Luca Guadagnino‘s remake of “Suspiria” builds to an incredibly violent climax, but there’s nothing like the disturbing dog scene in the Dario Argento original. (In fact, there are no dogs in the remake at all. Or cats.)
If you’ve never seen the original, do yourself a favor and track it down. A newly restored version is currently playing in select theaters. And it’s also on Tubi TV.
The dog scene in the 1977 film remains, as ASC magazine puts it, “one of the great twists in horror cinema.”
Daniel (Flavio Bucci) is a blind accompanist at the dance school (a character that doesn’t exist in the new film). For some reason, Daniel is not allowed to take his German Shepherd guide dog into the dance academy, so he ties him up outside and uses a cane to navigate when he goes inside.
The nephew of the academy’s Madame Blanc (Joan Bennett) appears terrified of the dog, although the animal appears to be completely safe. During a rehearsal, an enraged Miss Tanner (Alida Valli) storms in and tells Daniel that his dog attacked the boy, which Daniel swears can’t be true. “My dog is a peaceful, faithful animal. He’s never hurt anyone. The boy must have done something dreadful.”
Miss Tanner kicks Daniel out and swears to kill the dog if she ever sees it again. After calling her a bitch, Daniel leaves, saying “Good riddance.”
Later that night, Daniel is walking with his dog (and his cane) across the Konigsplatz Square late at night during a full moon.
In the open space of the square, the dog stops and begins barking at something unseen. Even though the blind man tries to calm the dog and urges it on, it becomes more and more agitated. The camera pulls back, so we can see that nothing is near Daniel and the dog. They are completely alone.
As Daniel yells “What is it? Who’s there,” the dog continues scanning the empty square. A black shadow glides across the starkly lit monument in front of them.
We wait for something to happen and then, the unthinkable: The dog charges his own master, knocks him down and tears open his throat.
Two policemen see the attack from afar and chase the dog off, but it’s too late. Daniel is dead, one of many victims in this bloody classic.
It’s an enormous reversal from the usual horror trope of the dog being the first to die. And to see a dog attack its own helpless human is truly shocking. (Luciano Fulci’s 1981 film “The Beyond” copies the scene almost exactly, except that the victim is a woman.)
To earn an R-rating, some or all of the carnage of the scene was removed, according to Movie Censorship. The video on YouTube appears to be the unrated version.
You can watch the entire scene here:
Most of the film is shot in saturated reds, but cinematographer Luciano Tovoli told ASC magazine: “We decided to not use color in the scene to enhance the loneliness of the empty space and make the sudden explosion of bloody red [more dramatic].” He recalled that shooting the scene (which is a real location in Munich) was one of the biggest challenges of his career.
Screencap via Cosplay Bikini