Director: Dario Argento
Section: Restored Classics
Country: Italy | Year: 1977
Language(s): English | Time: 97 mins
Suzy Bannion travels to Germany to perfect her ballet skills. She arrives at the Tanz dance academy in the pouring rain and is refused admission after another woman is seen fleeing the school. She returns the next morning and this time is let in. She learns that the young woman she saw fleeing the previous evening, Pat Hingle, has been found dead. Strange things soon begin to occur. Suzy becomes ill and is put on a special diet the school becomes infested with maggots; odd sounds abound; and Daniel, the pianist, is killed by his own dog. A bit of research indicates that the ballet school was once a witches' coven - and as Suzy learns, still is.
Dario Argento was born on September 7, 1940, in Rome, Italy, the first-born son of famed Italian producer Salvatore Argento and Brazilian fashion model Elda Luxardo. Argento recalls getting his ideas for filmmaking from his close-knit family from Italian folk tales told by his parents and other family members, including an aunt who told him frighting bedtime stories. Argento based most of his thriller movies on childhood trauma, yet his own--according to him--was a normal one. Along with tales spun by his aunt, Argento was impressed by stories from The Grimm Brothers, Hans Christian Andersen and Edgar Allan Poe. Argento started his career writing for various film journal magazines while still in his teens attending a Catholic high school. After graduation, instead of going to college, Argento took a job as a columnist for the Rome daily newspaper "Paese Sera". Inspired by the movies, he later found work as a screenwriter and wrote several screenplays for a number of films, but the most important were his western collaborations, which included Cemetery Without Crosses and the Sergio Leone masterpiece Once Upon a Time in the West. After its release Argento wrote and directed his first movie, The Bird with the Crystal Plumage, which starred Tony Musante and British actress Suzy Kendall. It's a loose adoption on Fredric Brown's novel "The Screaming Mimi", which was made for his father's film company. Argento wanted to direct the movie himself because he did not want any other director messing up the production and his screenplay.