Monday, April 9, 2007

Which Witch?

I don't have much tonight, but I thought it worth noting that I took a walk to the library this evening and happened to breeze by the video section and see Suspiria sitting on the shelf. I don't know why I grabbed it, really; I did't anticipate having much time to watch it in the near future. But I was ecstatic on the walk home. With the sun down and the wind blowing, I felt like Suzy Banyon on my approach to a prestigious German dance academy. Some people get spring fever. I get Suspiria fever.

The experience unexpectedly reawakened interest in Argento's Three Mothers Trilogy, a saga I'd only loosely followed in the past. The first time I saw Suspiria, I fell asleep within the first five minutes, a fact I attribute more to my physical state at the time and less to the power of the movie. The second time I saw it, I was sufficiently blown away and freaked out for its entire 100-minute runtime, swept up in the sheer visceral pummeling of it. I didn't come away from the film loving it, but I definitely respected it. It was one of those wonderful horror movies that I didn't particularly care to ever watch again.

So what happened tonight? I'm not sure, but I threw the tape in when I got home and have been kind of glancing at it every now and then as if I were baby-sitting it, and in the process of doing so I'm really finally beginning to appreciate it for its overt artistry. Having Suspiria playing in the background makes me feel like I'm sitting in an art gallery with a television in place of a painting. I've long thought of Tim Burton's Sleepy Hollow, another movie about a witch, as my pick for the most beautiful horror film (or at least the most beautiful modern horror film; it's hard to compare anything to some of the Universal classics from the '30s and have it rank well), but tonight I'm inclined to at least accept Suspiria as a worthy contender, if not a new champion.