Warning: Major SPOILERS for Suspiria (1977).
As the latest trailer for Luca Guadagnino's Suspiria reveals, very little in the remake of Dario Argento's horror classic is entirely what it seems. However, while the characters themselves will discover a string of twists throughout their respective journeys, it's possible that one of the film's most unexpected twists is front and center in the trailer alone.
The original Supiria is disorienting to say the least. With Argento's abstract aesthetic, the uncompromising nightmarish framework, and disorienting pace, Suspiria's narrative mystique was almost secondary. Eventually, Suzy (played by Jessica Harper) would discover that the renowned dance academy in which she's been practicing is run by a coven of witches, and that said coven was to blame for the recent string of deaths inside the school. However, it's the unconventional way in which her journey plays out that makes the movie so memorable. So, with Guadagnino's remake edging its way to theaters this fall, fans should expect a similarly unbridled approach. As it so happens, though, the remake appears to be getting a head start with its respective mystery, planting seeds for a potential twist in the trailers. And it all has to do with Tilda Swinton, a mysterious psychoanalyst-turned-actor named Lutz Ebersdorf, and an exploration into Suspiria's expanded universe known as the Three Mothers trilogy.
In the upcoming remake, Swinton is playing Suspiria's main villain, Markos Dance Academy's artistic director Madame Blanc. She's one of many witches within the dance academy's coven, with nothing but sinister intentions for the academy's newest student Susie Bannion (played by Dakota Johnson). As it so happens, though, it's been theorized that Swinton is playing yet another role: that of Dr. Jozef Klemperer. However, despite the blatant proof opposing this theory (Guadagnino has denied these rumors), there is strong evidence in its defense - namely that this mysterious Lutz Ebersdorf might not even really exist.
Tilda Swinton's Secret Role
Lutz Ebersdorf's IMDb bio details a rich history of non-acting jobs, highlighting an extensive background in philosophy and psychology. In fact, it specifically refers to Gestalt psychology (which suggests that the whole of something is more important the sum of its parts), Psychodrama (in which the dramatization of someone's life is utilized as a form of therapy), and a psychoanalytic treatment called Kleinian technique (in which the focus is aimed at mother-daughter relationships, as well as awakening the unconscious). Given that it's impossible to track down the real Ebersdorf, as well as that his personal studies just so happen to tie nicely into Suspiria's theatrical and psychological exploration of the female mind, it's not difficult to make the leap that Ebersdorf is as fictional as Suspiria's plot, and that Swinton, not this mysterious psychoanalyst, is playing Dr. Klemperer.
This would all mean that the creative minds behind Suspiria created a fake IMDb page, so as to throw off inquisitive theorists - and it wouldn't be the first time this has been done. Star Trek Discovery had created a fake IMDb profile in order to hide a major twist that fans had been theorizing over (though it ultimately wasn't successful, as fans easily figured out that it was a sham).
Who Is Dr. Klemperer?
While Swinton might be (and most likely is) playing Dr. Klemperer, it begs the question who Dr. Klemperer really is. The most likely idea is that he is essentially a reimagining of Udo Kier's Dr. Frank Mandel in the original movie. Dr. Mandel's role was to confirm that the instructors at the dance academy were evil, helping Suzy figure out a way that might defeat them, and Dr. Klemperer appears to be taking on a similar duty. That said, if this does turn out to be the case, why have Swinton play the role?
Related: Suspiria's Main Cast: Then and Now
Given that the villains in Suspiria are witches, Madame Blanc may have some kind of supernatural hold on him, which might explain the slight physical likeness; perhaps this is Guadagnino's interpretation of possession (which is already a strong theme in the trailer, with Madame Blanc saying, "When you dance the dance of another, you make yourself in the image of its creator.") However, if possession is in the cards, then this opens up the possibility that Dr. Klemperer might even share similarities to yet another character; someone who isn't in the original Suspiria, but its sequel, Inferno - a character named Varelli.
Varelli built homes for the Three Mothers (one in Germany, one in Rome, and one in New York), and was literally their slave. So, supposing Guadagnino plans on exploring the entire gamut of Argento's original trilogy in a single movie, this character may well turn out to be a strange amalgam of both Dr. Mandel and Varelli - a mostly original character who is sincerely attempting to help defeat the witches, but struggling with Madame Blanc's preternatural grasp.
If nothing else, this updated take on familiar faces would certainly help in keeping fans of the original Suspiria on their toes.
- Suspiria (2018) release date: Nov 02, 2018