Article 1787 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 2-4-2006
Posting Date: 7-4-2006
Directed by Dario Argento
Featuring Jessica Harper, Stefania Casini, Flavio Bucci
An American woman arrives at a ballet academy and discovers that several people associated with the academy are dying in horrible ways. She begins to figure out the dread secret of the academy…
This is only the second Dario Argento movie I’ve seen, and it’s considered by many to be his best and one of the scariest movies ever made. Is it the scariest movie ever made? I wouldn’t rate it quite that high; the heavy stylistic touches that flood this film tend to (for me, anyway) detract a little from the scare value of the movie. However, the stylistic touches are almost deliriously intoxicating, and they go a long ways towards making up for the fact that the story doesn’t hold up to close inspection. Still, I do think it’s a great movie, and I like Goblin’s music here a lot more than I did in DEEP RED , though I don’t think it’s always used as wisely as it should be; there’s a scene near the beginning which would have been a lot scarier had there been no music at all. There are a few moments here that reminded me of other witch movies; Suzy’s special diet as prescribed to her by a doctor brought back memories of the diet prescribed to Rosemary by her doctor in ROSEMARY’S BABY, and there are moments surrounding the death of the blind man that made me recall BURN, WITCH, BURN . What I like best about the movie is the way the use of color and light can sometimes make the horror very subtle indeed. Horror fans should also be able to recognize Udo Kier and Joan Bennett in the cast. The movie also featured Alida Valli, who was at one time dubbed “The Next Garbo”, and who passed away only a few months ago.