Dario Argento’s 1977 slasher flick ‘Suspiria‘ is one of the creepiest films of all time — and one of the most beautiful. It’s the last film ever developed at the Technicolor processing plant and ‘Suspiria’ oozes horror: the greens are more acidic, the reds bloodier and the shadows are among the creepiest ever captured on film, inspired by the rich palette of Disney’s 1937 ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.’
The film follows an American ballet student Suzy (Jessica Harper) to Europe, where she enrolls in the scariest dance academy on the planet, deep in the heart of Bavaria. She spends her days among the labyrinthine halls of the dormitory, where death is a daily occurrence, and her nights avoiding a coven that may be out to kill her. Argento — a master of the Italy’s giallo, or pulp horror, genre — chose the film’s locations to highlight its nightmarish feel; let’s check them out…
Haus zum Walfisch, Freiburg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
This 16th-century, late-Gothic home plays the dance academy’s imposing exteriors. You’ll find this photo-op on Franziskanerstraße, and with its deep red hue it’s hard to miss. Built in 1516 as the home of Jakob Villinger, the general treasurer to King and Emperor Maximilian I, the so-called House of the Whale was also the home of Erasmus of Rotterdam.
Next, it’s off to Munich, the capital city of Bavaria. On the way there from Freiburg, be sure to check out the Black Forrest from your taxi cab window, just like Suzy does in the film. Go on a rainy night for maximum scare-factor.
Hofbräuhaus, 9 Platzl, Munich, Germany; +49 89 2901360
It wouldn’t be a trip to Munich without a stop at the Hofbräuhaus, Munich’s famous state-owned beer hall and the place where the blind piano player Daniel plays in the film. Located in the Altstadt (Old City) section of Munich, the beer hall is easily accessible from the Marienplatz metro station. Even creepier than the movie is the Hofbräuhaus’ history. Just look it up.
Königsplatz, Munich, Germany
Munich’s Königsplatz seems straight out of Athens with its mix of ionic and doric temples laid out on a stately square, but it’s only a ten-minute walk from the Hofbräuhaus. Its surreal serenity makes it even more unsettling, the perfect place for the gruesome, gory Argento-approved death scene in the movie.
BMW Tower, Petuelring 130, Munich, Germany
Munich’s BMW headquarters — modeled after a four-cylinder engine and called the BMW-Vierzylinder by locals — provides a towering backdrop when Suzy meets with a helpful psychiatrist near the Olympic Park, home to the 1972 games.
image: Wikipedia Commons