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Another Winner From Argento Despite the Ending
Michael_Elliott13 August 2011
Opera (1987)

*** (out of 4)

A production of Lady MacBeth hits a snag when the lead actress is hit by a car. This turns the lead role over to Betty (Cristina Marsillach), a young understudy who soon finds herself being stalked by a crazed "fan" who forced her to watch him kill her co-workers. Here's yet another good film from the Italian master but if you're familiar with the work of Dario Argento then you already know that he doesn't waste time on silly things. Of course, one such "silly thing" is plot, which is something he rarely digs too deep into and it's also rare that any of his films make much sense. The reasons behind the killer are certainly explained towards the end but let's just say that very little thought went into them. In fact, I'd be willing to bet that the entire story by Argento really didn't go anywhere past the idea of putting needles under the eyes of our hero, which is the one way that the killer can force her to watch him kill. Without the needles she could just close her eyes but with the needles, if she attempts to close her eyes then she'll basically be poking them out. Even that seems to have a few problems when you see the device but that's besides the point. Overall this is a fairly stylish little film that certainly has a few creepy moments to make it worth viewing. One of the highlights happens when Betty and her agent (Daria Nicolodi) are trapped inside an apartment not knowing if the man inside is a killer or the cop trying to protect them. Then, on the outside, is another man who might be the killer or perhaps he's really the cop. This is a very good sequence that Argento handles very well. Another such sequence is the now somewhat legendary first ending dealing with crows taking their revenge. If you stop and think about it the scene is quite ridiculous but while watching it you can't help but be entertained. Marsillach has taken a lot of heat from fans due to her lack of performance as she's never really all that emotional or at least she doesn't show it. I didn't have too much of a problem with her performance, although she's certainly not in the same league as some of Argento's other leading actresses. Ian Charleson is good in his role as is Urbano Barberini and Nicolodi. Now, the controversy happens after the ending inside the opera. I'm not going to spoil anything but I found what happens after the opera to be downright idiotic and completely worthless. The entire sequence is just a joke and it really makes the viewer leave the picture with a bad taste in their mouth. Still, even with the flaws OPERA is a pretty effective horror film where the director once again mixes style, graphic violence and some nice atmosphere. One only wishes the stories had a little more thought to them.
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Possibly Argento's most out-and-out visual experience
Leofwine_draca12 November 2016
Warning: Spoilers
A Grand Guignol slice of Italian madness from Dario Argento which, whilst not one of the director's best (and how could it be, with such a career resume?), is still above average for the genre. Argento creates one of his most visual movies here, with incredible crane tracking shots (in particular the "raven flight" is very well done), minute attention to detail and colouring of the sets and scenery, plus his acclaimed artistic deaths which are in abundance here. Indeed, TERROR AT THE OPERA contains some of the director's most cruel and flamboyant deaths, including the bravura death of Betty's boyfriend which is a particularly gut-churning slice of celluloid - after getting stabbed in the neck, Argento gives us a couple of shots of the knife-blade actually twisting in the boy's MOUTH before he's stabbed repeatedly, spraying arterial fluid everywhere and making a sticky mess in general. Other deaths involve coathook-impalings and, in one of Argento's cleverest - and cruellest - shots, one victim is shot through the eye whilst looking through a keyhole in a door.

