suspiria embed

Mirror, mirror on the wall; is that from Lowes or an antique?

The Film: Dario Argento’s 1977 neon-fueled fairytale nightmare

The Potable: Two glasses of my patented “as yet unnamed mystery hooch”

As the producer / editor / web designer / social media strategist / sole contributor / sole reader of a modestly prolific, entirely unsuccessful alcohol / film blog, I recently took it upon myself to dabble in mixology, a field I feel I should know. Like a true chemist, I’ve spent weeks mixing any edible liquids I can find. Tea, coconut water, rum. Cognac, pickle juice, beer. Cherry kool-aid, tequila, worcheshire sauce. My most successful drink? A coffee liqueur / Mountain Dew blend my wife described as “soapy.” Over the weekend, my experiments produced a new potion. Sweet, a little salty, with a neon magenta hue. In a word – delicious, and I could think of nothing better to pair with this beaming brew than cult horror classic, Suspiria.

Argento’s film has been called many things. Gory, grandiose, empowering, misogynistic, an “assault on the senses” that is “the closest a filmmaker has come to capturing a nightmare on film.” Italian for “Susan,” Suspiria centers on an American ballerina who travels to the deep woods of Germany to attend, as best I can tell, a fairly mediocre dance academy. She arrives during a thunderstorm just as the incumbent valedictorian departs, tired of playing second fiddle to the resident divo ballerino  – or is she?

suspiria poster

Not all is at it seems, and horrors begin to unfold. But Suspiria’s legacy lies less in its plot and more in its bold visual style. Argento breaks with the traditional shadowy palettes of the genre in favor of radiant reds and purples, the vibrant, off-kilter colors of a child’s picture book. The film’s set designs use color to make up for the intentionally flat characters and heighten the film’s emotional stakes.

Sometime near the end of the second act, I began to feel queasy. I’d only finished two drinks, well below my tolerance level, so it must have been something in my homemade concoction. The olives? No, they were fresh. Kiwi seeds? Also fresh. The milk was a few days gone, but the balsamic vinaigrette should have killed any bacteria. At any rate, lying on the bathroom floor, staring up at the ceiling, I couldn’t help but think, “These gray walls are so drab and pedestrian.”

Benjamin Moore may be the most popular paint brand, but in all honesty I’ve always preferred the Behr displays at Home Depot. All the primary colors are there, but the variety of blues is truly something to behold. Morning Star, Cosmic Cobalt, Thundercloud. Charismatic Sky, perhaps? How nice to have bathroom walls that match one’s eyes. But no! Suspiria went bigger. It’s remembered for genre-bending set pieces and cutting-edge design. It’s remembered for breaking down walls with its blood-red acrylic walls. Red is a bit much for me, but perhaps some shade of green bean green?

Restoration Hardware offers unique fixtures, but I’m also not interested in having my bathroom look like a Halloween store. No skull shower knobs, no devil horn door handle. I’m not a nu-metal kid, that’s not what this is about. I am, however, very intrigued by this tuba urinal and this fishnet stockings butt sink. The urinal is a tad pricey, but I’m sure I can find a used horn provided I don’t tell the seller what I plan to do with it. Crown moulding? Our bathroom has no crown moulding, but a thick band of Garden Plum along the ceiling’s edges may create the illusion.

suspiria top

Stained glass – how do we feel about it? I’ve always appreciated the look, but I assume it’s expensive since it’s rare. I could cover the existing window in multicolored foil – a decision sure to please my neighbors, as I enjoy doing stretches when I step out of the shower – though this seems a bit tacky.

The film’s lighting is dreamy and evocative, but may be too harsh against our linoleum floor tiles.

I woke to the sound of birds chirping, the early morning light trickling in as I bumped my head against the bathtub. “Where am I?” I thought, before remembering oh yeah, I’m in my ugly bathroom. I stood up and splashed water on my face. I looked in the mirror, looked at my boring porcelain toilet. My head ached, but despite the previous night’s queasiness, I realized that I never actually got sick. Excellent news! Provided the breadcrumbs aren’t stale, I can polish off a few more cocktails tonight.

Remodeling plans in hand, I’ll get to it when I get to it.

Verdict: not scary

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