Oct 27, 2008


With several hallucinatory films under my belt, I head on to tackle Dario Argento's Inferno - a sequel of-sorts to Suspiria. My own ideas and beliefs lead to my opinion of Inferno being the best of Argento's Three Mothers trilogy, starting with the incredibly over-hyped and flawed Suspiria and ending with the bloody equivalent to Harry Potter film Mother of Tears. The dreamlike visuals cannot be patented by any such artist considering that Hausu and Suspiria were both released in the same year. Long lost ethnic brothers? Maybe.

Inferno tracks the Argento touch of a woman in a fluidized dress and her distress. Rather from sticking to the feminist damsel aspect, the film kills off said female and moves to the next. You wonder to yourself which female will save the day but when all the women are dead and only a man, name of Mark, stands in the debris. You find yourself in an entirely new tale of terror from one of Italy's finest directors who have actually refined their style into an adaptable needle - puncturing all conventions of murder cinema.

It's a dear shame this one wasn't as critically received as its predecessor. This is arguably the better rendition of Suspiria. I found the imagery in Inferno to be a perfected art. The furious reds and the cool blue hues meshed into a filter that glazed nearly every scene. I cannot take "supernatural horror" the same after I've seen this film. Whenever I see a tale of witchcraft or occultism and it lacks the neon colors that tinge the screen, I feel disappointed that no other similar film will carry the same tremor. Inferno will have left a huge impact on you - whether you love it or not.

Many of the effects are pure genius, such as the plexiglass bridge over a lake in central park that allows a mad murderous man to exact the whim of a faraway witch. Food for the rats, I suppose. What Coffin Joe did with tarantula's in This Night I'll Possess Your Corpse, Argento did with sewer rats in Inferno. If scurrying rodents manage to unnerve you in the slightest bit, then this might be a film to look out for. Argento made sure to use each set to full advantage. Each delirious curve of the stair rail provides a raw setting and instrument used by the actor.

Total Film magazine called Inferno one of the 50 greatest horror films of all time and It's easy to see why. If it's not the mysterious killer stalking beautiful women or the hallucinogenic film experience that ensnares you in its grasp, then it's the mellow instrumental score by Keith Emerson. While not being a substitute for Goblin, it provides a softer experience that allows the ambiance of death to settle swiftly. An operatic masterpiece of supernatural horror and one of Argento's best.



Unknown said...

I'm a bigger fan of SUSPIRIA, if not for the score alone, but I will say INFERNO blows SUSPIRIA away--visually. It's a true work of art.

Soiled Sinema said...

Personally, my favorite score is Profondo Rosso. Goblin had the theme down pat.

Keith said...

I'm actually one of those that prefer Inferno over Suspiria. I do think Suspiria gets more praise, but I don't think it deserves all of it. It does at times seem overhyped. Inferno blew me way on so many levels. It was definitely a beauty to behold.

Soiled Sinema said...

Good choice siding with Inferno. While Suspiria had the soundtrack to carry it to stardom, Inferno relies on actual film techniques.

Steve Langton said...

Here's another vote for Inferno over Suspiria. This film has so many stunning set-pieces which combine to install it as my favourite Argento film, if not his very best. Was lucky enough to catch this at a UK film fest some 10 years back, which was a real treat.