With Suspiria, it seems writer-director Luca Guadagnino is hoping to conjure up a “relentless experience” filled with “uncompromising darkness.” Yikes.
Over on The Hollywood Reporter, Guadagnino spoke at length about his approach to the 1977 film classic, and why his upcoming remake is much more muted in its design. So whereas we’re used to seeing splashes of blood and jump scares be woven into the fabric of any modern horror movie, Suspiria is more subtle in its nature, while the filmmaker also took the time to debunk that bizarre rumor claiming that Tilda Swinton was actually playing two characters.
But first, Luca Guadagnino reiterated his desire to leave viewers rooted to the edge of their seats.
I hope that the movie comes across as a relentless experience that’s going to go deep into your skin all the way down into your spine. I want the movie to perform as the most disturbing experience you can have. The movie is about being immersed in a world of turmoil and uncompromising darkness.
And no, Tilda Swinton won’t be playing an old man in Suspiria; her primary concern will be Madame Blanc, the estranged ballet dancer who takes Susie Bannion (Dakota Johnson) under her wing… before the horror and mind-bending surrealism begins.
I think Suspiria by me is extremely rich in colors, except that we went for a different take. Dario Argento and let’s face it, Luciano Tovoli, his wonderful D.P., they decided to go for an extremely expressionistic way of decoding horror, which started from the work of Mario Bava. The way in which they made those colors — not just simple gels in front of lights, they were using velvet and they were really sculpting the light — [that] has influenced filmmakers for so long. I think everything that could have been said through that style has been said.
Luca Guadagnino closed out the interview by highlighting some of the cinematic inspirations behind Suspiria, which range from Michael Ballhaus and Rainer Werner Fassbinder, one of the proponents of the New German Cinema movement during the 20th century.
This, coupled with Suspiria‘s late-70s setting, meant Fassbinder was a natural point of reference for Luca Guadagnino and his team, and one need only look to the film’s most recent trailer reveal for evidence of that.
This is a movie about Berlin, 1977, a country that is almost on the verge of civil war, where there is a great generational divide, where the horrors of the past are confronted by the urgency and the violence of the present, a period that was called the German Autumn. We started to see the pictures of the time, and in particular the wonderful lesson of [cinematographer] Michael Ballhaus in the films of Rainer Fassbinder.
And we started to think of how a great painter like Balthus created such uncanny eeriness and fear in his amazing paintings. And that led me, my production designer Inbal Weinberg, my costume designer Giulia Piersanti and the director of photography Sayombhu Mukdeeprom to go for browns and blacks and blues and greens, all muted and juxtaposed, so that we could in a way encompass this idea of a German Autumn. That’s why the colors are not primary. They do not pop at you. I hope that they infiltrate you and they go deep into you.
Suspiria unleashes a whole new breed of terror on November 2nd, with select locations across New York and Los Angeles expected to host the Luca Guadagnino feature one week early on October 26th – just in time for Halloween.