Suspiria (1977) Movie Poster

Trivia for Suspiria (1977)

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  • This was the final film of Joan Bennett.
  • A glass feather is plucked from an ornament. Director Dario Argento's feature film debut was directing The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (1970).
  • According to Jessica Harper, since the film was going to be dubbed after principal photography, sound was rarely recorded during shooting. Harper remarked that it was strange to her to be in the middle of shooting a scene and hearing the background sound of a stagehand hammering away on another set in the studio.
  • For the wide shots of the "maggots" falling from the ceiling, the crew would drop grains of rice down onto the actresses from above.
  • Originally, the film was going to star Daria Nicolodi, who was director Dario Argento's girlfriend at the time and who also wrote the screenplay. Nicolodi ultimately did appear in the film twice; she can be glimpsed in the film's opening sequence that shows Suzy walking through the airport, and she also provides the gravelly voice of Helena Markos.
  • Director Dario Argento cast Joan Bennett as Madame Blanc because of her association with director Fritz Lang, who Argento greatly admired.
  • Director Dario Argento had cinematographer Luciano Tovoli watch Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) to have him model the color scheme of that film for this one.
  • Eva Axén, who played the part as Pat Hingle, had to stay on the set over one week to complete her scenes.
  • The voice heard whispering on the bizarre soundtrack by Goblin is that of Goblin band member Claudio Simonetti. Simonetti stated in interviews that much of what he whispers on the music score was just gibberish.
  • Director trademark: [Dario Argento] Murder victim crashes through window.
  • Fulvio Mingozzi played a cab driver in this film and also in its sequel, Inferno (1980).
  • Director Dario Argento's original idea was that the ballet school would accommodate young girls no older than twelve years. However, the studio and producer Salvatore Argento (his father) denied his request because a film this violent involving children would almost certainly be banned. Dario raised the age limit of the girls to twenty years but did not rewrite the script, hence the naiveté of the characters and the occasionally childlike dialogue. He also put all the doorknobs at about the same height as the actress' heads so they would have to raise their arms in order to open the doors, just like children.
  • The Dario Argento biography "Broken Mirrors, Broken Minds" takes its title from the line that Udo Kier says in this film.
  • This film was the first part (with Inferno (1980) and Mother of Tears (2007)) of a trilogy of movies about the "Three Mothers."
  • In an interview, Jessica Harper said that many of the actors spoke different languages during shooting, mostly Italian and German, and it would make communicating difficult at times. However, since the film would be dubbed into English for American release, it was deemed not to be an issue during filming.
  • While shooting the scene where Suzy and Sara swim in the pool, director Dario Argento instructed the actresses to stir the pool waters as little as possible to give the scene a more tranquil look.
  • The woman playing Helena Markos was not credited. According to Jessica Harper, she was a ninety-year-old ex-hooker who director Dario Argento found on the streets of Rome, Italy.
  • Director Dario Argento composed the creepy music with the band Goblin and played it at full blast on set to unnerve the actors and elicit a truly scared performance.
  • Director trademark: [Dario Argento] Character recalls clues from memory.
  • According to Daria Nicolodi, the lead role in the film was written for her but the studio insisted that an American actress be cast for the lead, to make the film more marketable.
  • Tina Aumont had been offered the lead role, but due to scheduling conflicts she could not accept.
  • The film was shot over four months.
  • Director Dario Argento cast Jessica Harper as the lead after seeing Harper's debut performance in Brian De Palma's Phantom of the Paradise (1974).
  • It is often assumed that, to achieve the rich color palette, the film was shot using the outdated three-strip Technicolor process. This was, in fact, not true. No film made after the mid-1950s was shot using this method. This film was instead shot on normal Eastmancolor Kodak stock, then printed using the three-strip Technicolor process, utilizing one of the last remaining three-strip machines. This issue has been confused somewhat by the fact that, on the 25th anniversary documentary featured in the three-disc DVD set, a discussion of the printing process by cinematographer Luciano Tovoli was followed by a diagram showing a three-strip camera.
  • The exterior of the dance academy, though constructed on a studio lot in Rome, is based on the Haus zum Walfisch (Whale House), a landmark late-Gothic building in the old town of Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany.
  • The film is set in Freiburg (officially known as Freiburg im Breisgau), Germany, but in the English dub, the narrator mispronounces it as Fribourg, a different town in Switzerland. Despite this setting, location filming was done in Munich, and several Munich landmarks are visible in the film, including Königsplatz (where Daniel walks his dog at night) and the BMW tower (where Suzy meets the professor).
  • Udo Kier is dubbed in this film due to technical difficulties with the sound while filming his scene.
  • The Latin phrase mentioned in the original Italian version, "Quoddam semper, quoddam ubique, quoddam ab omnibus creditum est," translates as "Always, everywhere, some are believed by all."
