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1980 (2007) - Blue Underground
How do you follow up an artistic high-point like Suspiria?
For too many filmmakers, the temptation is to try and do exactly
what you just did. And in many ways, that's just what Dario
Argento did with Inferno.
But to give credit where its due, he did it in a
characteristically ambitious manner.
I don't know if Suspiria
was intended as the first part of a trilogy from the start. It
certainly became one with the release of the second chapter,
Inferno. The story opens
in New York as Irene Miracle discovers a book entitled The
Three Mothers. The book is written in Latin by an
architect who claims to have built homes for three unspeakably
evil witches, one in New York, one in Rome, and a German one
we've already seen in Suspiria.
becomes fascinated by the legend and convinced that her building is
the New York home of Mater Tenebrarum, the Mother of Darkness. She
writes her brother (Leigh McCloskey), a music student in Rome, who
arrives in the city too late to save his sister.
Expanding the mythology of Suspiria
into the Three Mothers trilogy
appears to have been a daunting task for Argento, so much so that
the trilogy went unfinished until just this year (The
Mother of Tears premiered last month at the Toronto Film
Festival and should be arriving stateside sometime next year). Inferno
is certainly a weaker film than Suspiria.
For one thing, it's much less focused. I'm still not even sure who
the main character is or even if there is one. There are effective
moments but they seem to be randomly strung together. We spend so
little time with any of the leads that it's impossible to care what
happens to them. And beyond the oft-repeated story of the Three
Mothers, there really isn't an on-camera character who seems to be
responsible for the horrific events. Just Argento's usual use of
gloved hands and an increasingly bizarre stable of supporting
characters, almost all of whom turn out to be red herrings.
Despite Inferno's many
problems, it's still sort of entertaining. Some of the sequences are
terrific, especially the reveal of McCloskey's murdered girlfriend
in her apartment. Keith Emerson's score can't quite match the work
done by Goblin for Suspiria
but does offer at least one classic track, the insanely over-the-top
Blue Underground re-presents Anchor Bay's previous DVD release of
Inferno. Both video and audio
are very good, if not quite as stellar as on Suspiria.
Extras include an introduction to the movie by Argento, an 8-minute
featurette featuring interviews with Argento and assistant director
Lamberto Bava, a still gallery, bios for both Dario and Claudio
Argento and Daria Nicolodi and the trailer. Not jam-packed but not
Anybody hoping for Suspiria II
will be disappointed in Inferno.
For that matter, if you're looking for a relatively coherent
narrative, you should probably move on. But it has its charms,
especially for Argento cultists. Allow Inferno
to grow on you, ignore the fact that what you're watching doesn't
make a whole lot of sense, and you may be able to appreciate its
look and set-piece sequences.
Film Rating: B-
Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): B/B+/C
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