Today’s wholly unnecessary, asinine remake – I assume that you all have your bingo cards and are playing along – is one close to my heart.
The once-promising but recently questionable director David Gordon Green is directing “Suspiria”, a remake of the classic 1977 terror trip by mentalist Italian auteur Dario Argento. Whilst his recent work has looked questionable, he does have more than one extraordinary horror film to use as a calling card – though his work often echoes Hitchcock and has a troubling undercurrent of icky misogyny, his cinematic vision has a one-of-a-kind, fever dream quality which is best described as the closest thing on celluloid to capturing the intensity and terrifying dream logic of an especially vivid nightmare.
Sure, the fact that his peak creativity is now some thirty years ago means that his films may seem dated to kids watching them now, but if you can get past the flyaway collars and Goblin‘s Prog Rock scores you’ll get to watch horror films which are – brace yourself for this notion, as it may knock you sideways – actually scary. I know, right?
Why am I so against David Gordon Green?
This was his last movie – a flick so utterly in love with its dim-witted genre send-up and beyond obvious spliff gags that it was the equivalent of watching a comedian who believes that he’s so utterly hilarious that he spends his act laughing hysterically at himself without ever letting you in on the gag. I got the distinct sense from watching it that it was the work of obnoxious, inexplicably self-regarding hipsters who think that they’re utterly above the genre they were mocking and had naught but contempt for people who liked fantasy films and literature.
Accordingly, I have no confidence that “Suspiria” will offer much more than a bad cover version of a trippy horror masterpiece and distinguish itself mostly by substituting the atmosphere and European sensibility of Argento’s film for Green’s clod-hopping, obvious sense of humour. A previous iteration of the script in 2008 had Green dialling back the weird sexuality and dream-like weirdness of Argento’s original and casting his “Your Highness“ lead actress Natalie Portman in the central role – a gambit now apparently rendered moot by her success in the not-dissimilar psycho-drama “Black Swan“.
I fully expect this to be a duff, 3D, PG-13 rated farrago which does little but drive fans back to the original and top-up Argento’s pension – great for Dario, but not exactly good news for anybody who wants to see a decent, adult horror movie.