This is also the movie with the infamous "torture" sequences in which heroine Betty is abused by being tied up and then having needles taped to her lower eyelids, forcing her to keep her eyes open and watch the gruesome crimes as they are played out in front of her! Not once but twice this happens and it's a very macabre, "video nasty" style image which is unforgettable once you've seen it. Argento makes good use of his opera setting throughout (unlike his PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, which he made eleven years later and which is a complete mess) and the only misstep seems to be the grating heavy metal music which he infuriatingly populated his '80s movies with - what gives? TERROR AT THE OPERA is populated by the typical late '80s bunch of Italian nobodies, young up-and-coming actors who never went anywhere outside of their native Italy. Cristina Marsillach is one of Argento's less talented female leads, and her performance is merely adequate. The only character of interest is Ian Charleson, who plays Macbeth's director and is a horror fan to boot - so, sure enough, he turns out to be a sadist! Charleson has good fun with the role though and it's one of the film's more complex parts. Unfortunately, the killer is ineffectual and vacant, although the movie does allow for a nice twist ending involving his character. Watch out for favourite Argento victim Daria Nicolodi, who appears as the unfortunate aforementioned keyhole victim.
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Flawed, but Technically Wonderful
claudio_carvalho8 March 2016
When the diva of a daring production of Verdi's Macbeth directed by Marco (Ian Charleson) has an accident, the young opera singer Betty (Cristina Marsillach) successfully replaces her. Soon a psychopath obsessed by Betty kills her boyfriend, the production assistant Stefano (William McNamara); her costumer designer Giulia (Coralina Cataldi-Tassoni); and her agent Mira (Daria Nicolodi). Inspector Alan Santini (Urbano Barberini), who is her fan, gives protection to Betty, but the murderer always gets close to her. Who might be the killer?

"Opera" is a giallo version of The Phantom of the Opera by Dario Argento. The story has many flaws, but technically the film is wonderful. The camera work is fantastic, exploring unusual angles and movements. The cinematography is outstanding using beautiful bright colors. The music score is magnificent. And the special effects with lots of gore are top- notch, with usual murders. The cast has good performances and the film never disappoints. My vote is seven.

Title (Brazil): "Terror na Ópera" ("Terror in the Opera")
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kosmasp21 July 2007
This movie is similar to other Argento movies. But still as thin as the story is, it does achieve it's goal to frighten you more than once. And that's a lot, coming from me (see my other comments on Argento titles)!

If you have seen other Argento titles, than you will kind of be aware of what you have to expect. If not, let me tell you that this is one bloody movie. So no faint hearted people should watch this! The effects of course are a bit outdated and the blood looks a bit phony too, but the horror still remains the same!

You have a young girl coming to an opera, where she wants to study. But bad things start to happen to people ... Talk about, wrong place at the wrong time! I'll leave you with that ...
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One of Argento's More Overlooked Films
gavin694219 February 2010
After the lead actress of the opera is killed in a car accident, her young understudy, Betty, is brought to the forefront. That's very lucky for her, with one problem: she has an admirer that has decided he will kill all her friends and make her watch. What is his connection to the opera, and what is his fascination with Betty?

I love Dario Argento with every part of my body. And I'm not an orthodox fan, I think. Many people, particularly critics, praise his earlier work ("Suspiria" and "Deep Red") but really frown on later films, such as "Sleepless", which I liked. My favorite, "Phenomena", is usually vastly underrated. "Opera" tends to fall somewhere in between. Some consider it one of his last great films, others see it as part of his so-called decline. I loved it.

The picture is crisp, the music is great (unlike other critics, I love the metal soundtrack), the female lead is someone I can feel for (not unlike Jennifer Connelly from "Phenomena"). And the imagery... wonderful. Great cinematography, and some amazing kill scenes. The concept of taping needles to a person's eyes so they cannot blink... brilliant. My assistant Tina thinks this looked fake, but even if it does, the idea is more than enough to pay off. And some great effects, like a knife blade coming up inside a man's mouth? Awesome.

Jim Harper calls the film "stunning" and calls attention to the "innovative cinematography, well-constructed shots and exceptionally violent murders." I agree with this completely -- one shot follows the camera through winding tunnels, and there is a very interesting visual use of crows throughout the story. Mike Mayo likewise calls it "visually fascinating eye-candy" and lauds the "crisp editing and flowing camera-work". It's really a wonder that this is not one of Argento's more highly-praised works.

Argento returned to the opera with "Phantom of the Opera", which was a bit of a failure despite the casting of his daughter Asia and Julian Sands. Even more interesting, this same year offered the release of Michele Soavi's "Stagefright", which (like "Opera") has a killer loose inside a theater killing off the people involved with the presentation. Both are great films, with Soavi's more on the slasher side. (Soavi actually served as second unit director on "Opera"... you can make your own conclusions.)

