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“It makes sense that Suspiria, Luca Guadagnino’s sleek-yet-deranged reinterpretation of Dario Argento’s landmark giallo horror, is hitting American cinema screens on 26 October, five days before Halloween. Scary movies of any commercial stripe benefit from seasonal timing; unless you’re a buff of the genre, to watch David Gordon Green’s Halloween sequel, for example, on 1 November would have the slightly tepid, hungover feeling of hearing Christmas carols on Boxing Day.
Even before the big day, however, some Halloween revellers queueing up for Suspiria will leave the cinema with their spooky spirits a little deflated, a little less buzzed than the promise of Dakota Johnson being terrorised by dancing witches in wintry Berlin may have led them to expect. Some will turn to each other and repeat the three simple words my elderly Italian seat neighbor said to me – or perhaps to the room in general – as the credits rolled on the film’s screening at the Venice film festival back in balmy late summer: “What was that?”
To be clear, I come to praise Suspiria, not bury it. In a genre overrun with workmanlike-or-worse remakes, revivals, reboots and retcons of classic horror properties, Guadagnino’s slow-and-loose spin on Argento’s original comes about as close as it can to being an original itself. Breaking the back of Argento’s narrative and splaying its limbs in disorienting, counterintuitive directions – rather like the fate that uncannily befalls a young dancer in the film’s most dazzling set piece – it fashions a piece of occult exploitation into a more oblique, extended, sensuous study of bodily stress, submission and control, forging connections to everything from the Holocaust to the Red Army Gang in its unpicking of feminine identity and oppression.”
JJ Editor's Daily Picks
"After five years of war with the Islamic State, the biggest problem for the winners is coping with the losers. The aftermath has produced one of the world’s most perplexing postwar challenges..."
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"...the pendulum of history never stops moving. Indeed, one of the few constants of history is unceasing change. While we seem to be heading in one direction, we must remember that there will surely be pauses, turns, and reversals."
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"Social media influencers have helped turn public lands into tourist-infested swamps. And one cantankerous man is fighting back."
"One particular myth that attached itself to Ledger was that his death was somehow a result of immersing himself in the character of the Joker."
"In 2018, for the second year in a row, American publishers released fewer translated titles: 609 books were published, down from 650 in 2017 and the industry high in 2016 of 666."
"Egg freezing had become so routine among my single peers that when I hit 35, I never thought twice. Here’s what I wish I had known."
"When it comes to Passover cuisine, most home cooks know to avoid wheat, oats, rye, and other forbidden ingredients. But what consumers might not realize is just how much cotton they eat during the holiday."
"A masked figure looms over your recumbent body, wielding power tools and sharp metal instruments, doing things to your mouth you cannot see."
"Passover is a holiday that commemorates the Jewish people escaping slavery in Egypt. It is often referred to as the “festival of freedom.” My Passover in prison was at a place called the Wallkill Correctional Facility..."