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 20, 2019

SUSPIRIA Day 20: patricia's notebook

I love how much we see of Patricia's journal as Dr. Klemperer flips through it–it's not just a page or two of obvious, obviously fake "clues," as you get in most horror movies that have a bit of a mystery to solve. (I'm thinking specifically of that stupid, stupid whiteboard in A Quiet Place. Rather than allowing the audience to put together pieces of the puzzle on their own, or–GASP–only hinting at puzzles that are solved elsewhere in the film or–GASP GASP–maybe they won't be solved at all, the characters scribble things that no real person would actually scribble, like "What is the weakness?" and "SOUND" with arrows and the like. I have a litany of issues with that movie, and that ridiculous whiteboard that treats us all like dumb babies is near the top.)

Anyway. Patricia's notebook. It feels authentic. It comprises diary entries, complete with notes about her day–meeting for drinks, going to concerts, that sort of thing–dance notes/instruction, and artistic theories. There are newspaper clippings, flyers, and ticket stubs marking her time in Berlin. We see her posting more and more about the RAF (Red Army Faction) as she becomes involved with them. And, of course, her revelations and theories about the coven. I love the evolution of it, as she learns more and more, the way her diagrams expand. It takes her time to figure it out, to understand the hierarchy and how all of the matrons are involved.

Of course, that final diagram echoes the reflective tape laid out on the floor for Volk.

What is really remarkable is how much she knew; not only what she and Olga figured out, but what the matrons told her. That knowledge, of course, is what put her in danger. When she realized the cost for her "perfect balance" and "perfect sleep," it was too high and it was also too late. The revelations about the Tanzgruppe's plans for her ("They're going to try to keep [Mother Markos] alive after all.") and who they really are ("I was right. Sie sind Hexen.") terrified her and drove her mad.

Patricia's notebook also emphasizes how different it is with Susie, even though the grooming process is much the same. Patricia was ultimately frightened by all of the things that Susie takes in stride–the taking of her hair, her urine, her eyes. Of course, Susie had her reasons for being, let's say. But the matrons, in particular Madame Blanc, were much more forthcoming about their plans with Patricia. We know that Blanc doesn't inform Markos about Susie's preternatural abilities and potential.

We also know that Blanc doesn't tell Susie about what's to come, the way she likely told Patricia: "I could explain everything to you," she tells Susie the night of the Sabbath. "I think it would be wrong, though."

What's different about Susie? Is it that Blanc senses the latent Suspiriorum inside the dancer from Ohio? Is it those preternatural abilities? Is it Susie's willingness to be molded and guided? Sure, it's all of that. But it's also as Susie says: "You don't want to make me choose. Because you love me."

Ah yes, another thread leads to the Susie/Blanc love story. I'll get to it yet!

1 comment:

Z. Hunter said...

How was she able to write about Susie? Hadn't she disappeared by the time Susie arrived?