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Top 10 Movies To Watch Before Seeing Suspiria

Luca Guadagnino's SUSPIRIA opens in wider release this weekend. Social media continues to buzz over the horror film which has raised awareness for the original 1977 Dario Argento film on which it is based. SUSPIRIA is dividing audiences and critics between those who are proclaiming it to be a masterpiece and those who find it overwrought and pompous. Chances are you are intrigued to see what the fuss is all about. To help prepare you (or give you some additional viewing after you have experienced the film), here is our curated selection of the Top 10 movies you should watch before seeing SUSPIRIA. Thematically, visually, and tonally similar, these moviess are all reminiscent or served as inspiration for SUSPIRIA. If you think we missed one or have an alternative selection, let us know in the comments below.

SUSPIRIA is now playing.

SUSPIRIA (1977)

Despite the two films being very different, you still owe it to yourself to check out Dario Argento's original movie. The first film in the Three Mothers Trilogy is an atmospheric and beautiful horror movie. Featuring one of the best scores of all time, SUSPIRIA looks like a nightmare brought to life. Sure, it may not have aged well in some aspects (the voice dubbing is pretty rough), but it will always be regarded as one of the scariest movies ever made.

INFERNO

The sequel to SUSPIRIA is one of the most underrated horror movies of the 1980s. Thematically, this is the film that explains the concept of the Three Mothers and moves the action from Europe to New York City (even though it was filmed in Rome). Visually, INFERNO is just as striking as SUSPIRIA and even manages to be more violent and disturbing. Continuing to take inspiration from the writings of philosopher Thomas De Quincey, INFERNO works as a standalone film but also helps fill in the narrative blanks left by SUSPIRIA.

MOTHER OF TEARS

Even the most die hard Dario Argento fan admits that the filmmaker's output after the mid-1990s is mediocre at best. Almost three decades after INFERNO, Argento decided to complete his trilogy with this film that amps up the nudity and violence. Starring his daughter, Asia Argento, MOTHER OF TEARS is the weakest movie on this list but mandatory if you want to know the full scope of the mythology that ties the movies together.

OPERA

Dario Argento has quite a lot of good movies worth checking out (see DEEP RED, PHENOMENA and TENEBRE, as well), but the one that fits in best with SUSPIRIA would be OPERA. Set at an opera house where a killer is methodically picking off victims, Argento's film is part slasher and part nightmarish horror opus. The complex ways in which the victims are murdered are an achievement in insanity all their own, but the concept of people trapped by unseen forces has rarely been put to better effect.

ROSEMARY'S BABY

Roman Polanski's English language debut film was the paranoia thriller REPULSION, but it was three years later when he mastered the sub-genre with ROSEMARY'S BABY. The 1968 classic is the template from which most horror films draw their inspiration for building tension and unease. Like SUSPIRIA, ROSEMARY'S BABY doesn't allow you to trust anyone, not even the main character. The only thing scarier than thinking you are going crazy is finding out you aren't and that your fears are real.

THE TENANT

Roman Polanski made three movies about paranoia. The least recognizable one is THE TENANT which featured the director in the lead role of a man whose sanity slowly becomes unraveled. It is difficult to describe THE TENANT without spoiling the twists and turns it takes, but by the time you finish it, you will feel uneasy in a way few films will. Kafka-esque in tone, THE TENANT is an excellent movie that is rooted in horror but never falls prey to the formula you would expect from the genre.

MOTHER!

SUSPIRIA is one of the most divisive movies of 2018 which means I had to list the most divisive film of last year. Darren Aronofsky's MOTHER! is a brilliant film or a complete crock of shit, depending who you talk to. But, whether you love or hate it (I loved it, by the way), you cannot deny that it is unlike anything you have ever seen. Taking a story with biblical roots and turning it into a literal nightmare took a lot of guts and to do so with big name talent like Javier Bardem and Jennifer Lawrence is impressive.

A BIGGER SPLASH

Luca Guadagnino's biggest success came with 2017's CALL ME BY YOUR NAME, but did you know that film was the third in a thematic trilogy? After I AM LOVE, the filmmaker made A BIGGER SPLASH starring his muse Tilda Swinton and SUSPIRIA star Dakota Johnson. Not a horror film, A BIGGER SPLASH is still a psychological thriller that is very adult in nature. Like SUSPIRIA, it toys with the conventions of genre to deliver a movie that is as haunting as it is beautiful.

BLACK SWAN

Darren Aronofsky's melodramatic horror film earned an Academy Award for star Natalie Portman, but it owes a debt to the original SUSPIRIA and similar psychological thrillers. Centered on a dancer who may or may not be experiencing a nervous breakdown, the surreal imagery that accompanies her descent into madness echoes Dario Argento's original film. It also comes from an acclaimed filmmaker, like the new version of SUSPIRIA.

LET'S SCARE JESSICA TO DEATH

One of the more obscure films on this list, LET'S SCARE JESSICA TO DEATH was released in 1971 and has since garnered a cult following. Like SUSPIRIA, it follows a young woman who descends into a living nightmare. The psychological torment she is subjected to is enhanced by the beautiful cinematography and a haunting musical score. This is a movie that you will not easily shake from your memory once you see it.

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