Hi there! I’m in the mood for some late night horror so I’m currently watching Dario Argento’s Three Mothers Trilogy! I just finished Suspiria and, before I started Inferno, I figured I would devote a hundred or so words to sharing one of my favorite scenes from Suspiria.
As you probably guessed from the title of this post, that scene is the famous “Names that start with S” scene. This is the scene in which dance student Suzy Banyon’s new roommate explains that names that start with S are often the names of snakes! Suzy’s new BFF, Sarah, disagrees.
When I first saw Suspiria, this was a scene to which I, as a dance student, could immediately relate. As odd as the dialogue may have sounded and as silly as the two students may have appeared to be, it actually felt very authentic. By nature, dancers are competitive and we are dramatic. If anyone is going to accuse you of having the name of a snake, it’s probably going to be dancer.
Admittedly, no one ever told me that I had the name of the snake. But there was the girl who told me that I was “soooooo pretty,” or at least I would be pretty if I got the nose job that I obviously required if I ever had any hope of being happy or successful. “But,” she added as she turned away from me, “I guess you’d have to figure out how you could possibly pay for it.” Of course, she was also quick to explain that she was only telling me the truth and that she had the best of intentions. I had about the same reaction to her advise as Sarah has to be calling a snake.
(Sarah stuck out her tongue. I may have said something about her boyfriend not having any issue with the size of my nose when he was hitting on me the night before. But basically, it was pretty much the same reaction…)
This scene made such an impression on me that, in the months after I first saw Suspiria, I would often randomly launch into the name of snakes monologue. Unfortunately, I had failed to take into account that I was literally the only student at my high school who would actually take the time to watch an Italian horror film from the 1970s. As such, no one knew what I was talking about and I lost a few friends named Susan and Sarah as a result.
Anyway, you can watch the scene below! Pay special attention to the way Jessica Harper reacts to being caught in the middle of the conversation. Dario Argento will probably never be known as a great director of actors but Jessica Harper is great in Suspiria!