Riddled with secret but horrid suspicion, the young American poet, Rose Elliot, writes to her brother and musicology student in Rome, Mark, about the startling findings in the dark and dank basement of her New York Art Deco apartment building. Pivoting around the cryptic knowledge hidden in the leather-bound book entitled "The Three Mothers", Rose is convinced that her aristocratic but damned abode is, in fact, an ancient coven for Mater Tenebrarum, the malevolent Mother of Darkness. Little by little, as the siblings delve deeper and deeper into the occult, a mysterious disappearance and an endless string of gruesome killings will bring Mark closer and closer to a surreal nightmare. Where do the long and shadowy corridors of Rose's building lead?
The Stuff Of Nightmares
This is a film about witches, ancient alchemy, and death. The atmosphere is Gothic and medieval. But the setting is modern. Most scenes take place in small, stylish interior spaces. For lighting, Argento uses the glow from indirect sources (mostly blue, red, and orange hues), and alternates this with darkness. In combination with the lighting, the film's sound effects, which alternate with silence, are appropriately spooky. And Keith Emerson's soundtrack, with all that organ music, contributes to the Gothic tone. One of the best parts of the entire film is the rock-opera opus from the chorus at the film's end, with that great beat, and lyrics that are indecipherable.
The nightmarish atmosphere, while maybe not quite as stunning as in "Suspiria", is more than adequate to induce suspense, anticipation, and a sense of danger. From out of the darkness and stillness comes "death", in all its horrific cruelty. As a "horror" film, "Inferno" is fairly pure, in that the plot is more or less self-contained. There are only brief references to the "real" world, outside the confines of the story.
The film's plot is indeed thin, and functions really as an excuse for the actors to move from one atmospheric set to the next. The script does not require great acting skills, mercifully, since great acting is nowhere to be found.
Of the various Argento films I have seen, "Inferno" is perhaps my least favorite. It does not have the conviction of Argento's other works. It seems more like a half-hearted sequel, an afterthought, to "Suspiria". Like most sequels, I find it less satisfying than the original, the soundtrack notwithstanding. Still, for Argento fans, "Inferno" is a must-see, if for no other reason than for purposes of comparison.
The most beautiful of horror movies
Inferno is Dario Argento's masterpiece. For once, he abandoned the idea of a coherent storyline altogether and made a movie that is simply a series of beautifully made setpieces. Many people have criticized Inferno's plot; such people are completely missing the point. Inferno is no more concerned with plot than Luis Bunuel was with movies such as The Phantom of Liberty; where Bunuel was concentrating on images and ideas, Argento is concentrating on images and emotion, specifically fear.
Each scene features a character or characters running afoul of the Three Mothers, entities introduced obliquely in Argento's previous movie, Suspiria, and developed considerably here. The third movie in the Three Mothers trilogy remains unmade. Each scene is carefully coded by judicious use of colour and sound. All the best setpieces in the movie feature no dialogue whatsoever (most notably the scenes in the underwater chamber and the lecture theatre). Much of the most significant dialogue is whispered offscreen by unseen persons.
Inferno is that rarest of breeds: pure cinema. Not only could it not have succeeded in any other medium, it cannot be adequately described in words. Anyone who is seriously concerned with artistic cinema must see this movie, as should most horror fans. Anyone who has trouble getting their head around movies that push beyond the conventional three-act storyline will almost certainly hate it.
A Masterpiece of a sequel!
Beautiful and chilling follow-up to Argento's classic (1977) is an underrated film and one that Argento himself declares to be his 'purest' work!
Music student receives troubling news from his sister and travels to New York, where he discovers sinister evils at work.
Many critics have said that this film lacks sense in the storyline, but it's actually a more coherent story than they would have you think. The story does evoke a dark world of its own, taught with suspense and a touch of the surreal. Naturally, the greatest thing about this film is of course Argento's wonderful style! Agrento again flairs his colorful direction with excellent camera work, lavish uses of color and lighting, unique set pieces, and an atmosphere of sheer terror! Keith Emerson also lends a hand with his dramatic and stunning music score.
The cast is great, attractive leads McCloskey, Miracle, and Giorgi being the best.
For Argento fans, Inferno is everything you could want! It packs all the delightful trademark style we have come to love from this great director. It won't be for all tastes, but genre fans may just find it to be a truly colorful and chilling gem!
**** out of ****
A must watch for all horror fans
Dario argento's forgotten masterpiece. The most visually stunning movie i have ever seen. Inferno is a movie everyone should try. unfortunately inferno was overshadowed by argento's previous horror masterpiece suspiria 1977 which was the first of the three mothers trilogy with inferno being the second feature in the trilogy followed up many years later with the mother of tears 2007 which i did not enjoy ending the three mothers trilogy. every shot and scene in inferno is a feast for the eyes. the colour scheme in inferno is very similar to suspiria with the colour red occuring in almost every scene. the only part of inferno i thought was bad was the laughable grim reaper costume appearing in the final minutes of the film. if the costume had been a bit better in the final scene the film would be faultless. inferno is a film i recommend to everyone i speak to. if i was to ever meet dario argento i would thank him for making inferno.
Inferno.Beauty And The Beastly.
Some of the most ghastly images put on celluloid are somehow elegantly juxtaposed alongside sequences of breathtaking and mysterious beauty. Argento's 2nd, blue and red bathed installment of his trilogy stands alone as it's own film.It is at once hypnotic, shocking and beautiful.It's rampant misogyny is disconcerting.Its a dark and frightening, lonely and despairing work of art that operates in a nightmare zone so intense that I still recoil and have difficulty watching parts of this film '40' years after its initial release.Maybe the result of first seeing Inferno at an impressionable age has resulted in my lifelong fascination and admiration of it however I rather instead think that there just hasn't been anything to compare it to since then.It's in a gorgeous, demented art class of its own.Dismiss the detractors and philistines, Inferno is the 'unreal' thing....
A review: Inferno (1980)
**** out of ****
Directed by Dario Argento
With Leigh McCloskey, Irene Miracle, Eleonora Giorgi, Daria Nicolodi and Veronica Lazar
Rare entry in "The Three Mothers" trilogy is probably one of the most beautiful horror films ever made and certainly one of the most underrated, where a poet try to discover an evil mother who hides in an old and big NY building. Excellently made, even a bit superior to "Suspiria", full of genius direction, photography and music, composed by Keith Emerson. Great expressionist touches; a surreal, Gothic fantasy. Argento's best so far.
Dario Argento's classic
This is one of Dario Argento's classic masterpiece's that is full of gore and suspense. Another interesting thing is the lighting, every night scene has red, blue and bits of green on parts of the scenery and I found that to be something different. The film takes place in Rome and New York, when Mark's sister discovers the book about the Three Mothers and sends him a letter and calls him he decides to go to New York to find her.
He soon finds strange things happening in the apartments with blood on the floor, cats everywhere outside and people being murdered buy a mysterious hooded person. Inferno is a classic gory masterpiece made by a master of horror Dario Argento.
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