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Thursday, April 13, 2017


I keep watching Dario Argento movies and I keep being disappointed by them. He has certain attributes that are worthy, such as being able to create a sense of dread, but they are undone by amateurish editing, absurd use of music, and incoherent storytelling. But now I find I need to watch at least one more.

Inferno is the second of a trilogy known as "The Three Mothers," which started with Suspiria. Released in 1980, it is set in New York mostly, but also in Rome. It is most reminiscent of Rosemary's Baby, as the building in the film harbors dark secrets and evil entities. The resemblance ends there.

Reading about the films I got more information than actually watching them. Apparently there is a legend, or religious myth, of three mothers who are witches, Tears, Darkness, and Sighs. The Mother of Sighs was defeated in Suspiria, and this film deals with the Mother of Darkness, so why it's called Inferno is anybody's guess-maybe because, like Suspiria, Argento ends the film with everything burning up.

The main character is played by Leigh McCloskey. He's a music student in Rome, and one of his classmates is killed by someone with a knife. He receives a letter from his sister (Irene Miracle), who is experiencing weird things in her apartment in New York. I was a little confused at this point because the two actresses look so similar that I didn't realize it was Miracle who was in an earlier scene in an antique store, looking for a key. She encounters a room completely underwater, which I thought was neat, but is not visited or referred to again.

The body count is high and gruesome, especially a man eaten by rats (he drowns kittens in a sack, so you know he's going to come to a bad end--cinematic karma). Much of the film is too dark to see, and has people just running from one room to another. The score is by rock star Keith Emerson, and it isn't bad, but it just bursts out without warning. One very heavy, jazzy section plays while a woman is sitting in the back of a cab, totally incongruous with the situation.

Argento took another 27 years to finish the trilogy, casting his daughter Asia in the final film, The Mother of Tears. I suppose I'll check it out sooner or later.

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