Each instalment delves into a specific horror film, exploring everything from its conception to its impact on genre cinema and wider popular culture. Titles thus far include Let the Right One In by Anne Billson, Witchfinder General by Ian Cooper, SAW by Benjamin Poole, The Descent by James Marriott and Carrie by Neil Mitchell.
Excitingly, a forthcoming addition to the series will peer into Dario Argento’s occult classic, Suspiria. Author Alexandra Heller-Nicholas is a visiting fellow at the Institute of Social Research at Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, Australia. Her other books include Rape-Revenge Films: A Critical Study (McFarland, 2011) and Found Footage Horror Films: Fear and the Appearance of Reality (McFarland, 2013). Here’s what Alexandra says about Suspiria and what we can expect from her forthcoming book…
As one of the most globally recognisable instances of 20th century Eurohorror, Dario Argento's Suspiria (1976) is poetic, chaotic, and intriguing. The cult reputation of Argento's baroque nightmare is reflected in the critical praise it continues to receive almost 40 years after its original release, and it appears regularly on lists of the greatest horror films ever. For fans and critics alike, Suspiria is as mesmerising as it is impenetrable: the impact of Argento's notorious disinterest in matters of plot and characterisation combines with Suspiria's aggressive stylistic hyperactivity to render it a movie that needs to be experienced through the body as much as through emotion or the intellect. For its many fans, Suspiria is synonymous with European horror more broadly, and Argento himself is by far the most famous of all the Italian horror directors. If there was any doubt of his status as one of the great horror auteurs, Argento's international reputation was solidified well beyond the realms of cult fandom in the 1990s with retrospectives at both the American Museum of the Moving Image and the British Film Institute. This book considers the complex ways that Argento weaves together light, sound and cinema history to construct one of the most breathtaking horror movies of all time, a film as fascinating as it is ultimately unfathomable.
You can pre-order a copy here, and keep up to date with Alexandra here. For further information on Devil’s Advocates, go here.