6.6/10
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Inferno (1980)

R | | Horror | 2 April 1980 (USA)
An American college student in Rome and his sister in New York investigate a series of killings in both locations where their resident addresses are the domain of two covens of witches.

Director:

Dario Argento

Writer:

Dario Argento (story and screenplay)

Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Leigh McCloskey ... Mark Elliot
Irene Miracle ... Rose Elliot
Eleonora Giorgi ... Sara
Daria Nicolodi ... Elise De Longvalle Adler
Sacha Pitoëff ... Kazanian (as Sacha Pitoeff)
Alida Valli ... Carol, the caretaker
Veronica Lazar ... The Nurse / Mater Tenebrarum
Gabriele Lavia ... Carlo
Feodor Chaliapin Jr. ... Professor Arnold / Dr. Varelli (as Feodor Chaliapin)
Leopoldo Mastelloni Leopoldo Mastelloni ... John, the Butler
Ania Pieroni ... Music Student
James Fleetwood James Fleetwood ... Cook
Rosario Rigutini Rosario Rigutini ... Man
Ryan Hilliard ... Shadow
Paolo Paoloni ... Music Teacher
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Storyline

Riddled with secret but horrid suspicion, the young American poet, Rose Elliot, writes to her brother and musicology student in Rome, Mark, about the startling findings in the dark and dank basement of her New York Art Deco apartment building. Pivoting around the cryptic knowledge hidden in the leather-bound book entitled "The Three Mothers", Rose is convinced that her aristocratic but damned abode is, in fact, an ancient coven for Mater Tenebrarum, the malevolent Mother of Darkness. Little by little, as the siblings delve deeper and deeper into the occult, a mysterious disappearance and an endless string of gruesome killings will bring Mark closer and closer to a surreal nightmare. Where do the long and shadowy corridors of Rose's building lead? Written by Nick Riganas

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Come face to face with hell See more »

Genres:

Horror

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When star Leigh McCloskey's stunt double broke his leg, McCloskey himself had to perform the stunt work for the film's explosive finale. In interviews, McCloskey said it was an intense experience as the rest of the crew and equipment were protected by multiple layers of Plexiglas while he had to run without protection through sets rigged to explode and burn. McCloskey said "When you feel glass flying by you like a Harrier jet, you never forget it!". See more »

Goofs

Towards the beginning, when the character played by Irene Miracle is swimming through the lost cellar room, she clearly is not wearing a bra; however, a few minutes later, after surfacing and returning to the building lobby, you can see that a bra has magically appeared under her dress. See more »

Quotes

Narrator: The Three Mothers rule the world with sorrow, tears and darkness. Mater Suspiriorum, the Mother of Sighs, and the oldest of the three, lives in Freiburg. Mater Lachrymarum, the Mother of Tears, and the most beautiful of the sisters, holds rule in Rome. Mater Tenebrarum, the Mother of Darkness, who is the youngest and cruelest of the three, controls New York.
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Alternate Versions

For its UK cinema release cuts were made to shots of a cat eating a live mouse. The Fox video was cut by 20 secs with the same cinema cut plus an additional edit to a closeup of a cat's head being hit against a chair. The cuts were fully waived for the 2010 Arrow DVD. See more »

Connections

Referenced in In Search of Darkness (2019) See more »

Soundtracks

Mater Tenebrarum
Composed by Keith Emerson'
Keyboards by Keith Emerson'
Vocals performed by Linda Lee (uncredited)
See more »

User Reviews

A Story of Three Mothers?
24 November 2004 | by BaronBl00dSee all my reviews

Definitely a Dario Argento film here. No question about it. The film's plot concerns a young girl ,having read a book about three "mothers" who live in France, Germany, and her hotel in New York, investigating the place she lives in for a key. The girl contacts her brother going to school in Rome - anyone buy Leigh McCloskey as a student of musicology? - asking for help. The three mothers are...well, if you know you are a step ahead of me.

This Argento film is very problematic. On the one hand its genius cannot be denied when it comes to visual artistry and suspense building. Argento paints a scene like no other film maker I know, with the exception perhaps of Mario Bava(who worked on this film...his last). The vibrant colors used throughout the film are surreal, and some of the scenes are lessons in scene building. The underwater sequence is an awesome scene, yet its has virtually no place in the film's plot. Another scene involves a crippled man falling in water and slowly being devoured by rats. His cries reach a diner cook working late, who runs outside to stick a knife in the poor man's throat. His character or an explanation never come. How about the key? Never mentioned again. Visual brilliance cannot make this a good film, though it really works hard at it. I found myself not really understanding what was going on yet loving the scenery. As with most of Argento's work, we get plenty of bloody deaths, particularly young girls and crippled older men. Inferno is not a bad film nor is it a great film. It has many qualities found in Suspiria, but that film made a great deal more sense and had some actors that had a bit more talent than those involved with this. McCloskey's stage presence is akin to driftwood. He is a very poor lead. Alida Valli is back as a permed hotel manager. She gives a good performance though her part has almost no real significance in the film. I guess my gripe is that how can a director with so much obvious talent like Argento just cross the line too much between reality and imagination. If your audience doesn't have SOME guidance then how are they going to know what you are trying to achieve. Some reviewers say you need to watch this film many times to get its point. Balderdash! I could watch it ten more times and still would not be able to make the aforementioned connections in the plot. I could easily sit through the film again though, because of Argento's style of using film as a canvas. If Inferno had a better constructed plot, something along the lines of Suspiria, this very well could be a minor masterpiece. It is definitely worth a look; however, though it pales in comparison to Suspiria in every way.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

Italy

Language:

Italian

Release Date:

2 April 1980 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Inferno See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$3,000,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

Produzioni Intersound See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (heavily cut)

Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo (Dolby Stereo) (5.0 Surround Sound) (L-R)| 3 Channel Stereo (5.0 Surround Sound) (L-R)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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