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Horror Fans Weigh In On Which Version Of Suspiria Reigns Supreme

For any film genre, movie remakes are a touchy subject. While there have been some very successful instances, evident with films like The Thing and Ocean's Eleven, remakes tend to be disappointing and overly criticized. When it was announced that cult classic horror film Suspiria would be getting a remake from none other than Luca Guadagnino, then known mostly for the film Call Me by Your Name, fans were understandably skeptical. How could someone known for light romance accurately replicate the bright and gory horror of Dario Argento's 1977 film?

Well, he succeeded on one front. Guadagnino's 2018 film is definitely gory, but he also aimed to make something new and unique. His film has a bleak color scheme, and a second half that goes in a very different direction than the original. In an interview with The Guardian before the film's release, Guadagnino stated that he sees his movie as "a homage to the incredible, powerful emotion I felt when I saw it," not a direct remake.

Suspiria tells the story of a young American ballet dancer who enrolls in a prestigious German academy, only to learn that it's the home of a coven of witches. As the horror genre tends to have more remakes than others, fans continue to discuss and debate the success of them. Recently on Reddit, a fan of both Suspiria films questioned fans about which version they preferred. The responses were surprisingly split pretty evenly, as people gave detailed reasons for why they believe one version is better than the other.

Some fans prefer Argento's original Suspiria for its bright visuals and simple story

As expected, there were many people who declared that the original is better. The Italian horror film directed by Argento is known for its extremely vibrant color scheme, theatrical performances, and musical score composed by Argento and an Italian rock band named Goblin. It stars Jessica Harper as the American ballerina Suzy Bannion. The film got mixed reviews when it first came out, but retrospectively it has been named by many as one of the best horror films ever made, with a 93 percent on Rotten Tomatoes

For many fans, the original film brings a sense of familiarity to people who have watched it a lot over the years, with a plot that doesn't force you to think so much. Redditor u/mattedward referred to the 1977 version as the film to watch when you're "tripping acid and want something that makes use of color in every frame with a campiness to its story," while the new version has "a coherent narrative (or close to one) with an understated mood" and continues to "grow on" them after each watch. Another Reddit user called u/MovieMike007 declared that "Nothing can top Dario Argento's Suspiria with its beautifully saturated primary colors and blend of Gothic and art deco designs," citing the influence of movies like Disney's visually stunning Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, and the chaotic imagery of artists like Hieronymus Bosch and M.C. Escher.

Others prefer Guadagnino's dark and visceral update

Even though some people cited the remake as "a joyless and ponderous bore," other fans actually prefer Guadagnino's rendition to the original, including u/watdeheq3, who started the Reddit thread. Although the two films have a similar storyline and theme, the 2018 version starring Dakota Johnson and Tilda Swinton is arguably very different.

For starters, the movie is so gory that at the Venice Film Festival premiere, people walked out. On the other hand, the screening had other viewers calling it "brilliant" and "beautiful" (via We Got This Covered), so it's all a matter of perspective. On Reddit, u/BrianTheReckless wrote that they were "so impressed by the remake and how it honored the original but added its own meaning and subtext and vibe, it's one of the only remakes that [they] wouldn't low key judge anyone for enjoying more." The new version adds more to the storyline, connecting it with the Cold War in 1977 Berlin, Germany, and uses dance choreography as a major storytelling technique. While the first film is also set in a dance academy, there's very little dancing done on screen. In comparison, one of 2018's Suspiria's most disturbing scenes has to do with a dance routine gone wrong.

In the case of Suspiria, both the original and the remake have their own strengths and weaknesses. Thanks to Guadagnino's effort to not make a shot-by-shot remake, he brings something new to the table, encouraging these sorts of debates for years to come. Until one day, someone else might remake the story again.