Cinematography: Suspiria

Director: Dario Argento
Cinematographer: Luciano Tovoli

Lately I’ve been an avid viewer of Pretty Little Liars. The show got me hooked since I watched its fifth season. What attracted me to the show is its giallo effect. Pretty Little Liars (“PLL” to its fans) is very reminiscent of those giallo movies, also known as Italian horror movies that incorporate “psychological themes of madness, alienation, sexuality and paranoia.” Giallo movies — especially those directed by Dario Argento (aka Asia’s dad) — also employ “candy-colored” cinematography, eerie music, and exaggerated performances. In short, campy.

Without further PLL-ing, and since I’ve mentioned Argento, here are some of the best frames from Suspiria — Argento’s well-known film, and probably the most popular of all the giallo movies. (The word “suspiria” is Latin for “sighs.”)

Suspiria is a 1977 gialli about Suzy Bannion (Jessica Harper), a ballerina who goes to a ballet school in Italy. After experiencing macabre occurrences in the school, Suzy finds out that the campus is actually a coven of witches. Therefore, Suzy has to do everything she can to get out of there; otherwise she’ll be kaput.
The film is campy to the point of being quite hilarious. What made it scary are its photography and music. Cinematographer Lucian Tovoli’s work for this film is visually stunning; it’s as if you’re watching a stage play rather than a movie. The set designers also deserve some kudos; the settings make up about 80% of the film’s aesthetic quality.
Kinda reminds me of Magritte’s The Empire of Lights
The red room
The film’s dominant colors are red and blue. Red for blood, blue for imminent danger.
This particular color technique was also utilized in Gus Van Sant’s remake of Hitchcock’s Psycho.
A classic in horror movies, the “door opening moment” gets quite a new twist.
A scene that heavily relies on the set design and frame composition.

Suspiria looking like an animated film
Yay! A rainbow peacock!
DISCLAIMER: No copyright infringement intended. I don’t own or claim to own any of the photos used.


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