Luca Guadagnino Terrifies Audiences at 'Suspiria' Premiere

Emma McIntyre/Getty Images

"I've been obsessed with movies about dancers, I've been obsessed with dancers, I've been obsessed with witchcraft -- it's like right up my alley," said star Dakota Johnson of taking on a role as a dancer in the film.

Fans looking for a horrifying thrill flocked to the ArcLight Hollywood on Wednesday night for the premiere of Luca Guadagnino’s witchcraft horror film Suspiria. The movie's stars, Dakota Johnson, Mia Goth, Chloe Grace Moretz and Tilda Swinton, joined the director on the red carpet to discuss why they wanted to remake the Italian horror classic.

The movie is a remake of the 1977 Italian film, directed by Dario Argento, about a young American dancer who wins a place in an elite Berlin dance academy, only to learn that its real purpose is far darker and more sinister than she realized.

The film has been a longtime passion project for Guadagnino, and he told The Hollywood Reporter why he had been so driven to direct it. “I know I was trying to make a movie that encompasses my obsession with Dario Argento's film, and also what Dario Argento’s film made me want to explore, like for instance, Germany in 1977.... It’s a wonderful example of how cinema can explore formerly everything. An assault to the senses and the idea of a heightened reality.”

The film takes places in 1977 Berlin, a period of intense political turmoil and terrorism. Johnson stars as Susie, a young American dancer from Ohio who excels at the academy, and she spoke to THR about why she wanted to take on the role.

“I’ve been obsessed with movies about dancers, I’ve been obsessed with dancers, I’ve been obsessed with witchcraft -- it’s like right up my alley.... The women are very angry and very vocal, and it’s very divided and sort of schismatic, and I found it really interesting, and it was kind of magnetic for me. I think it’s incredibly timely, and I love when movies are timely, because cinema reaches people.”

The film is both emotionally and physically demanding of its young actresses, with intense dance sequences forcing them to leap, spin and twist about the stage, sometimes with far darker consequences than they realize. Goth, who plays the dancer Sara, told THR about why this was the most challenging aspect of the film for her. 

“I had no formal dance training prior to this movie, and it was very intense and exhausting at times, physically and emotionally. But with that, it's incredibly rewarding and when you have breakthroughs and you find a rhythm that’s quite intoxicating.”

Following the film’s bloody climax, guests filled the dark and shadowy courtyard of the Chateau Marmont. Johnson entered the party hand-in-hand with boyfriend Chris Martin, and she quickly joined cast members Moretz and Swinton at a VIP table where they were surrounded by guests who were eager to discuss the film’s darkest and most intense scenes.

Suspiria opens in theaters across the country on Oct. 26.