A newspaper reporter and a retired, blind journalist try to solve a series of killings connected to a pharmaceutical company's experimental, top-secret research projects and in so doing, both become targets of the killer.
A young man tries to help a teenage European girl who escaped from a clinic hospital after witnessing the murder of her parents by a serial killer and they try to find the killer before the killer finds them.
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
Nancy Allen was offered the role of Rose Elliot when James Woods was in talks to be in the film, but had to turn the role down due to prior commitments. See more »
When Marks finds a hole in the floor, when the cat jumps in the hole, a human hand can be seen grabbing the cat under the floor when it lands in the hole. See more »
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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The movie was released on home video in the United States in 1985 by Key Video (owned by 20th Century Fox) completely uncut with the running time of 107 minutes. However, the box featured a typo that listed the running time for the video to be 83 minutes. This error has led to the urban myth that Fox cut 25 minutes from the film for it's American release. The Anchor Bay DVD release of Inferno is likewise the complete version of the film but with a new re-mastered widescreen transfer. See more »
'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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