Inferno (1980)

Inferno (1980, ITA) C-107m. *** D: Dario Argento. Starring Leigh McCloskey, Irene Miracle, Sacha PitoŽff, Daria Nicolodi, Eleonora Giorgi, Veronica Lazar, Alida Valli, Gabriele Lavia, Feodor Chaliapin. Visually magnificent, surreal horror opus, the second part of the unfinished 'Three Mothers'-trilogy: In New York a young woman uncovers the secret of the house she lives in. It may be inhabited by Mater Tenebrarum, the Mother of Darkness. She writes a letter to her brother in Rome, asking him to visit her. Once he arrives all hell breaks loose... This is the film that expresses best the relationship between beauty and terror, which is the trademark of all of the director's films. Incredibly stylish camerawork, lighting, art direction/set decoration glorify a film whose narrative is often barely there. A feast for the senses; inferior to SUSPIRIA only in excitement, not in style. Beginning and end are best parts, mid-section is a little too aimless. The underwater sequence, staged sans credit by Mario Bava, is especially chilling. Fine classical score by Keith Emerson. Mater Lacrimarum, the Mother of Tears, has a brief appearance at the auditorium in Rome. Written by the director, loosely based on Thomas de Quincey's Suspiria de Profundis.


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© Ron Altman