My only complaint with this film is the length and pacing. While it is very beautifully shot and the kill scenes are glorious, they are not as frequent as they should be. The first one takes over a half hour, and then we get down times between them. The lead actress should be in constant terror, but she is given time between kills to calm down as if everything is normal again. Not cool, Dario. We need to keep the suspense low and the intensity high.
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Creepy Dario Argento movie about a diva terrorized by a psycho-killer , including grisly gore murders
ma-cortes3 December 2018
Good Gialli with imaginatively staged murders by the master of horror . The setting is a production of Macbeth at La Scala Opera House .A bizarre staging of Verdi's Macbeth is plagued by a deranged and depraved fan bent on killing the people , but the show must go on . When the former star of a production is run over by a car , a young singer called Betty (Cristina Marsillach) is hired by the entrepreneur and she gets her big chance . Then , the young opera singer becomes the target of a psycho . Betty chooses not to go to the police and instead confides in Marco (Ian Charleson) , the director of Macbeth, about the incidents . Shortly after , the weird psycopath committing ominous killings in Argento's unmistakable style . Later on , Inspector Alan Santini (Urbano Barberini) arrives at the opera house to investigate the strange happenings .A star is born tonight... will she live to see tomorrow? The last note is a real killer.

Eerie and ghastly Dario Argento full of obsession , scary murders , bloodcurling madness and shocking death scenes . It is a nice Giallo plenty of grisly killings , suspense and bizarre intrigue . Dario Argento's great success is compelling directed with startling visual content . This frightening movie is plenty of thrills, chills, body-count and strange color with phenomenal results . This is a classic slasher where the intrigue,tension, suspense appear threatening and lurking in every room, corridors , Opera house , and luxurious interior and exterior. Italian horror-meister Argento's always fluid camera achieves spectacular frames , but the ludricous , lurid screenplay make this one for Argento buffs and connoisseuurs only . As always , though , the most terrifying things are the astonishing murders , being very well staged . Argento goes straight for the eyes and throat in this stylishly sick terror movie . All the trademarks are here : minimal summary , stunning set pieces , baroque camera movements , striking cinematography and mysoginist violence . The movie belongs to Italian Giallo genre that was invented by Mario Bava (Black Sabbath) along with Riccardo Freda (Secret of Dr. Hitchcock) , they are the fundamental creators . These Giallo movies are characterized by overblown use of color with shining red blood, usual zooms, and utilization of images-shock . Later appears the maestro Dario Argento with his typically stylish Giallos, he is another essential creator of classic Latin terror films . Argento's acceptable direction is well crafted, and as always more inclined toward violence and lots of killings . This genuinely mysterious story is well made and is one of the best ¨Giallo¨ with oneiric, effective aesthetic . And the operatic scenes employ the voice of Maria Callas . Being available in an edited R rated version and the film had an alternate ending at some points . Breathtaking scenes starred by crows , about 140 crows were used, but only 60 sum were ever retrieved ; it would take hours for everyone to re-capture the crows after they were released in the opera house for filming . The others apparently escaped from the opera house during filming . And surprising ending , in fact , the final of the movie is inspired by the ending of Thomas Harris's book "Red Dragon". So-so acting by Cristina Marsillach as a young opperata of Verdi's Macbeth is stalked by an associated with her to claim her for himself . He is accompanied by a fine support cast such as Ian Charleson in his last theatrical film , as he died of AIDS , Urbano Barberini , Barbara Cupisti , William McNamara , Antonella Vitale and Daria Nicolidi , director's wife , though she had ended her long-time relationship with Dario Argento two years earlier. And Vanessa Redgrave was attached to appear as Mara Czekova, but dropped out shortly before production began , then this character was then reduced to a minor one. And Dario Argento as Narrator and filmmaker Michele Soavi as Inspector Daniele Soave .

