Newest Reviews
Watch List
Kat and the Band
Perfect 10
Red Penguins
China Syndrome, The
Round-Up, The
Around the Sun
Once There Was Brasilia
Dead Pigeon on Beethoven Street
She Demons
Good Girls, The
Hail, Hero!
Faces in the Crowd
Traitor, The
Third Generation, The
Saxon Charm, The
Spy Intervention
Killer with a Thousand Eyes, The
Vigil, The
Liberation of L.B. Jones, The
Wizard of Baghdad, The
Good Manners
Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo
Sweet Home
Big Score, The
Three Outlaw Samurai
Echoes of Fear
Guinea Pig, The
Newest Articles
For God's Sake Strap Yourselves Down: Flash Gordon on 4K UHD
Party Hard: Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Nights in with ABC 2 - Your Faces are All Blurred!
Eve Knew Her Apples: The Lady Eve on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Tempo - Gallery One
Network On Air: Nights In with ABC 1 - Welcome Once Again to Manchester!
Transformative Apocalypses: Phase IV and Southland Tales
The Happiest Days of Their Lives: The Guinea Pig on Blu-ray
Faced Poe: Three Edgar Allan Poe Adaptations Starring Bela Lugosi on Blu-ray
Hard Luck, Buster: The Cameraman on Blu-ray
At the Hop: Mr. Vampire on Blu-ray
Divine Madness: Female Trouble on Blu-ray
Country Matters: Further Out of Town on Blu-ray
Bat-Damn: Was Joel Schumacher's Batman Really That Bad?
The Beat Goes On: Takeshi Kitano Collection on Blu-ray
Dream Treats: Scorsese Shorts on Blu-ray
It's Only Money: Laughter in Paradise on Blu-ray
A Regular Terpsichore: Dance, Girl, Dance on Blu-ray
Teenage Trauma: Baby Love on Blu-ray
The Happening: Pet Shop Boys It Couldn't Happen Here on Blu-ray
Who Watched The Watchmen?
The Golden Age of Colonic Irrigation: Monty Python Series 4 on Blu-ray
Lady of Pleasure: Lola Montes on Blu-ray
Take You to the Gay Bar: Funeral Parade of Roses on Blu-ray
Hit for Ms: Mark Cousins' Women Make Film on Blu-ray
  Inferno The Crazy World of Dario Argento
Year: 1980
Director: Dario Argento
Stars: Leigh McCloskey, Irene Miracle, Eleonora Giorgi, Daria Nicolodi, Alida Valli, Sacha Pitoëff
Genre: HorrorBuy from Amazon
Rating:  8 (from 4 votes)
Review: Rose (Irene Miracle) is a poet who has developed an interest in the occult, specifically the legend of The Three Mothers who she reads about in an old book she borrows from an antiques shop near where she lives in New York City. According to this, these three evil spirits are in residency in three specially designed mansion houses, devised by an architect with a talent for tapping into the dark arts, one in Rome, one in Frieberg and the last where she is, New York. She goes to return the tome to the antiques dealer (Sacha Pitoëff) and confront him about the disturbing implications of what she has just pored over, but he dismisses her concerns as old wives' tales; however, Rose has taken note of its riddles and decides on further investigations...

Dario Argento's follow up to Suspiria, which it shared no characters with but thematically pursued the same lines, was the second in his Three Mothers trilogy - we had to wait decades for the third, the misbegotten Mother of Tears, which in spite of some complaining about this from some fans made it look like a masterpiece in comparison. Although it wasn't as accomplished as the previous entry, it remained notable for the final collaboration between Argento and his old friend Mario Bava, here conducting his last work on film before his untimely death that same year. Dario was suffering from a serious illness while shooting Inferno, which has had aficionados wondering how much of what we saw was his and how much was Mario's.

Dispensing with such trifles as a plot that makes sense, they piled setpiece upon suspense sequence upon gory murder to create a film that achieved the texture of a nightmare (much like Suspiria) and with those malleable rules of the dreams predominating it made its own kind of logic which seemed rational in the theatre of horror Argento made his cinematic home. Every character in it was vulnerable, in danger of being hacked, stabbed, eaten, guillotined, choked, burned, drowned - you name it, and as such after a short time it seemed they were all established not to generate audience sympathy, or even to guide us through the narrative, but to present opportunities for the filmmakers to have them expire in an extravagant fashion.

Where the whole thing really fell down is in its characters: they were fairly two dimensional to a man (and woman), either wandering around clueless or sinister and shifty. Even the ostensible hero, Rose's brother Mark (Leigh McCloskey), has little bearing on what actually happens, and the finale could quite easily have occurred without his interference so it's perhaps just as well he was absent from the screen for long stretches until he was reintroduced searching for his missing sister in New York, specifically the huge building which conceals many secrets where she was living. Reputedly inspired by the rambling, impossible location in Alain Resnais' Last Year at Marienbad, it was as much a character as the humans and demons, indeed there was a sense that the mansion was the most carefully constructed personality in the whole movie.

Therefore it was those setpieces that make this worthwhile as Argento and Bava truly aspired to crafting something memorable, like the underwater room that Rose dives into to retrieve her lost keys as someone advances above or the rat attack on the antique dealer which has a surprise punchline as he screams for help. Maybe because there was not much to the film except for those sequences Inferno can still come across as a little unsatisfying, particularly if you were wishing for something more solid than the hard to grasp mythology which was either too convoluted to understand with the scraps we were offered or made up as the film went along, most obviously in that abrupt wrap up of a final scene. Where it excelled, on the other hand, was making this world of the strange and dangerous appear to be encroaching on the ordinary we simply accept as normal, as if innocently turning the wrong corner - or page - would plunge you into the grip of evil forces impossible to wrangle. Keith Emerson supplied the music (well, most of it), not really a substitute for Goblin.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


This review has been viewed 5999 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film


Dario Argento  (1940 - )

Italian horror maestro who began his film career as a critic, before moving into the world of screenwriting, collaborating most notably with Sergio Leone and Bernardo Bertolucci on the script of Leone's Once Upon A Time In The West (1968). Argento's first film as director, The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (1970) set the template for much of his subsequent work - inventive camerawork, sly wit, violent murder set-pieces, and a convoluted whodunnit murder plot. He perfected his art in this genre with Deep Red in 1975, before proceeding to direct the terrifying Suspiria (1977) and Inferno (1980), the first two parts of a loose trilogy of supernatural chillers that were finally completed with Mother of Tears in 2007.

Since then, Argento has pretty much stuck to what he knows best, sometimes successfully with Tenebrae and Opera, sometimes, usually in the latter half of his career, less so (Trauma, Sleepless, Dracula), but always with a sense of malicious style.

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
Andrew Pragasam
  Lee Fiveash
  Mick Stewart
Enoch Sneed
  Dsfgsdfg Dsgdsgsdg


Last Updated: