When filmmaker Luca Guadagnino was on the awards circuit last year for his masterful love story Call Me by Your Name, there was a lot of interest surrounding his next film, which he had already shot: a remake of Suspiria. This new movie would be markedly different than the melancholic Call Me by Your Name, but through his career Guadagnino has proven himself to be an excitingly tactile filmmaker, bringing worlds and characters to life in phenomenally vibrant ways. So on that level, fans couldn’t wait to see what he’d do within the horror genre.
The time is almost here as Suspiria is due to have its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival later this week, and in anticipation of its debut, Guadagnino has spoken a bit more about his approach to the film. Speaking with THR, the filmmaker did not mince his words—he wants this movie to be absolutely terrifying:
“I hope that the movie comes across as a relentless experience that’s going to go deep into your skin all the way down into your spine. I want the movie to perform as the most disturbing experience you can have. The movie is about being immersed in a world of turmoil and uncompromising darkness.”
That genuinely sounds great. But Guadagnino says he also has quite a lot bubbling under the surface of this one:
“In a way Suspiria is about how you behave in the relationship between mother and daughter and what happens when the balance of power is swapped. Those are things that have always been part of my upbringing. I think that in every movie you try to find metaphors or take narrative devices to communicate the things that are most close to you.”
With regards to the witchcraft at the center of the film, Guadagnino also has some very interesting thoughts on his mind:
“I think a coven of witches comes with the concept of solidarity. If we take the historical sense of the term witchcraft, from the inquisition until the enlightenment, it was about a scandal of the bond between women in a moment in time when society couldn’t accept that. So, historically, witchcraft came with the idea of coming back to the power of women, the power of the woman as a goddess, and it has been perverted by the official history and the official religions as making a bargain with the devil. The witchcraft that I’m interested in also has a lot to do with what, psychoanalytically, is called the concept of the terrible mother, which you can see also in some religions, particularly in the Kali goddess.”
Some fans have noticed in the trailers that the color palatte of Suspiria is quite muted, not only in relation to Dario Argento’s original film, but also Guadagnino’s past films. The director says that he intentionally stayed away from primary colors in order to do something different, but promises their choice of colors will pop:
“I think Suspiria by me is extremely rich in colors, except that we went for a different take. Dario Argento and let’s face it, Luciano Tovoli, his wonderful D.P., they decided to go for an extremely expressionistic way of decoding horror, which started from the work of Mario Bava. The way in which they made those colors — not just simple gels in front of lights, they were using velvet and they were really sculpting the light — [that] has influenced filmmakers for so long. I think everything that could have been said through that style has been said.”
Last but not least, Guadangino addressed the controversy surrounding the character played by unknown actor Lutz Ebersdorf, who many believe is actress Tilda Swinton in heavy makeup. Is Lutz really Tilda?
“No, no. It’s Lutz Ebersdorf. There was all this talk about Tilda playing the role and it came out of nowhere and I don’t know why.”
You’ve gotta admire the commitment to this crazy idea.
For much more on Suspiria, check out the full interview at THR. The film also stars Dakota Johnson, Chloe Grace Moretz, Mia Goth, and Jessica Harper. Suspiria opens in theaters on October 26th.