“It’s Not a Remake!” Says Director of ‘Suspiria’ Remake

In horror cinema, only two sacred cows remain. Kubrick’s The Shining and Friedkin’s The Exorcist. As far as Hollywood is concerned, the rest of horror history is fair game, and it’s been open season on remakes, re-imaginings and all other flavours of re-jiggery-pokery for a while now.

While the quality of offerings like 2013’s Evil Dead and Carrie have made us more receptive to the idea of remakes in general, we still had to grit our teeth when we first heard about Luca Guadagnino’s new take on Argento’s Magnum Opus, Susipira. This week, Luca provided an update on the remake that isn’t a remake. If you say so, Luca.

Despite filming being complete, it’s been a while since we’ve had any updates on the project, but according to Luca, we’re a lot closer to seeing a completed film than we would have anticipated. Guadagnino said in an interview with Criterion:

“I have three months until I finish it. It’s a very special film, and I’m proud of it … I wonder all the time how people will react to it, being that it is based on a masterpiece. I often find myself in the position of saying ‘Oh, it’s ridiculous!’ when I hear stories that they want to remake a movie like 8½, so I don’t know if I’m going to be served the same dish.”

The director was quick to assert his respect for the source material:

“But I can say that my Suspiria is a very personal film; it’s like oxygen to me. When I saw the original movie thirty-two years ago, the emotion I felt was so strong, so mind-blowing, and so important to my upbringing. I wanted to investigate the experience I had watching that film.”

He also did all he could to avoid the ‘remake’ moniker. In a separate interview, he said:

“It’s inspired by the same story, but it goes in different directions, it explores other reasons … It’s semantics, of course, but I think people really have to understand that this is not a remake, because the word ‘remake’ gives the impression that we want to erase the original, and the opposite is what we tried to do.”

It may not be an attempt to replace the original, but the film is deliberately siphoning the popularity of a beloved original movie in order to ensure a bigger box office opening. It’s not something that we necessarily object to, and we accept that there are many other interesting interpretations of the source material that would be worthwhile exploring, but no matter what a director might like to think, a remake is a remake in the same way a spade is a spade.

On the other hand, we can’t complain about the casting. The film will feature Dakota Johnson, Chloe Grace Moretz, Tilda Swinton, Mia Goth, Sylvie Testud, Angela Winkler, Małgosia Bela, Lutz Ebersdorf and Jessica Harper. The iconic original score by Goblin will be replaced by a new arrangement by Radiohead’s Thom Yorke.

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