Inferno (1980)

UK Arrow Video Blu-ray edition

Turnable sleeve

Text below written 2016-09-03


The Second part of Dario Argento's Mothers Trilogy and the follow-up to Suspiria is a special one, that's for sure.
More of a dream that combines visuals with music. The first 30-40 minutes or so are pure genius filmmaking of the
highest art with 3 set pieces, 3 tableaux that effortlessly glides into each other. A Visual Dream and a Fairy Tale for
grown up children. But the ending, the ending, boy does it SUCK. After the horrors of Suspiria and all the visual
fireworks Argento unloaded on to us previous in this film, the ending of Inferno is an embarassing anti-climax.
It seems like that Dario Argento didn't have this one thought out and in a panic tried doing the Suspiria one all over
again with exploding furniture and a big fire, but fails. Mark doing Suzy Bannion's escape from hell, but in NY.
Observe, i'm not trying to make fun of Argento below, as i Love him truly for his 1970-1987 films, but the truth about
the ending must be said and it doesn't matter anyway as the first part of this film is so unbelievably great.

So, let's forget about the lousy ending even though it's hard .... i'm Death, ha, ha, ha says Veronica Lazar's nurse
alias Mater Tenebrarum (the Lady of Darkness) transformed into a head longer guy wearing a rubber skeleton mask.
OoooK says Leigh McCloskey's Mark Elliot and leaves the burning Varelli building. Death just stands laughing ....
Ha, ha, ha, hi, hi, hi, i'm Death, i really am and don't bother to chase him or anything. Enjoying the fire maybe.
But, let's forget about the lousy ending and pretend that it just doesn't exist.

The 3 opening parts that i raved about above, they are: 1. The Room 2. Nabucco 3. Sara

It starts in NY in the house of one of the Three Mothers with a woman, played by the beautiful Irene Miracle, doing
some sleuthing about the origins of the house. She's bought an old book "The Three Mothers" written by an architect
Varelli in the 19th century and she follows a clue and dives into a underground room filled with water and corpses.
Earlier this scene was thought to have been orchestrated by the great Mario Bava, but now Tim Lucas tells us that
this scene was in fact filmed/made in Rome without any help from Master.
Mario Bava however did some great optical effects in Inferno, the master of using small means to make great visuals.

A Booklet with text and pictures

The second set-piece takes place in Rome in a rotund music auditorium where Mark and Sara (Eleonora Giorgio)
attends music class and listens to the beautiful Verdi choir "Va, pensiero" from the opera Nabucco (Fångarnas kör
ur Nebukadnessar), with the camera swirling around the room and with a very beautiful young woman whispering
a message to Mark and stroking a cat in her lap. She's Mater Lachrymarum (the Mother of Tears) and we can
see more of her in Argento's stinkeroo The Mother of Tears from 2007 (Jessica Harper dealt with the third mother
in 1977 Suspiria, the Lady of Sighs, Mater Suspiriorum). Ania Pieroni played the Cat Woman.
This set-piece may be my favourite Argento one of all time. It's so unexpected and unusual ....

The third one immediately follows the second, when Sara on a rainy night, just as Suzy Bannion in Suspiria, takes a
taxi (and with Fulvio Mingozzi as the driver, he must've moved from Bavaria, Germany to Rome) and the Verdi music
goes over into a Keith Emerson speeded up electronic version - just genius. Sara goes to a nasty old library with an
evil alchemist in the cellar and she flees home to her apartment, where she and her neighbour (played by Gabriele
Lavia) both get brutally killed. Then Mark is called by his sister Rose in NY and he goes there for the films 2nd part

The US Blue Underground DVD

The 2nd Part: And, it's slightly downhill from there. Steeper downhill at the end.
There are some gory killings, a woman gets her neck decapitated by a broken window piece of glass, an old antique
dealer gets killed by rats, an older woman turn on fire and fall to the ground and Daria Nicolodi gets cats thrown at
her .... maybe she's allergic and dies from sneezing? Alida Valli makes an appearance as a janitor and maybe she
survived the ending fire in the Freiburg Ballet Academy fire in Suspiria and moved to another Mother house?
The old house has this Deep Red and Suspiria type of design and decoration and the colors are spectacular in Inferno.

I remember seing this for the first time in the 80's, it was released in a heavily cut version by SF (Svensk Filmindustri)
in Sweden on VHS, but never shown in a cinema. 20th Century Fox hated this film (and Argento talks about in the extras)
and delayed the release until the US direct to video in 1986, almost as if they're ashamed over this film. The Cat eating a
mouse under the floor scene was removed from many editions.
Well, thankfully they re-mastered this film in 2010 and now we can enjoy it on a Blu-ray disc.

widescreen 1.85:1, english audio DTS-HD MA 5.1, english stereo, italian mono with 2 english subs (one for the english
and one for the italian version). Extras:
Dario's Inferno: Making the Second Mother (16 min, in italian with subs) interview with Dario, Acting in Hot Water: An

interview with Daria Nicolodi (19 min, in italian with subs) with lots of interesting stuff. Daria is always interesting, as:

She tells us she co-scripted Deep Red and Inferno without getting any credits, and she scripted Suspiria where she should
have played the main role but the american producers craved an american actress. Jessica Harper played Suzy Bannion
and Daria wisely admits that she played the part well ... (Suzy Bannion may be the most important woman in my life, we
have escaped out from hell together many times since i first saw Suspiria in 1977).
She says that it was she who called in her best friend Mario Bava to help out with the effects ... ? Is this true, as Lamberto
Bava worked on the film and may have asked his father for some help?
She continues bashing poor Dario (obviously she must do this in every interview ... is it an ongoing joke or)? She says she
loved Mario Bava more than she ever did Dario, and that Dario was a sadist against the actors and always in an irritated
mood. Wow, she must be a very bitter woman - but still very eloquent and interesting to listen to.
She also tells us that she has written the "real" third part to the Mothers Trilogy and knows how it all ends.

Extras cont. The Other Mother: Making the Black Cat (16 min) Luigi Cozzi about his never heard of unofficional third part
of the Mothers trilogy, a possible C film that could be lost, and no-one has seen it.
A Booklet with text by Alan Jones and pictures
Inferno Q & A (30 min) - Tim Lucas, Keith Emerson and Irene Miracle in front of an audience. Lucas about the exact in-
volvement of Mario Bava in Inferno, Emerson about his music and Miracles boobs in the underwater scene and Miracle
about her scene filmed a hot summer day in Rome. Just lovely, love them.

R.I.P. Keith Emerson 11/3 2016, possible suicide due to depression. So sad, he was so funny and full of life in the Q&A

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