In the annals of horror movie history, the cult classic reigns supreme. While there are those movies that breakthrough to the mainstream, becoming popular culture icons in and of themselves, any true fan of horror knows that you have to dig deep to find the best meat. Often shocking in both violence and the bizarre, the cult classics of horror become stepping stones in the rites of passage of becoming a true horror aficionado. Sooner or later, anyone making that journey will eventually come across Suspiria.
Writer/director Dario Argento’s classic tale of mystery and witchcraft has long be considered essential viewing for the true fans of horror cinema. There’s a kind of arthouse appeal to his story about an American ballet dancer, played by Jessica Harper (Proof), who comes to study at a famed European dance academy only to find out it’s a front for a coven of sinister witches. While viewed as a masterpiece of horror in certain circles and has become a massively influential film on the genre, Suspiria has never quite reached the mainstream in its appeal. That alone makes the film ripe for a remake.
According to a new report from Variety, the new remake of Suspiria is in full development now from director Luca Guadagnino (A Bigger Splash) and writer David Kajganich (The Terror). Additionally, Variety reports that Chloe Grace Moretz (Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising) has been cast alongside Tilda Swinton (Doctor Strange) and Dakota Johnson (Fifty Shades of Grey).
Johnson has been cast in the role originated by Harper in the 1977 original. Given her previous working relationship with Guadagnino on A Bigger Splash, it seems the two are a good fit for each other. Swinton, who also co-starred in A Bigger Splash, will take on the role of Mme. Blanc, which was played by Joan Bennett (Dark Shadows) in the original film. As of yet, Moretz’s role is yet to be revealed.
Details are slim about the direction Guadagnino will be taking his remake in, though for many Suspiria is already the perfect film. It’s difficult to imagine anyone pulling off the style and mystique of Argento’s original, so the director certainly has his work cut out for him. That being said, it’s hard to imagine a better cast for the upcoming remake, which promises to remain true to the original as much as possible.
A Suspiria remake has been tossed around now for several years. Back in 2011, David Gordon Green (Our Brand is Crisis) entered development for a remake, though the project never came to fruition. Given the weight of expectation that remaking a film like Suspiria holds, it’s easy to see why it might be difficult for a director to get the project off the ground. Still, while the original film might be a cult classic here in America, in Guadagnino’s home of Italy it’s almost considered essential viewing.
Suspiria had a massive impact on Italian film back in 1977, and while it might difficult to see direct comparisons to that film and Guadagnino’s work overall, Suspiria is often cited as a game changer for Italian cinema, and there can be no doubt that the director will at least try to live up to the massive expectation now hanging over his head.
Whether he succeeds is, of course, anyone’s guess. Given the popularity and influence of the original film, it’s not too difficult to see the remake being met with derision from both critics and fans. Still, it’s always good to wait and see before rushing to judgment, and, if nothing else, it’s possible the remake will create new awareness for the original film before it’s all said and done. That in itself would be an accomplishment, and if Guadagnino happens to make a great film in the process then all the better. We’ll keep our eyes out for any new information regarding Suspiria and will keep you posted on anything that develops.
Suspiria is expected to arrive sometime in 2017.