Interview: BARBARA MAGNOLFI, Suspiria

Barbara Magnolfi is an Italian actress best known for her work in “Suspiria” and “Cut and Run”. Unfortunately, she has done many films that American audiences have a hard time tracking down unless you have a region-free DVD player and can understand Italian…

I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Barbara in March 2011 at HorrorHound Weekend in Indianapolis. She is lovely, charming, and as you can see, more than happy to discuss her career in film…

GS: You worked on “Suspiria” with the legendary Dario Argento. Did you notice any eccentric behavior from Dario?

BM: Dario had a behavior that might have been interpreted as eccentric. In reality, to me, he was just so intent at creating his vision with perfectionism and passion that he would not settle unless he would see on the set and with the characters the exact representation of the vision. In my audition for the role of Olga, for instance, he was circling around me looking intensely at me moving and doing the things he asked me to do, and then all of a sudden he saw “Olga” and you could see the excitement in his eyes and you knew he had seen what he wanted to see. Certainly not a conventional way to go about an audition either!

GS: Stefania Casini has said that “Suspiria” could be a great “pop opera” or a musical. Do you see it as horror or fantasy or something else?

BM : I see “Suspiria” as a dark fairy tale; originally the girls were supposed to be very young in the film, but that couldn’t go through. However, it still retains that feeling. For instance with the very majestic sets, very high ceiling, very tall doors making the girls seem much smaller in comparison.

GS: Jessica Harper claimed that the woman playing Helena Markos was a 90 year old ex-hooker Argento found on the streets of Rome. Do you know anything about this?

BM: I heard that story before but I don’t know it for sure to be true. I will have to ask Dario next time I talk to him!

GS: Did you meet Udo Kier?

BM: No, I never met Udo as his scenes were shot in New York and mine were mostly in Rome at the De Paolis studios. I am sure we’ll meet at some point soon, as there are plans for a big “Suspiria” reunion next year!

GS: You did “Cut and Run” with Ruggero Deodato. I have met Ruggero twice and he always seems happy and friendly. Is this your experience?

BM: Absolutely. Ruggero is a great friend and he gave my an opportunity to work on “Cut and Run” at a time where I really needed to get back on my feet after a very difficult loss in my life at the time. Because of “Cut and Run” I traveled for the first time to the United States and loved it!

GS: How are Argento and Deodato’s directing styles the same and different?

BM: Hmm… well, they certainly both share professionalism and passion about movies, though the approach in directing is different. Dario is very, very meticulous and a perfectionist if he doesn’t like something and if it doesn’t match his vision well he’ll have it done all over again till he has his vision right there in front of him. Ruggero wasn’t as much of a perfectionist more of an improviser.

GS: How much involvement did Dardano Sacchetti have with “Cut and Run”?

BM: I have no idea about that!

GS: Do you have any memories of filming in Venezuela?

BM: I actually didn’t shoot in Venezuela. I was in Miami for my scenes, and yes, I have some memories of that. Especially of the scene where I get killed and lay on the floor with my knees pinned to the ground with knives. I remember it took so long to do the makeup and special effects that I basically couldn’t move all day till we were fully done shooting! I remember eating my lunch there pinned to the floor and just outside a huge crowd of spectators was observing and cheering for me. I also remember Lisa Blount being very kind and helpful to me.

GS: I hate to admit it, but I have not seen “The Sister of Ursula”, “Suspicious Death of a Minor” or many of your other films. Is there one film you wish your American fans would see but haven’t?

BM: “Blazing Flowers” or “Difficult to Die”. Both of those films are unfortunately not in the US yet, and I am personally trying to get them distributed here. These are my favorite two, aside from “Suspiria”, of course!

GS: Your new film, “Noise Matters”, will be released in 2011. What should fans fans know about this one?

BM: I only play a cameo role in “Noise Matters”. My friend Matias Masucci asked me to do it and I am glad I did. He is a very talented young upcoming director, producer and actor… there will be more projects with him. As far as this one goes, you should know it is a comedy and it is fun! I love to do different genres of films and challenging characters! I would be curious to know what would the fans like to see me doing?

GS: Well, the horror fans want more horror, of course, but we would love to see you in anything. Thanks for taking time out for Killer Reviews.

BM: Thank you so much for your questions and giving me the opportunity to voice my opinions!

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