Way back in October, I reviewed the film Suspiria. Since that review, the film has done nothing but grow in my favor. It currently resides in my Top 5 Favorite Films and is my favorite horror movie. But that film is not the only Argento film worth a watch. Not in the slightest. And what a lot of people don’t know is that Suspiria is actually the first part of a trilogy. Today we are going to look at the second part, Inferno.
Oh Lord, I love Dario Argento. The man’s classic films are much more than that. They are like paintings on the screen. Each piece of furniture, each color, each camera angle is expertly chosen to give the film an eerie and foreboding, but lush and grand atmosphere and feel. Inferno was my first experience with the work of Il Maestro Argento. I was hooked. It was a revelation! Here is a film that melds the beauty of art-house films and Kubrick with the terror and jaw-dropping violence of something like Halloween. Why hadn’t I explored this before?! ‘Surely this film is regarded as a classic.” I thought. “Why wouldn’t it be?” But some research revealed that there are three typical responses this film garners. 1. “Dude, that film is so incoherent and flawed. Skip it.” 2. “What is Inferno?” and 3. “It’s an unfairly maligned classic.” Needless to say, I am firmly on the side of No.3. The fact that this film is met with either scorn or blankness is a travesty. It’s beautifully shot. The kill scenes are great (as always with Argento films of this period). The scares are nice n’ surreal. In my eyes, the only areas it isn’t on par with Suspiria is the score and the lead actress. Also, no room filled with barb-wire like in Suspiria. Fans of barb-wire rooms will be let down.
The soundtrack is done by Keith Emerson, of Emerson, Lake & Palmer. While I may despise ELP, Emerson does an all right job here. Some songs are even quite good, like the title theme and Mater Tenenbrarum, but it’s mostly ambient/classical piano noodling. Compare that to the score done by Goblin for Suspiria and it’s easy to be disappointed. Funnily enough, Emerson only really exceeds when he tries to mimic Goblin as close as possible. Now, the lead actress. Our lead this time is Irene Miracle who does OK. But she is really only there to look pretty and further along the plot. What little true plot there is, anyways. That is another complaint I have heard about the film. That it has no plot and lack coherence. To that I say: So what? If you are watching an Argento film and expecting it to be as tightly wound as say, a Wes Anderson flick, you are going to be sorely disappointed. This film is a story for the eyes, not the mind. Thats partially why I love it so much. It is completely bonkers. Stuff happens, amazing murder scene, more stuff happens.
Anyways, Inferno is an amazing film But it certainly isn’t for everyone. No, if you are wanting a horror film along the lines of Saw or Paranormal Activity, you will be left cold. This film exists on it’s own wavelength and you have to adjust to it. But once you do, new worlds are opened up and you’re all the better for having done so. For newcomers looking for a way into Argento film, go get Suspiria or Deep Red, but make your way here eventually. Inferno is waiting for you. As it always has been.