It displays a luxurious and evocative photography by Ronnie Taylor . As well as an eerie and chilling musical score from Brian Eno , Roger Eno , Claudio Simonetti and Bill Wyman . The picture was originally directed by the Visconti of violence : Dario Argento ,one of those film-makers who set off simple for frightening us to death . His terror pieces are competently staged with eye-opening flair-play and surprising images .His period of biggest hits were the 70s when he directed the animals trilogy: ¨Four flies over gray velvet¨, ¨The cat of nine tails¨, ¨Bird with the crystal plumage¨, after he directed other great successes movies as ¨Suspiria¨, ¨Inferno¨, ¨Tenebre¨ and of course ¨Deep red¨. Rating : 6/10 decent terror movie . See it , if you must , in the big screen because its swirling camerawork and imaginative nastiness will be partially loss in video or TV. This bloody fun plenty of graphic gore and weirdness may not be for all tastes but to be liked for Argento aficionados especially.º
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Do you like Argento?
BA_Harrison6 April 2008
If you're OK with the outlandish work of Italy's premier horror director—able to accept his outrageous story lines and flamboyant style—then you should have a great time with Opera. If you don't, then you won't.

Cristina Marsillach plays Betty, a beautiful young opera understudy who is given a shot at fame (in an avant-garde production of Macbeth) when the star of the show is hit by a car. As any thesp who has 'trod the boards' will know, Macbeth is a production that carries a curse—and Betty soon discovers that the show in which she is now the star is no exception: a killer is systematically offing the staff at the theatre—and poor Betty is forced to watch by the sadistic murderer (who tapes needles under her eyes to prevent her from closing them!).

With the help of a little girl who crawls through her air-conditioning ducts, her director and agent, and a few ravens who have seen the murderer's face (!!!), Betty discovers the killer's identity, and the truth about her mysterious past.

Let's face it... Opera is one crazy film, with its preposterous plot-turns, convoluted death scenes, and an ending that beggars belief. And whilst director Dario Argento has never been one for, shall we say, conventional story lines, this particular giallo is so daft, and features so many of his trademark stylish touches (all ramped up to the max), that it's almost as if, with each successive film, he is seeing what he can get away with (at times almost parodying his earlier work).

This is exactly why I find the film such fun!!!

Argento's camera movements are absolutely incredible: gliding, creeping and, in one amazing scene, even swooping around the opera house above the audience; the power of Verdi's music is combined perfectly with the synth majesty of Claudio Simonetti's score, providing a suitably grandiose accompaniment to the sumptuous visuals; and several outstanding set-pieces (featuring Sergio Stivaletti's nauseating gore FX) go to prove that no-one does death better than Argento (check out one character's stunning demise, in which a bullet passes through a spy-hole in a door in slow motion, and straight into their eye!).

7.5 out of 10, rounded up to 8 for IMDb.
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sometimes illogical and demented, other times cruel and misogynistic- also a lot of fun!
Quinoa198420 December 2007
Dario Argento is a filmmaker I'm slowly getting into, following the iconoclastic efforts of Deep Red and Suspiria; he's not a filmmaker to always care directly about silly things like "plot". That might be his one minor (but, for me, apparent) liability: he won't let a little thing like common sense screw up his plan for his elaborate killing sequences, as his killer(s) can go through any kind of elaborate set-up of being invisible, until revealing past the point of the POV tracking shots of said psychopathic killer. But it's thrilling to see a filmmaker take chances like this anyway, of a pure Italian aesthetic making its way into the soul of a Hitchcockian warp (in fact, as a note of interest, if one has recently seen the Scorsese short film where he took three pages of an un-filmed Hitchcock film, which also took place in an Opera, Argento had it beat by almost twenty years, probably with no knowledge of the text). It's also unabashedly 80s (CD players and heavy metal and the hair, oh my!) and with an absurdity that makes it all the more palatable to swallow.

