Lumbering weirdos in hockey masks and pizza-faced serial killers have their place in the world of horror, but body-count movies can quickly wear out their welcome if you aren’t a slasher-film lover. Sometimes the greatest menace is something we can really get lost in, visually — like the atmospheric halls of a haunted house and the unexplained dangers lurking in the dark. In celebration of those films that lure us closer with their breathtaking set designs, rich palettes, and captivating images, here is a visual chronicle of horror cinema’s most stunning films.
Directed by Dario Argento, 1977
I decided to intensively utilize primary colors — blue, green and red — to identify the normal flow of life and then apply a complementary color, mainly yellow, to contaminate them. A [horror] film brings to the surface some of the ancestral fears we hide deep inside us, and Suspiria would not have had the same cathartic function if I had used the fullness and consolatory sweetness of the full color spectrum. To immediately make Suspiria a total abstraction from what we call “everyday reality” I used the usually reassuring primary colors only in their purest essence, making them immediately, surprisingly violent and provocative. This brings the audience into the world of Suspiria.