are the names of snakes” (?!).
Turns out the dance school is a mere front for a coven of witches headed by mysterious Master Suspiriorum.
A hypnotic but oh so repetitive and ear-splitting musical track – accompanied by a multitude of gratuitous hissings, sighings and groanings – wears thin after the first ten minutes as it pumps pure evil into your ears.
The fact that the plot is totally incomprehensible only adds to the hallucinogenic atmosphere.
The first chapter in Dario Argento’s Three Mothers trilogy, Suspiria is a situation rather than a story, allowing Argento to cram the narrative chasms with a sound-and-vision sense attack.
Dr Frank Mandel