Inferno


1h 46m 1980

Brief Synopsis

Young poet Rose Elliot buys a book from a local New York City antique dealer and learns the story of the coven of the Three Mothers. She believes her apartment building is one of their houses. She pleads for her brother Mark to come join her because she is afraid for her life. But by the time Mark a

Film Details

MPAA Rating
Release Date
1980

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 46m

Synopsis

Young poet Rose Elliot buys a book from a local New York City antique dealer and learns the story of the coven of the Three Mothers. She believes her apartment building is one of their houses. She pleads for her brother Mark to come join her because she is afraid for her life. But by the time Mark arrives in New York, he finds himself investigating his sister's murder.

Film Details

MPAA Rating
Release Date
1980

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 46m

Articles

Inferno - INFERNO - Dario Argento's 1980 Cult Horror Fantasy on Blu-Ray & DVD


Abandon logic, all ye who enter Dario Argento's Inferno (1982). The second film of his "Three Mothers" trilogy (the first was Suspiria, the biggest American success of the Italian director's career) opens with a deluge of exposition on the perhaps-not-so-mythical Three Mothers, which Rose (Irene Miracle), an American girl in a very stylized version of New York, reads from an ancient text. As she turns detective, suspecting that one of the evil figures lives in her very own apartment house (an elegant old building with impossibly lavish spaces), a mysterious, black-gloved figure (unseen but for those hands, which prove to be wizened like a fairy-tale witch beneath the black cloth) goes about collecting copies of the ancient book and killing everyone connected with them. Jump to Rome, where her brother Mark (Leigh McCloskey), a music student, receives a letter where she shares her suspicions and discoveries. Before he can finish reading it, a gray-eyed beauty with a white cat distracts his attention and a freak windstorm blows the letter into the hands of another student (and a entirely new subplot), and he flies back to New York to find that she has disappeared, spurring him to embark on his own investigation.

This is a mystery with the logic of a dream. Vague clues ("The key is under the souls of your feet") send characters in impulsive journeys through mysterious, maze-like passages. A trip down into the building basement sends Rose on a midnight swim through an underwater ballroom, where a gruesome corpse floats through nearly crystal-clear water. A chance reading of her letter sends one girl searching for the rare tome in a library and into what appears to be an alchemist's laboratory hidden in building's basement labyrinth. A bent old bookseller with a distaste for cats (which prowl and growl all through the film) is attacked by rats in a Central Park that looks more like a haunted fairy tale forest. A seemingly innocent bystander is suddenly inspired to turn homicidal maniac. It's a world touched by malevolent magic, which transforms everyday locations into hostile environments of spikes, splinters, knife edges and broken glass, all conjured to pierce flesh, draw blood and take lives.

This is one of the glorious expressions of giallo, the highly stylized, distinctly Italian genre of eerie horror that, at its best, marries haunting beauty, elaborately choreographed set pieces and grand guignol gore. Argento brings his own flair to the baroque lighting and expressionist color schemes first brought to the genre by Mario Bava, the Godfather of giallo, and Inferno is, to my eyes, Argento's most accomplished expression of pure giallo. This is a visual symphony of color, camerawork and characters following impulse over logic, as if driven by some primal instinct, or drawn by the power of inexplicable supernatural forces. Argento, who directs from his own original story and screenplay, populates the film with enigmatic suspects, including a whole apartment building of eccentrics and recluses, including Alida Valli, who appeared in Suspiria but takes on a completely unrelated role here, and Argento regular (and ex-partner) Daria Nicolodi. In place of his beloved Goblin, Argento brought in the famous keyboard virtuoso and synthesizer rock pioneer Keith Emerson (of Emerson, Lake and Palmer) to compose the score, which ping-pongs between full orchestral arrangements and pounding synthesizer solos. The two sound textures add to the unreal quality of the film.

