I was under the hopeful impression that this project had gone the way of the Hellraiser remake, in that it’d fallen off the face of Hollywood’s bad-idea-landscape. Not so much, apparently, as David Gordon Green‘s remake of Dario Argento‘s Suspiria seems to be very much alive, and aiming for a 2010 start-date. The bad news comes from Empire Online; a reporter from the mag caught up with Italian director/producer Luca Guadagnino recently and he spilled the info that Suspiria is on good track. The plot appears to be the same as the 1977 film: a dancer from the states enrolls in a high-class ballet academy that’s secretly run by a coven of witches.
Well, “good” not being the operative word. Look, I’m a fan of David Gordon Green—-his George Washington and Snow Angels maintain their power upon each repeat viewing, and Pineapple Express is one of my favorite comedies of the last few years. I love his quirky sensibilities, clearly seen in that one Pineapple Express shot with the little girl standing by the fence and being focused upon for no obvious reason, or watching Seth Rogen and James Franco play leap-frog in the woods. He’s big on the little human touches, and that’s great. And I’m always an advocate of credible filmmakers entering the horror zone, but I’d much rather Green brings us something originally scary. If he tries too hard to top Argento’s long-drawn/brilliant murder sequences, he’ll most likely force the issue off the deep end; if he pulls back and keeps the violence a bit more naturalistic, fans of the original will have his head. It’s essentially a road to nowhere welcoming.
Remakes of classics, on the whole, piss me off just as much as every other staunchy horror lover, and condemning remakes has become both unoriginal and lazy. Argento’s Suspiria, though, is a redo that demands outspoken resistance. The original is the perfect marriage batshit insanity and visually-breathtaking direction; operatic kill scenes and unforgettable sound design. There’s absolutely no reason to try and improve on it, or even give it a fresh spin. Leave the masterpiece alone.
They aren’t, of course, so now we’ll have to play the waiting game to see how this all plays out (my guess = the first stain on Green’s resume). I’ll absolutely see Green’s Suspiria the first chance I get, whenever the hell it’s done (he’s currently shooting the Medieval Times comedy Your Highness, with Danny McBride, James Franco and Natalie Portman). I’ll just be walking into the theater with my Complain Button colored red and within a lint-piece’s reach of the finger.
Extra: At one point, the rumor was that Portman would take on the lead in this Suspiria, a casting tidbit that made total sense and (slightly) introduced some optimism. Let’s hope that Portman is officially game. The whole “ballerina enduring terror” angle is awfully close to Black Swan (the dark head-fucker that she’s currently making with Darren Aronofsky), though, so she may end up declining a second opportunity to don pink tights.
A couple of choice Suspiria ’77 scenes, after the jump: