There are certain films that should remain sacred. More often than not, those concerns are completely ignored by Hollywood and we’re given lackluster updates of films that were absolutely perfect the way they were. Here’s lookin’ at you 2016’s MARTYRS.
Anyone who considers themselves a connoisseur of horror will sing the praises of Dario Argento, the Italian master of giallo cinema. His most famous work, the incredibly beautiful and utterly haunting SUSPIRIA has, since its release, been lauded as a remarkable achievement in artistic filmmaking as a whole. Horror or not, SUSPIRIA is a demonstration of pure talent. From the vivid color palettes, to the dizzying camera work, to the superb acting; every aspect of the film shines like a beautifully cut diamond.
The eerie story about a ballet student who unwittingly attends a haunted school debuted in 1977 and has been delighting and terrifying audiences for the last 39 years. Being as successful a film as it is, it’s also been on the shortlist for a remake for the better part of a decade. Recently, we learned that the project had fallen into the hands of director Luca Guadagnino (THE LANDLORDS, ANTONIA) who said that Tilda Swinton (ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE, SNOWPIERCER, DOCTOR STRANGE) and Dakota Johnson (FIFTY SHADES OF GREY, BLACK MASS) had been cast as the film’s leads.
According to an article and interview posted by Indiewire, all of this is news to the 75-year-old director who’s currently serving as President of the “Filmmakers of the Present” jury at the Locarno Film Festival.
In the interview, he openly expresses his concerns about the remake:
“I’ve waited for this project to come about for so many years. The copyrights were bought about seven years ago. First they belonged to 20th Century Fox, and then they were handed over to some other companies, and so on. But what’s really absurd — really unbelievable — is that I have never, ever been asked about it. I mean, I never got a call or anything asking me about casting, locations, whatever. I know nothing about this project except what I read in the papers. I repeat: I have never, ever been asked about it.”
When asked about what advice he would give, he mentions that he’d be open to giving some insight on the screenplay, the script, and the shooting locations.
Based on recent speculations, the film is set to be shot again in Europe. Argento, who mentions how much time he spent with the location scout back in ’77, said he’d also be able to “provide useful advice” in regards to that.
All in all though, he made one point very clear:
“Honestly, I do think it would be better if it wasn’t remade.”
When asked why he was opposed to it, Argento pointed to the mood of the original film:
“The film has a specific mood. Either you do it exactly the same way — in which case, it’s not a remake, it’s a copy, which is pointless — or, you change things and make another movie. In that case, why call it SUSPIRIA?”
All in all, Argento raises several good points. We’ve seen a few examples of shot-for-shot remakes that have proven to be relatively successful (the 2007 remake of Michael Haneke’s FUNNY GAMES comes to mind). However, whether or not they were necessary continues to be a point of contention with many.
To most, myself included, remaking something like SUSPIRIA seems borderline blasphemous. And with the mastermind behind the original showing concern for the project, maybe it’s a good time for Hollywood to step back and re-examine the point of it all.
Regardless, it seems as though the reconstruction of the 1977 giallo classic is underway and only time will tell whether or not it deems itself worthwhile. Until then, we’ll just happily continue to revisit the chillingly beautiful original as Argento himself intended.
What do you think about the prospect of a SUSPIRIA remake? Is it long overdue or is it just another Hollywood money grab? Let us know in the comments below.
As always, we’ll continue to provide updates on the project as things develop.
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