Suspiria: A chromatic journey through Dario Argento’s horror classic

Suspiria: A chromatic journey through Dario Argento’s horror classic

For two decades I’ve had every intention of seeing Dario Argento’s 1977 horror classic Suspiria but never quite managed to get around to it. I’m a little ashamed to admit not seeing this cult film before, given its film sets have been lauded and homaged in so many movies. So, before seeing the Luca Guadagnino Suspiria remake which hits UK cinema’s this week in time for Halloween, the time was ripe to see the original (which I managed to find on Amazon Instant Video). It did not disappoint: It’s a gory, visual, colourful and stylistic masterpiece.

  • suspiria

    Suspiria DVD / Blu-ray 4K-Restored

    Director: Dario Argento

    Dario Argento’s original 1977 Suspiria is considered the most famous Italian horror film of all time for its vivid, groundbreaking style and jaw-dropping bloodshed and is now available as a recent 4K restoration. This groundbreaking horror masterpiece is a must if you’re interested in film set design and interior design.

    Shop Now

Argento’s original film is typical of the the ‘giallo’ genre made by Italian directors in the 1960s and 70s which often involved elements of mystery and the supernatural. Suspiria follows the story of Suzy Banyon an American ballerina student (Jessica Harper) who after enrolling in a German dance school, quickly realises that the school is a front for some very dark goings on. 

suspiria film set design

The plot is random and weird but strangely compelling, and from the minute Suzy reaches the exterior of the dramatic red and black Tanz Dance Academy you know you’re in for a visual assault. The lighting and film sets use of vivid, saturated colours are both alluring and unsettling. Argento’s trademark use of set-piece structures allowed the camera to linger on pronounced visual elements: Geometric patterned walls and floors, multicoloured stained glass, Art Nouveau style doors and windows, M.C. Escher reproductions, Aubrey Beardsley illustrated panels, and psychedelic furniture all sit side by side.

  • stream suspiria

    Suspiria (Watch now)

    Director: Dario Argento

    Stream Suspiria now. Dario Argento’s 1977 original 1977 is considered the most famous Italian horror film of all time for its vivid, groundbreaking style and jaw-dropping bloodshed. This groundbreaking horror masterpiece is a must if you’re interested in film set and interior design.

    Shop Now

Arengto hired cinematographer Luciano Tovoli based on his colour film tests which Argento felt matched his vision. This vision was inspired by Snow White (1937): “We were trying to reproduce the colour of Walt Disney’s Snow White; it has been said from the beginning that Technicolor lacked subdued shades, [and] was without nuances—like cut-out cartoons.” said Argento.

dario argento suspiria

This approach to cinematography, coupled with production design by Giuseppe Bassan serves to emphasise the colours, especially the predominant nightmarish red which in turn was heightened by the use of Technicolor print processing (also used in The Wizard of Oz and Gone with the Wind).

Blood red is prevalent throughout the film, but that’s not the only colour that is used. In fact, the film takes a wild trip through a saturated rainbow. Allow us to take you on a chromatic journey…

Red

suspiria film set design red
The Tanz Dance Academy exterior
suspiria film set design red
Tanz Dance Academy interior with Art Nouveau style window details
suspiria film set design red
Dance student Suzy Banyon’s bedroom

Orange and peach

suspiria film set orange
Suzy’s bathroom
Suzy’s bedroom

Yellow and gold

suspiria film set goldsuspiria film set yellow gold suspiria film set gold

Green

suspiria film set green
Suzy’s bedroom, now bathed in green light

Blue

suspiria film set blue
Tanz Dance Academy reception area
suspiria film set blue
Tanz Dance Academy swimming pool

Pink

suspiria film set design pink
Pat’s temporary abode which makes reference to Escher’s Sky and Water (1938) where fish morph into birds
Escher’s Sky and Water (1938)
Escher’s Sky and Water (1938)
suspiria film set design pink
Pat’s temporary abode
suspiria film set design pink
More Escher references in this wall art

Black and white

suspiria film set design black and white
Olga’s apartment

The black and white wallpaper (above) reminds me of Marimekko’s classic Veljekset and Siirtolapuutarha designs.

Marimekko Siirtolapuutarha and V designs available as fabrics, cushions, towels and tableware from Amara
Marimekko Siirtolapuutarha and Veljekset designs available as fabrics, cushions, towels and tableware from Amara
 

Multicolour

suspiria film sets colour multicoloured
Tanz Dance Academy rehearsal room

suspiria film sets colour multicoloured suspiria film sets colour multicoloured suspiria film sets colour multicoloured

Watch Suspiria (1977) now on Amazon Instant Video

Buy the restored 4k version on DVD/Blu-ray in UK 

Buy the restored 4k version on DVD/Blu-ray and USA

  • suspiria-mug-irisSuspiria Mug

    Suspiria Mug

    Director: Dario Argento

    As seen in:

    If you’ve seen Dario Agento’s horror classic Suspiria you’ll know the significance of these Irises. This Suspiria mug makes a perfect gift for a film fan (or to yourself).

    Approx £12.50 / $16

    Shop Now

Newsletter

Receive film and furniture inspiration
direct to your inbox

Our Privacy Policy

Newsletter

Receive film and furniture inspiration
direct to your inbox

Our Privacy Policy