Suspirias Symposium: Trauma, Memory and the Body

I will be speaking at the Suspirias symposium on Saturday 11th June at Queen Mary University. Tickets are free, registration essential.

This symposium considers Dario Argento’s 1977 giallo horror Suspiria alongside Luca Guadagnino’s 2018 film of the same name.

The 2018 film has been positioned in a cycle of ‘serious’ horror films, an arthouse spin on Argento’s original cult classic that solicits more complex philosophical engagement with trauma, memory and the body that its gory predecessor. Praised in some quarters for its ‘elevation’ of the original’s sparse thematics, Guadagnino’s ‘cover version’ was also criticised for heavy handedly shoehorning in complex historical allusions to the ‘German Autumn’ of 1977 in its pursuit of prestige horror credentials.

The symposium will explores the ways in which Guadagnino’s film, in dialogue with Argento’s original, can (or perhaps cannot) be taken seriously. It will ask whether the film’s narrative references to the Red Army Faction, Lufthansa 181 hijacking, Theresienstadt concentration camps, etc are superficial details designed to elevate the film’s ‘art house’ credentials, or important allusions that highlight a more complex, formal negotiation of Germany’s traumatic past. Crucial to these considerations is the film’s use of music, sound design, dance and body horror, filmic elements which invite affective, or haptic, readings that consider the specificity of the film’s mediation of history and memory.

In light of these debates, this symposium showcases the work of postgraduate researchers, early career academics and established scholars, who will engage with questions of trauma, memory and the body in light of ways in which Suspiria (1977) and Suspiria (2018) negotiate both cinematic and lived history.

Full programme and tickets

Date and time

Sat, 11 June 2022

10:30 – 17:30


Hitchcock Cinema, ArtsOne

Queen Mary, University of London

Mile End Road


E1 4NS

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