  • In 2008, a remake was announced with David Gordon Green as director. However, in 2014, Green dropped out due to budget concerns and legal issues. In September 2015, filmmaker Luca Guadagnino was announced as the new director with Tilda Swinton and Dakota Johnson added to the cast, although Guadagnino stated in press conferences that his version was a personal interpretation of the original and not a "remake," saying, "It's impossible to remake [Argento's] film."
  • This film is included among the "1,001 Movies You Must See Before You Die," edited by Steven Schneider.
  • Rudolf Schündler, the West German actor who played the role of Professor Milius, could not speak any English or Italian, so in the scene where he talks with Jessica Harper (Suzy) about witches, she could not understand him as he was speaking in German. Harper later quoted that she tried to keep a straight face as not to flub her lines.
  • Udo Kier's appearance was so rushed for him that he had little time to completely read the script when it was given to him. Since the movie was filmed without sound and was later dubbed, a crew person lying on the ground (behind the stone bench where he was sitting in his scene with Jessica Harper) was telling him his lines as he gave them to her.
  • Entertainment Weekly magazine ranked this as the eighteenth scariest movie of all time.
  • Suspiria means "to sigh" or "sighed," but it also possibly means "whispered." It has something to do with the difference in Italian and Spanish language stemming from the Latin root.
  • At the Texas Frightmare Weekend in Dallas, Texas in May 2017, director Dario Argento said he cast Jessica Harper because she had "big eyes."
  • After completing the specialized color work on this production, Technicolor Rome reportedly dismantled their remaining three-strip equipment.
  • Barbara Magnolfi has revealed in subsequent years her belief that Olga was a young witch in training, hence her interest in Suzy, and revealed a scripted but unfilmed scene where Olga performed with the Bolshoi the night the students were in town; it was ultimately cut because it interrupted the pacing of the film's climax.
  • Joan Bennett's partner (later husband) David Wilde was a fan of Argento's The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (1970) and it was at his urging that Bennett agreed to appear as Madame Blanc despite her objections to the violence in films at the time. Besides Wilde's admiration was the all-expenses paid trip to Italy. Bennett however immediately regretted having said yes after finding the Italian filmmaking process slow and disorganized. One day, in preparing for a scene in which she had only one line, Bennett reported to the studio, had her hair and makeup done, got into costume, all by 12:30 pm but then it was five hours before the scene was actually shot. The one consolation was getting to know fellow cast member Alida Valli who befriended Bennett and Wilde introducing them to the excellent and little known restaurants.
  • Thais film became the last feature film to be made in the vegetable dye transfer production chain: as a consequence all prints after the initial release were crafted using the Eastman process, [which] affect[ed] the intended look of the film dramatically: the ginal] camera negative itself is no longer complete - and some frames remain missing; in 2016 the film was restored by TLEFilms Film Restoration & Preservation Services, Germany on behalf of the film's rights owners, VIDEA Spa., Italy, with major funding provided by Eightyfour Entertainment, Germany. The restoration, made for the film's 40th anniversary*, uses camera negative elements with intermediate negative inserts as well as intermediate interpositive elements to finally return the film to its complete state, with all missing frames carefully restored on a digital basis and the distinct color palette reinstated using reference film materials. [From post credits inserts added to the *2017 DVD set reissue.]
  • Jessica Harper turned down a part in Annie Hall (1977) to star in this film.
  • Twentieth Century-Fox bought the American film distribution rights to this film, but due to its violent content released it though a subsidiary "International Classics". The film was cut by eight minutes to obtain a "R" rating in the U.S. Despite all this, the picture was Fox's seventh-highest grossing film of the year.
  • The first murder victim is a woman named Pat Hingle, which happens to be the name of a male American actor. If this was intended as some sort of tribute, it seems odd, as he did not appear in any horror movies prior to 1977.


  • The film's finale was inspired by a dream that co-writer Daria Nicolodi once had. In the dream she said she had encountered an invisible witch and, most bizarrely, there was a panther in the room with her that suddenly exploded. The dream was written into the film, but it's a porcelain panther that explodes.
  • Jessica Harper said in interviews that the most frightening scene in the film for her was the grand finale where everything explodes and shatters around her as she flees the academy. Harper said that the rigged explosions were quite unnerving as they went off close to her.
  • Stefania Casini had a difficult time shooting her death scene. Though the "barbed wire" that she falls into was fake, the coils of wire still got wrapped around her tightly and pinched her skin painfully.
  • Director Dario Argento was inspired to make this film by stories of Daria Nicolodi's grandmother, who claimed to have fled from a German music academy because witchcraft was being secretly practiced there.
  • The only installment in the "Three Mothers" trilogy where the main witch is not referred to by her original Latin title; only by her regular name: Helena Markos. She would subsequently be identified solely as "Mater Suspiriorum" (The Mother of Sighs) in the sequels Inferno (1980) and Mother of Tears (2007).
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