Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Inferno (1980)

Inferno is a dream, a flow of coincidences. If chaos theory can be applied to a movie, Inferno would be the perfect choice. There’s hardly a word spoken within the first 25 minutes of the story, just stuff happening, often by chance. This is so beautiful, so calm and peaceful, even if it’s filled with terror and dread. I think these minutes are better than the whole movie of Suspiria.

This is the strength in many cases of the Italian filmmakers. They work with their instinct, just write and direct what their instict tells them, no matter if it’s logical or not. I understand that many people have problem with that, but for me it’s the ultimate form of storytelling. Even if I love giallos and mysterys and clever spy thrillers, it can be too constructed, to much written and “smart”. Inferno IS a very smart movie, but it’s more about the EI (Emotional Intelligence) than the IQ.

Officially Daria Nicolodi wasn’t involved as a writer in Inferno, but the ideas and atmosphere is obviously a work of hers. What I understand she has a knowledge and interest in the occult, and I wouldn’t be surprised if she practices magic too. She claims she knows who the REAL Il Mostro Di Firenze is, and I hope she one day will share her theories with us. Anyway, she’s in the movie, but like all other actors she’s not the main characters – and that leads me too why this more seem like a spiritual journey than a typical horror movie.

For me house no 49 is a body, it’s a symbol for us all and the darkness that we all have deep inside. It’s also Mater Lachrymarum that resides in this house, the mother of darkness/shadows. The road to her is thru the body of the house, under the skin and beneath the surface of what we think is something normal. The water is the blood, the wallpapers is the skin. She’s all that we don’t want to admit ourselves to be.

But after all, it’s the sequel to Suspiria and it’s filled with gorgeous set-pieces, violent murders (but not as graphic as many of Argento’s other movies, some is even off screen!) and an awesome score by Keith Emerson. Sure, it would have been fantastic with Goblin – but Emerson does the job so well, that it’s perfect. The music is both Goblin-esque progressive rock, abstract modern music, classical pieces and a quite uneven choir-piece (it sounds like a bad version of Bohemian Rhapsody sometimes!). But it fits the movie perfectly!

Most of the acting is vague, people are just reading their lines, but Sacha Pitoëff, Feodor Chaliapin Jr, Alida Valli, Daria Nicolodi and Veronica Lazar is excellent! The appearance of Gabriele Lavia is weird too. A good actor, but the character he’s given is flat and feels unnecessary – maybe just a way for a friend to give a good friend a job?

Inferno is a masterpiece, a wonderful surreal horror-drama which in its dreamy state can spellbind most viewers. The new blu-ray from Arrow is stunning, and gives the movie a whole new layer of details. Shadows and colors, blackness and that juicy italian red blood finally feels perfect.

Go get it.


CiNEZiLLA said...

Wonderfull piece!
I totaly agree that Inferno on may occasions has a better overall aura than Suspiria. That opening is so damned brilliant each time. Good Ole Mario Bava huh! What a great movie to work on as a final flick.

What I like about it so much is also the fact that Dario really takes his sadism to a new levell. It's not enough to have someone stab you repeatedly, but then you have your head rammed through a window and THEN the broken pane falls down, decapitating you... he just goes wild here and I love it.

I also feel that Emmerson's score is an essential part of that Inferno feeling, as it moves the movie into more of a darker space than a strange place that Suspiria expored with it's wild score. Inferno is more of a classic piece which brings a majestic feeling to the film which Suspiria lacks. The threat is more real and less weird.

I only really have a problem with the skeleton suit at the end... but in the whole that's only a mere blimp on the ass of a great movie!

Ninja Dixon said...

Not to forget the poor guy in central park! There you can talk about sadism - first crawling around in cold water, getting attacked and eaten by rats and then get repetetly stabbed in the neck with a butchers knife!

I'm so fascinated by the idea of a house inside a house, it's a marvelous and outrageous idea!

The suit in the end is VERY corny, but it seem like Argento and his editor is trying to hide it, cut away from it as much as possible.

And I'm happy you liked my text, I was hoping for that :)

Anonymous said...

Bar none "THE BEST" Horror film ever made. God bless Argento!