Inferno failed to approach the success of Suspiria in the United States and Argento returned to the more "traditional" horror of psychotic killers and stylized murders with Tenebre. It was more than 25 years before he completed the trilogy with Mother of Tears, starring his daughter Asia Argento. It was a pale reflection of the glories of Inferno, which holds up beautifully thirty years later, as long as the viewer is willing to give in to Argento's sensibility. This horror has nothing to do with reason and everything to do with emotion and movement and color. Characters follow impulses with an intensity that defies logic in a world that defies rational explanation. Argento doesn't even try to make sense of it, he simply follows them down the rabbit hole of supernatural mystery and comes back up with one of the most entrancing dream movies in the horror canon. Other Argento films offer more gruesome murder set pieces, but few offer such abstracted beauty.

Blue Underground, one of the most respected labels when it comes to high quality editions of cult movie and genre classics, has been systematically upgrading its DVD catalogue to Blu-ray and the care given to the new high-definition master of Inferno, "freshly transferred from the uncut and uncensored original negative," is apparent. This is one of Argento's most visually robust and vivid film, with pools of saturated color that seem to glow from within, and this disc delivers the intensity of the color palette in the crisp, sharp images that cast a spell over the viewer. It's one of the finest discs yet from the company. The Blu-ray features multiple options for the English soundtrack, including a very clean and well-sculpted 7.1 DTS-HD mix, and a mono Italian track with English, French and Spanish subtitle options. The English dubbing is top notch--Argento produced this with an eye toward the American market, thanks to the success of Suspiria--and, based on this viewing, I would suggest it is the definitive version.

New to this presentation is a pair of English language interviews with the American stars, both presented in HD. "Art and Alchemy with Leigh McCloskey" is a 15-minute piece with the actor discussing his career and his work on the film. He appreciates Argento's vision and his visuals and comes off a kindred spirit of sorts when he shares some the fantastical drawings he made while on the set of the film. "Reflections of Rose with Irene Miracle" spends as much time with the actress, whose relationship with Argento was more troubled, and she explains how and why she believes her role was cut down during production. Carried over from the earlier DVD release is an 8-minute interview featurette with Argento and assistant director Lamberto Bava, who don't have much time to dig into the film but so discuss how legendary giallo director Mario Bava (Lamberto's father) joined the production to (without credit) create some of the film's most beautiful visual effects and illusions, most of them accomplished on the set and in camera. This is standard definition and in Italian with English subtitles.

To order Inferno, click here. Explore more Dario Argento titles, click here.

by Sean Axmaker
Inferno - Inferno - Dario Argento's 1980 Cult Horror Fantasy On Blu-Ray & Dvd

