What inspires a filmmaker to remake a classic? I know why a movie studio gets inspired to redo a successful film. Easy money - or so they think. But what does the filmmaker get out of it? Luca Guadagnino, the director of Suspiria 2018 (that’s what I call it - has a retro Italian vibe to it), is a filmmaker who made 2017’s Call Me By Your Name, a film that garnered four Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture. So he’s coming off a big high, and he decides to tackle Dario Argento’s Suspiria 1977. Seems like a strange choice. Of course, it’s not really. Obviously, Argento’s film made an impression on many filmmakers, especially his fellow Italian filmmakers. So, I get that. Put your own take on it - take the film and mold it into something bigger, deeper, different.
But that is the problem with a remake - at least, for me. Especially if it’s a film that I cherish, or at the very least, just plain like. Suspiria is a weird one, as we all know. Some of it I absolutely love - some of it is just too nuts to take seriously. But it’s definitely it’s own thing. I think tackling a remake of a movie like this can only end in disappointingly. Burk, Kathy and I discuss our thoughts on the latest Cinemondo Podcast, so I won’t go into our feelings on the film, but I will say here that I’m never ever surprised when a remake disappoints ME after I see it. Maybe it’s too different or tries to be too different and that turns me off. Or maybe it’s the more general feeling I have of remakes as a whole. I’ve seen the movie already. I know what’s going on. Oh, they’ll throw in some twists and turns to make it fresh, but there’s really no surprises - because we know the world this film is is in.
Maybe it’s simply the fact that I go to movies to be surprised; to be taken on a trip I’ve never been on before. The less I know going in, the better the experience will be for me. And a remake, no matter how good, can never do that. Never. And that, my good friends, is the conundrum of the remake. - Mark Az