The story is simple: an opera of Macbeth is being produced, with high-stylized pyrotechnics and trained ravens. There's even a talented up-and-coming star replaced at the last minute, Betty, played by Marsillach. But a murder occurs during the premiere- interrupted not by that but by a falling light- and now the killer is after Betty! She can't go to the police (how can she let out that the opera is really cursed?), but will that matter in the face of a killer who won't let up? One has probably seen premises like this played out in other Argento films- girl being chased by a killer- but it's how Argento, like De Palma, constructs and executes his sequences, and adds a distinctive flavor of his own to add touches of bizarre humor (the breakout of the ravens to attack the killer, and the subsequent version of pointing out in the lineup), a kind of over-stylization ala Leone (the bullet through the peephole through the door probably inspired a similar shot in Kill Bill 1), and even sado-masochistic inspiration with the pins taped to Betty's eyes, more than once!

Argento puts his actress through the wringer, and she's all game for it, even when things seem to just go into 'what-the-hell' territory (I was throwing up my hands almost saying I give up when she is led down the secret passage by the little girl, as if suddenly we're in Aliens now). And through such dark genre material Argento keeps the violence thick and fresh, the suspense about as much as that with opera music coming right out of a speaker of a stereo system, and a cinematographer who may have had a few drinks (and rightfully so!) during some scenes the way they're shot and vibrate to a heart-beat. It should be considered trash, but it's elevated past any limitations of the genre by the ballsy attitude of the director, this in spite of a silly ending- sillier than anything that preceded what came before it (thanks little lizard)- and an attempt to break the Macbeth curse, which, unfortunately, didn't seem to happen in real life on the set of Opera. 8.5/10
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Argento's most terrifying achievement to this date !!
Coventry13 December 2003
Warning: Spoilers
I finally managed to get myself a copy of Dario Argento's Opera, and I tell you ... that was about time !! It was the last Argento movie I had yet to see and I'm a fan of most of his work. I reckon that most of his work is extremely important for the genre of horror but some of his movies tend to disappoint ( like Phenomena ). But the plot idea of Opera always appealed to me and it turns out I was right !! I enjoyed every shot in Opera and I was fascinated by this movie for the first minute till the last. Out of all the Argento movies, Opera went straight to the number one spot and I hope I can encourage as many people as possible to see this one as well.

The script and plot-idea of Opera is rather simple. Especially compared to Argento's previous movie Phenomena that had too many ideas in it, and ended up being a mess. The plot of Opera is creepy and chilling but at the same time it's an excellent satiric comment - almost a spoof - towards the opponents of explicit violence. ***SPOILERS*** A young opera singer ( the gorgeous Cristina Marsillach ) is being stalked by a horribly sadistic murderer. During every massacre he commits, he forces Betty to watch his actions with her eyes wide open. There are needles attached to her eyelids and when she closes them, they're getting torn apart. ***END SPOILERS***. To this simple - yet effective - idea, Argento adds a lot of horrific elements like ravens, the classic piece ( and curse ) of MacBeth and the whole atmospheric location of the opera building and the music. Especially the presence of the creepy ravens are and extra value. Ancient masters like Edgar Allen Poe already knew these black birds have a lot of mystery hanging around them, and Dario Argento knows it as well.

The violence and gore is very well presented in Opera and that's what makes this a true Argento picture. His best in my opinion with Profondo Rosso as a close second. I surely hope to recommend this movie to a lot of people among you. Especially for fans of the ( Italian ) horror business, this is an absolute must ! Favorite "Rewind"-scene : Argento shows his visual talent the best in the scene where Betty's friend is getting shot in the eye while she's trying to see who's in front of the door.
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Just wow
BandSAboutMovies30 October 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Mara Cecova is a diva and the star of a whole new way of performing Verdi's Macbeth. But when she's hit by a car as she argues with the director in the middle of the street, her role goes to her understudy, Betty. Ironically, in his book Profondo Argento, director Dario Argento claimed that the person playing the role of Betty, Cristina Marsillach, was the most difficult actress he would ever work with.

Despite her initial worries, Betty becomes an instant success on her opening night. At the same time, a black-gloved killer sneaks into one of the boxes to watch before murdering a stagehand with a coathanger. Grab your barf bags and motion sickness pills, everyone, Argento is behind the camera!