Inferno - INFERNO - Dario Argento's 1980 Cult Horror Fantasy on Blu-Ray & DVD

Abandon logic, all ye who enter Dario Argento's Inferno (1982). The second film of his "Three Mothers" trilogy (the first was Suspiria, the biggest American success of the Italian director's career) opens with a deluge of exposition on the perhaps-not-so-mythical Three Mothers, which Rose (Irene Miracle), an American girl in a very stylized version of New York, reads from an ancient text. As she turns detective, suspecting that one of the evil figures lives in her very own apartment house (an elegant old building with impossibly lavish spaces), a mysterious, black-gloved figure (unseen but for those hands, which prove to be wizened like a fairy-tale witch beneath the black cloth) goes about collecting copies of the ancient book and killing everyone connected with them. Jump to Rome, where her brother Mark (Leigh McCloskey), a music student, receives a letter where she shares her suspicions and discoveries. Before he can finish reading it, a gray-eyed beauty with a white cat distracts his attention and a freak windstorm blows the letter into the hands of another student (and a entirely new subplot), and he flies back to New York to find that she has disappeared, spurring him to embark on his own investigation. This is a mystery with the logic of a dream. Vague clues ("The key is under the souls of your feet") send characters in impulsive journeys through mysterious, maze-like passages. A trip down into the building basement sends Rose on a midnight swim through an underwater ballroom, where a gruesome corpse floats through nearly crystal-clear water. A chance reading of her letter sends one girl searching for the rare tome in a library and into what appears to be an alchemist's laboratory hidden in building's basement labyrinth. A bent old bookseller with a distaste for cats (which prowl and growl all through the film) is attacked by rats in a Central Park that looks more like a haunted fairy tale forest. A seemingly innocent bystander is suddenly inspired to turn homicidal maniac. It's a world touched by malevolent magic, which transforms everyday locations into hostile environments of spikes, splinters, knife edges and broken glass, all conjured to pierce flesh, draw blood and take lives. This is one of the glorious expressions of giallo, the highly stylized, distinctly Italian genre of eerie horror that, at its best, marries haunting beauty, elaborately choreographed set pieces and grand guignol gore. Argento brings his own flair to the baroque lighting and expressionist color schemes first brought to the genre by Mario Bava, the Godfather of giallo, and Inferno is, to my eyes, Argento's most accomplished expression of pure giallo. This is a visual symphony of color, camerawork and characters following impulse over logic, as if driven by some primal instinct, or drawn by the power of inexplicable supernatural forces. Argento, who directs from his own original story and screenplay, populates the film with enigmatic suspects, including a whole apartment building of eccentrics and recluses, including Alida Valli, who appeared in Suspiria but takes on a completely unrelated role here, and Argento regular (and ex-partner) Daria Nicolodi. In place of his beloved Goblin, Argento brought in the famous keyboard virtuoso and synthesizer rock pioneer Keith Emerson (of Emerson, Lake and Palmer) to compose the score, which ping-pongs between full orchestral arrangements and pounding synthesizer solos. The two sound textures add to the unreal quality of the film. Inferno failed to approach the success of Suspiria in the United States and Argento returned to the more "traditional" horror of psychotic killers and stylized murders with Tenebre. It was more than 25 years before he completed the trilogy with Mother of Tears, starring his daughter Asia Argento. It was a pale reflection of the glories of Inferno, which holds up beautifully thirty years later, as long as the viewer is willing to give in to Argento's sensibility. This horror has nothing to do with reason and everything to do with emotion and movement and color. Characters follow impulses with an intensity that defies logic in a world that defies rational explanation. Argento doesn't even try to make sense of it, he simply follows them down the rabbit hole of supernatural mystery and comes back up with one of the most entrancing dream movies in the horror canon. Other Argento films offer more gruesome murder set pieces, but few offer such abstracted beauty. Blue Underground, one of the most respected labels when it comes to high quality editions of cult movie and genre classics, has been systematically upgrading its DVD catalogue to Blu-ray and the care given to the new high-definition master of Inferno, "freshly transferred from the uncut and uncensored original negative," is apparent. This is one of Argento's most visually robust and vivid film, with pools of saturated color that seem to glow from within, and this disc delivers the intensity of the color palette in the crisp, sharp images that cast a spell over the viewer. It's one of the finest discs yet from the company. The Blu-ray features multiple options for the English soundtrack, including a very clean and well-sculpted 7.1 DTS-HD mix, and a mono Italian track with English, French and Spanish subtitle options. The English dubbing is top notch--Argento produced this with an eye toward the American market, thanks to the success of Suspiria--and, based on this viewing, I would suggest it is the definitive version. New to this presentation is a pair of English language interviews with the American stars, both presented in HD. "Art and Alchemy with Leigh McCloskey" is a 15-minute piece with the actor discussing his career and his work on the film. He appreciates Argento's vision and his visuals and comes off a kindred spirit of sorts when he shares some the fantastical drawings he made while on the set of the film. "Reflections of Rose with Irene Miracle" spends as much time with the actress, whose relationship with Argento was more troubled, and she explains how and why she believes her role was cut down during production. Carried over from the earlier DVD release is an 8-minute interview featurette with Argento and assistant director Lamberto Bava, who don't have much time to dig into the film but so discuss how legendary giallo director Mario Bava (Lamberto's father) joined the production to (without credit) create some of the film's most beautiful visual effects and illusions, most of them accomplished on the set and in camera. This is standard definition and in Italian with English subtitles. To order Inferno, click here. Explore more Dario Argento titles, click here. by Sean Axmaker

Quotes

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States August 15, 1987

Released in United States October 2007

Released in United States Winter January 1, 1978

Shown at Rome Film Festival (Premiere Special Event) October 18-27, 2007.

The second film in Dario Argento's "Three Mothers Trilogy" which includes "Suspiria" (1976) and "Mother of Tears" (2007).

Released in United States Winter January 1, 1978

Released in United States August 15, 1987

Released in United States October 2007 (Shown at Rome Film Festival (Premiere Special Event) October 18-27, 2007.)