FINAL GIRL explores the slasher flicks of the '70s and '80s...and all the other horror movies I feel like talking about, too. This is life on the EDGE, so beware yon spoilers!

Oct 11, 2019

SUSPIRIA Day 11: a gesture

Let's talk about that post-credits stinger! Here it is to refresh your memory, or if you're one of those "bolt at the credits" types, here's what you missed:

What oh what is Mother Suspiriorum up to?

There are a lot of theories floating around, and Anthony and I have discussed a few of our own on the podcast. According what I've read from the filmmakers, it doesn't necessarily mean anything specific. It wasn't in the script, and it's mostly just meant to let the audience know that there is more to come (OH THAT THAT WERE TRUE). So really, I think it's up to viewers to take whatever meaning they can from it. You know, whatever works for you works just fine. Some theories, though, work finer than others. To me, anyway.

The lamp post on the right side of the shot (Susie's left), is the same as the ones we see outside the Tanz building, which means Susie is facing it from one side or another.

Then there's that mysterious, intriguing gesture she makes.

I've seen it floated around several times that this is a fourth-wall breaking moment, that Suspiriorum is erasing the viewers' memories of what has taken place as she did with Klemperer. There are two issues with this theory: First, her line of sight and the aim of her gesture are over our shoulders, not directly at us. Second, it's not the same gesture she uses on Klemperer. When she removes all of "the women of his undoing," she places two fingers on his temple, then pulls away quickly. In the sequence above, it is more of a full, open-handed downward caress.

Another theory is that she's healing Madame Blanc, who is somehow alive after being nearly decapitated during the Sabbath. It's possible! It's akin to the way the witches heal Sara's broken leg in the Mutterhaus hallway, and who doesn't want to see Blanc back to her old business? Anthony and I have ruminated on what will happen to the Company in the wake of everything that's happened, and in our dreams a fully-healed Blanc and Susie run it together as the ultimate lesbian power couple. But still, there's a part of this "she's healing Blanc" idea that doesn't sit right with me. Why would Susie do that outside of the building and then leave? What would Blanc's place be in this new Tanzgruppe? The dancers have already been told that she "left." Would she just return and start doling out good morning kisses again?

Here's what works best for me:

That post-credits gesture is nearly identical to Blanc's gesture during the erotic chicken wing dinner scene. What does that gesture mean?

I think that's Blanc taking back the power she gave her earlier, the power that destroyed Olga. They've been talking about how Olga failed at Volk and Blanc states she's glad Olga's gone. Then she says "Thank you for you help with that" as she makes that gesture. The "Lemme just grab that power back while I'm at it" is implied; They couldn't have Susie unwittingly destroying everyone in the company all willy-nilly, could they? Blanc gives the power by pressing it into Susie's hands and feet, then she wipes it away.

So what is Susie wiping away at the end?

There are two possibilities, as I see it, and I dig 'em both. Each depends on which streetlight that is behind her in the shot. Is it the one right next to the door, or the one further away?

If it's the former, she could be wiping away all the supernatural power held by the women in the Tanz building, rendering them just a regular ol' dance company. She wiped the slate clean during the Sabbath, and now she's doing the same quite literally. She walks away, leaving them on their own. She's done enough, she's destroyed the old guard and reset the scales. It's up to her daughters, now, to forge their own way, if they so choose, where perhaps they will no longer be able to use the innocent for their own vile ends.

If Susie stands by the light pole that's farther away, she could be facing the Berlin wall and somehow taking away its power, starting the change in the political landscape that would eventually lead to its fall. Blanc and Markos went underground during WWII, choosing to abstain from politics, not using their powers to aid anyone but themselves. Susie begins a revolution against them, against the old political ways and the same-as-the-old-political-ways-but-in-a-more-attractive-package ways. Does she care enough about the world outside of the Tanzgruppe to get directly involved with it? Maybe.

If you've got your own theory, feel free to let it fly. There is no definitive answer, and chances are good we'll never know what comes next for the Mothers of Darkness, Tears, and Sighs. But what we do know for sure is that we watched Susie Bannion walk to the Tanzgruppe in that rainstorm, and now we've Mother Suspiriorum walk away. She's out in the world now, somewhere. I hope we do right by her.


CashBailey said...

If I ever met Luca Guadagnino I wouldn't know whether to kiss him or accost him and demand all these answers.

Unknown said...

I like the idea that it's Berlin Wall and she's smearing magic against it to inspire revolution and it's downfall. Mother Suspiriorum is a patient gal.

we said...

I read one theory online that commented on how her gesture is similar to Suzy Bannion's turning of the iris on the wall in Suspiria '77. Though clearly she is outside of Tanz Academy...perhaps something on the outer wall? Though that doesn't make a whole lot of sense. I hate having to file this under "Unsolved Mysteries", but until Luca and/or the screenwriter ever impart a really does seem like this scene was created for the purpose of pure speculation. So frustrating!

CashBailey said...

I had a feeling that she might have been wiping the inscription of their initials from that wall. But the location doesn't support that.

Anthony Hudson said...


DanE said...

I agree with the comment mentioned above. There is a twist in her hand gesture that recalls the turning of the iris. Maybe an addition to the Tanz Academy? A secret entrance The Architect hid in the building only the True Mother Suspiriorum would know? I just want to know more!!!! I need all Three Mothers and their re-imagined stories along with The Architect’s story too!

Rogue said...

What I never understood is that after the bloodbath scene with the matrons trying to clean up the blood and whatnot, why is Blanc still in the same position with her head nearly decapitated? Why didn't Susie/Mother Suspiriorum try and heal her right after Markos and her followers were destroyed?