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May 31

Inferno

inferno

Genre: Horror
Year: 1980
Country: Italy

Director: Dario Argento
Starring: Leigh McCloskey, Irene Miracle, Eleonora Giorgi, Daria Nicolodi, Sacha Pitoeff

 

Terror that’s hotter than hell

 

After pretty much completing the giallo genre forever with his excellent 1975 effort Deep Red, Dario Argento would go on the make a fantasy horror film called Suspiria, that would put him in the horror hall of fame forever. The beautiful film about a witch called Mother Suspiriorum is running a famous ballet school in Munich, Germany took the wonderful visual skills Argento and brought in a new element of fantasy and nightmares that would make the film a unique piece of cinema.

And of course people wanted more. Three years later, Argento had another film ready for hungry horror fans of the unusual. Inferno tells the tale of a young musicology student named Mark Elliott is studying in Rome when he receives a letter from his sister Rose, crying out for help. Rose has been investigating the story of the «Three Mothers» and are convinced that one of them, Mother Tenebrarum is living in a unique building complex in New York.

We then get to follow Mark on his travel to New York and his encounter with the evil forces. As with Suspiria, the focus isn’t really on the story itself and that’s something that many viewers have had as a complaint against these films. The story isn’t told in a very traditional way, but I can’t see why anyone would have problems following the main plot in these films so that’s something that never bothered me. I guess it could also help that I have seen both Suspiria and Inferno several times over the years aswell.

What fans of these films appreciate the most is the beauty of them, and the mixture of beautiful visuals with bloody violence. It’s a mixture that works in cinema and the Italian maestros did this better than anyone else. Argento, with the help of both Mario and Lamberto Bava on this film, made this an even more beautiful film than Suspiria and it is a film that should be seen in the best quality possible (one of the few times I would go for a Blu-Ray instead of a DVD actually).

And it’s not only Argento who is on top of his game here. While the legendary group Goblin made the fantastic music for Suspiria, the job this time around went to the British musician Keith Emerson. He did an amazing job and some of the music in this film are just stunning and helps bring Argento’s vision to life. Inferno is definitely one of the top 3 best scored films of Argento in my opinion.

The actors don’t get much to work with and are basically just chess pieces for Argento to move around. Mark Elliott and his mustache is played by Leigh McCloskey, the main hero of the film, but he is not very memorable, neither is any of the other actors in this. I guess that’s a downside to this film compared to Suspiria, as the characters in that one was much better.

Even though it wasn’t as well received by fans as Suspiria, I think Inferno is a film that can rival it and in some aspects are even better. It feels like a natural progression from the first film for me and I love it. It’s too bad that it only got a limited release and did not become a success like Suspiria. If it had been better received or gotten a better push, then perhaps we would have gotten the third «Mother» movie by Argento in the early 80’s, instead of having to wait until 2007 when The Mother of Tears was finally created.

 

 ★★★★½ 

 

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