6.6/10
18,591
153 user 157 critic

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)
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Popularity
4,701 ( 2,114)

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:

Before Tenebrae, Beyond Suspiria there is... INFERNO! See more »

Genres:

Horror

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The unrelated earlier film Inferno (1953) was also distributed by the 20th Century Fox studio. See more »

Goofs

When the power begins going on and off in Sara's apartment, the music continues to start and stop as if a CD was playing. Since she is playing a record on a turntable, there would be slowing down and speeding up as the power goes in and out. See more »

Quotes

[Reading from "The Three Mothers", by E. Varelli]
Rose Elliot: 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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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

Featured in Inferno: Art & Alchemy with Leigh McCloskey (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Mater Tenebrarum
Composed by Keith Emerson'
Keyboards by Keith Emerson'
Vocals performed by Linda Lee (uncredited)
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User Reviews

 
Atmospheric and visionary
21 August 2002 | by frobozSee all my reviews

'Inferno' is the kind of movie - like Gilliams 'Brazil' - where a few of us will leave the theater enriched by the experience, but there's also the sour-faced crowd dismissing it as the worst crap ever.

I came upon Argento's movies just recently, looking for good horror films. Now I've enjoyed Suspiria, Tenebre and Inferno. At first his original style came as a shock. I can understand those that, accustomed to hollywoodian narrative, find his movies to be full of faults. I wouldn't even recommend them if you're looking for 'ordinary', mainstream horror.

'Suspiria' reminded me of the 1933 'Vampyr' by danish director Carl Dreyer. 'Inferno' has echoes of German director Fritz Lang, for instance his 1933 The 'Testament of Doctor Mabuse'. Much of the Argento way of doing things has a silent movie era feel to it. The acting is visually exaggerated, and the dialogue is often wooden - the awful dubbing of english voices in the versions I saw added to this effect.

Argento makes different choices. The music, for instance, is not adding atmosphere as a soundtrack - it is a full frontal assault, meant to be noticed and impossible to ignore. The cinematic choices of camera angles, lightning and so on are stylish and unique in their unrelenting artistic ambition. I can't even begin to describe the style. Even if I mentioned Dreyer and Lang, Argento is more expressionist than impressionist, but for lack of good words I'll shut my mouth about this subject.

I have to defend Argento against the claims that 'Inferno' has an incoherent plot. It simply doesn't - the story is fairly straight and linear. The evil depicted is not rational, and we are often left in the dark as to the acts and motives of the evil forces. But this is part of the horror and suspense. I won't go into more details about the plot, as there are many excellent user comments here, and this is not really a review, just some comments.

Some parts of 'Inferno' are pure beauty - exact scenes, feeling more like a storyboard coming to life in the imagination than as a real movie. The design of the house of the second Mother is fascinating - modern and medieval at the same time.

Finally, some individual scenes are truly scaring, which is rare in horror movies - especially the underwater scene.


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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)
See more on IMDbPro »

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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