When Luca Guadagnino’s Suspiria hit theaters, several critics wished that the film had been directed by a woman. “The essence of Suspiria is feminine […] and it likewise cries out for a female director,” Andrea Thompson wrote for The Chicago Reader. “My biggest peeve with Suspiria—aside from a cloying, mismatched score—is that, like the new Halloween, it’s written, directed, scored, edited and shot by men, though it almost solely stars and concerns women,” April Wolfe wrote in LA Weekly. “I know this isn’t cool and perhaps pointless to say, but I wish a woman had remade Suspiria,” Emily Yoshida wrote in the opening of her review for Vulture, elaborating that she wishes that a woman had been “empowered” to make a similarly ambitious film.
There’s a part of me that agrees with these critics. I don’t believe that women’s stories should be exclusively directed by women, though Suspiria isn’t exactly a realistic women’s story. When director Dario Argento released his original movie in 1977—about a young American terrorized by witches in a German ballet academy—he filmed it as a baroque, titillating slasher. While Argento wanted to serve his viewers technicolor, blood-spattered candy, Guadagnino gives his movie the ’70s backdrop of the Berlin Wall, haunted by ghosts of the Holocaust.