Dario Argento's blood-soaked 1977 film Suspiria is widely regarded as one of the best horror movies of all time - but David Kajganich, writer of the upcoming remake, says he's not a fan of the movie as a narrative piece. Horror remakes are often regarded with skepticism, but most fans of the original seem excited to see this new take on the story from director Luca Guadagnino, whose lush summer romance Call Me By Your Name was nominated for Best Picture at this year's Oscars.
Suspiria stars Dakota Johnson as Susie Bannion, a dance student who enrols at an elite academy in Berlin, run by the eminently talented instructor Madame Blanc (Tilda Swinton). However, a mystery involving a missing student and a series of increasingly strange occurrences will lead Susie to the terrifying truth: that the dance academy is actually run by a coven of witches.
Speaking to the L.A. Times, Kajganich laughed as he admitted, "I’m not a fan of the original Suspiria, to be honest," knowing that saying so would attract the ire of Argento fans. He then clarified, "I’m a fan of it as an art piece, but as a narrative it makes almost no sense." It's true that the original Suspiria is better remembered for its vibrant palette, set design, chilling score, and series of shocks than for its plot, which moves from one setpiece (maggots falling from the ceiling and writhing in the dancers' hair) to another (a woman trying to escape through a window and falling into a room bizarrely filled with razor wire). That said, Kajganich's confession will likely still prove to be divisive.
The remake of Suspiria won't exactly follow the beats of the original, with Swinton explaining that it's "inspired by the same story, but it goes in different directions, it explores other reasons." We've already caught glimpses of several original characters who will be introduced in Guadagnino's version, like the mysterious Dr. Josef Klemperer. It will also bring in elements of lore that weren't introduced until Suspiria's sequel Inferno, with the recent trailer mentioning the Three Mothers.
Kajganich recently demonstrated his talent for adapting horror in the AMC series The Terror. The chilling first season of this TV show was based on the true story of the HMS Erebus and HMS Terror, two ships that were left stranded in the ice while trying to find the Northwest Passage, and follows the crew of the expedition as they struggle to survive in the bitter cold, while being stalked by a terrifying beast.
Of course, a writer doesn't necessarily need to love the original work wholly in order to produce an interesting new take on it, and if anything it might be interesting to see a version of Suspiria that's more narrative-focused. We recommend keeping an open mind until the remake arrives in theaters.
- Suspiria (2018) release date: Nov 02, 2018