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Young poetess Rose Elliot buys a book from a local antique dealer, a diary in Latin of an architect, E. Varelli. She learns of the Three Mothers, and believes her apartment building is one of their houses. She pleads her brother Mark, who is studying musicology in Rome, to come, because she is afraid. Mark's friend Sara reads her letter, which he left behind in class, and discovers the school is run by the Mater Lacrimarum, and is killed for this knowledge. The house of Mater Suspiriorum has already been destroyed, and by the time Mark arrives in New York City, he is investigating his sister's murder. Written by
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In the scene where Kazanian is investigating a noise in his shop, he is shown reaching towards the table closest to him. As he's reaching down, his right crutch falls from under his arm. However, in the next mid-shot of him backing towards the bookshelf behind him, the right crutch is just starting to fall from under his arm. See more »
[Reading from "The Three Mothers," by E. Varelli]
I do not know what price I shall have to pay for breaking what we alchemists call Silentium, the life experiences of our colleagues should warn us not to upset laymen by imposing our knowledge upon them.
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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.
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