Suspiria (1977)

Food: (Drink)

Halloween Cocktail #10:

For our final film of the series, we will pair it with a cocktail that is both red and creepy like the original “Suspiria.”

Martha Stewart is a brilliant homemaker, but her cocktail names could use a lift. What she calls “Creepy Cocktail,” I will rename REDRUM.

Ingredients

Black sanding sugar
1 lime wedge
Ice
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 ounce light rum
3 tablespoons simple syrup
1/4 cup 100-percent pomegranate juice
1 ounce dark rum
Licorice spider, for garnish (optional; see Cook’s Note below)

Directions

1. Spread black sanding sugar on a saucer. Rub a lime wedge around the rim of a glass, then dip in sugar to coat. Add ice to glass.
2. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice, and add lime juice, light rum, simple syrup, and pomegranate juice. Shake 30 seconds. Strain into glass, leaving space at top. Gently pour in dark rum so it floats on top. Garnish with licorice spider tied to a stirrer.

Halloween Italian Horror Film Series #10:

“Suspiria” (1977) directed by Dario Argento is a horror masterpiece dripping in style. From the tonal lighting to the interiors, this film is all about the reds. Each corridor brings a new pattern, a unique piece of architecture, geometric wallpaper, elaborate furniture, and every moment of the film is so mesmerizing, it is impossible to look away. Argento uses the visual elements of the setting to build suspense and heighten the drama.

Taking place at Tanz Dance Academy in Freiburg, Germany, we are introduced to Suzy Bannion (Jessica Harper) on a rainy night at the airport as she arrives to her new prestigious school, when a frazzled young woman runs out the front door screaming jibberish in attempt to warn her about what she has yet to see. Partially based on Thomas De Quincey’s 1845 essay “Suspiria de Profundis,” “Suspiria” was written by Argento himself along with Daria Nicolodi, about a dance academy that is being devoured by an unforeseen supernatural presence, one murder at a time.

The film is the first of the trilogy which has become known as “The Three Mothers,” which is comprised of “Suspiria” followed by “Inferno” (1980) and “The Mother of Tears” (2007). It has had an influence on horror cinema since its release, and is considered a cult classic. The film, as well as the captivating score by Goblin (who had also worked with Argento on the score for “Deep Red” two years prior), has been considered some of the most successful horror projects of all time. It has also had a lasting impact on popular culture, including inspiring the name behind three different bands, albums, and is referenced in media such as “The Office” television series, “Juno” (2007), “Scream 4” (2011), “Terror in the Aisles” (1984 documentary), and “American Horror Story.” It also inspired a remake by Luca Guadagnino in 2018, which kept the similar base themes, but developed its own touch and visual artistry.

Dario Argento’s “Suspiria” is worth the hype. It is a measured slasher that uses every second of screen time to tell the story in the most interesting way possible. It is spellbinding (no pun intended), dazzling, arresting and impressive. Without question, this is a film that should not be missed, not only as part of the Italian horror/giallo genre, but also just as a cinematic masterpiece on its own right. A Halloween must see and a magnificent finale to the series.

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