Luca Guadagnino has admitted that he wants to drown his audience in terror and dread with “Suspiria,” while breaking down how he went about achieving this macabre goal.
A very loose remake of Dario Argento’s 1977 cult classic, “Suspiria” revolves around Susie Banning (Dakota Johnson) joining a German dance academy led by Tilda Swinton’s Madame Blanc, but as she rises through the ranks the school becomes incresingly dark, mysterious and dangerous.
“Every great horror movie is a movie that makes you drown in what is the uncanny, the dread, and what controls you but what you can’t control,” Guadagnino recently explained to me.
“Every great horror movie is also a reflection of violence. I think the best reflection of violence is the one in which you don’t spectacularize it but you show its most terrifying aspects.”
But what was it about the original “Suspiria” that Guadagnino wanted to explore with his gruesome and compelling version?
“It is a completely spiritual connection. I love Dario’s original. It has something to do in the way in which I was made my connection to it. I have a very spiritual connection.”
“When you love something so much, you almost want to possess it. I was thinking that with this movie I could homage an important experience of my life and use it to explore things that have been very important for me. Both emotionally and as a film.”
“I wanted to create an immersive experience. I don’t want the audience to be out of the film ever. I want them to be immersed in it. The process was complex to create that. From the script to the performances to the world that we have built and the way in which we have juxtaposed with the editing.”
One of the key components of “Suspiria” is its score from Thom Yorke. And, as you’d expect, Guadagnino only had the highest of praise for the Radiohead musician.
“The music of Thom Yorke was integral and a great protagonist in the film. That was a very neutral collaboration. He sent material before we had started shooting the film. I was very in awe of what he was presenting us. It was beautiful.”
Ultimately, though, because “Suspiria” is so provocative and uncompromising, Guadagnino is well aware that he has created a movie that will likely polarize audiences. But rather than being scared of a potential backlash, he encourages it.
“Honestly I don’t do a movie thinking how people are going to react. I do a movie thinking and making sure that an audience will be engaged and I treat them with an intelligence that an audience deserves to be treated.”
“If it is divisive that is the nature of the movie, and that is fine with me. I am not scared. I am never scared. I think as a filmmaker you can never be scared about what you are aiming to do. Never.”
“Suspiria” is in cinemas on October 26.