Heller-Nicholas is now one of the authors from Devil's Advocates, "a series of books devoted to exploring the classics of horror cinema" with a meticulous examination of the 1977 picture. Taking an accessible cultural studies approach, Heller-Nicholas examines how production, analysis, and audience response of Suspiria offers firm foundation as to why it is so successful with fans, critics, and film industry players. Her exposed and impassioned details of each milestone that led to the making of this dark fairy tale is translated as a sincere kiss to Suspiria fans, as if to say I share this love with you and will labor for it.
A film critic/screenwriter turned director for maximum execution of vision, Argento's genius is in his unwillingness to be bound to convention. Influences from Edgar Allan Poe to Snow White along with long time partner/writer Daria Nicolodi and cinematographer Luciano Tovoli are critical agents in what Suspiria finally became. Heller-Nicholas spares no detail, even addressing the conundrum of Argento's depiction of women and the critical commentary that circles his politically loaded comments in regards to gender.
There's no doubt of Suspiria's impact on horror fans and those who are fans of the film. It challenges and dares an audience to step outside of rigid, narrative coherence, and Heller-Nicholas argues refreshingly to embrace this aspect. She insists that the film's strength is found in its lack of traditional coherence, disregarding the 'rules of cinema' to produce meaning beyond structure but confined to the subjective imagination. Suspiria is a beautiful marriage of unpacking the unpackable, allowing you to purely indulge in your free association. Your nightmare.
Interview with 'Suspiria' Author Alexandra Heller-Nicholas
Bodily Limits: An interview with Alexandra Heller-Nicholas
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