Of all the powerful shocks in Opera, perhaps the one that means the most to the viewer is that we share Betty's torture - she's repeatedly gagged, tied up and forced to watch the killer at work again and again as he tapes needles under her eyes. If she blinks too long or shuts her eyes, they'll be shredded. It's like Fulci's wettest dream ever. In the same way, we are nearly complicit with the crimes we are forced to watch, particularly because they get more and more artfully composed.

Throw in the fact that Betty believes that the hooded killer is the same person who murdered her mother, she follows the giallo path for a protagonist and confides in someone else rather than the police. Her reason? The killer may know who she is.

Inspector Alan Santini (Urbano Barberini, Demons) is on the case, because there are so many clues, like the fact that the producer's pet ravens were found dead after the show. As for Betty, she runs from the police and calls her agent Mira (Daria Nicolodi, Argento's former wife and the writer of Suspiria and star of Shock) for advice.

Betty's costume gets cut to ribbons, so she asks the wardrobe girl for help. While she works on the dress, they find a gold bracelet that they can almost read. But here comes the killer and his needles again, forcing her to watch him kill one more time. The wardrobe girl accidentally swallows the bracelet, so of course, we watch as the murderer slices her throat open to get it back.

Betty runs back to her apartment where Santini is waiting. He promises to send a detective named Soavi to watch over her (yep, The Church director Michele Soavi), but she doesn't trust the man and leaves her apartment. That's when her agent answers the next knock on the door by looking through the peephole. What follows is the most grand kill in the entire film - which is saying something - as we follow the bullet POV-style out of the gun and directly through her eyeball. Again, Fulci is somewhere wringing his hands.

Nicolodi had just ended a long relationship with Argento and did not want to be in this film. However, the shocking and complicated murder of her character changed her mind, even if she had to deal with an explosive device being put on the back of her head to achieve the final shot.

Betty escapes the killer again and runs to the opera house, convinced there is a connection between the murderer and her long dead and totally abusive mother. The next night, as she performs, the producer unleashes what is left of his ravens in the hopes that they'll find the killer. Oh, they do alright - tearing his eyeball out of his head - FULCI ARE YOU THERE, IT'S ME DARIO - and rewarding you, the viewer, with POV shots that threaten you with vertigo. I'm getting dizzy even typing this.

I don't want to give away the killer or even the second ending where the killer isn't really dead. I just want to talk about the sheer Argento-ness of the final scene, where Betty wanders in a field and releases a lizard, giving him his freedom. Argento claims that this ending was inspired by Thomas Harris's Red Dragon. Of interest, the director does NOT like the Michael Mann movie Manhunter. Me? Well, I love that movie. But I'd love to see Argento's take. There's was also a thought to another ending where Betty would fall in love with the killer.

Your enjoyment of this film really comes down to how much you like shocking amounts of bloodshed and Argento's arty side. He based the film on his own failed staging of Macbeth, basing the role of the nervous producer on himself. And the idea of pins under the eyes? It comes from a joke about how Argento hated when people looked away during the death scenes in his films.

Believe it or not, Orion Pictures planned on releasing an R-rated version of this in the US called Terror at the Opera with eleven minutes of mayhem removed, as well as the Swiss Alps epilogue. Argento refused and Orion was losing money at a fast clip, so the movie only saw a limited video release.

Opera is something else - filled with style and brutality. I loved it, but remember my warning as to how much you can handle.
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Scarecrow-8817 May 2008
Warning: Spoilers
A young theater actress reluctantly accepts her first major part in a staged play as Lady Macbeth thanks to the mishap of the production's diva falling in front of a moving car. A success winning her accolades, Betty(Christina Marsillach)finds instead horror as the one responsible for getting her to this point terrorizes her in cruel ways.

First her stage manager boyfriend, Stefano(William McNamara)is viciously stabbed with a knife while she has to watch, rope-tied to a pillar in his uncle's vast mansion, keeping her eyes from closing thanks to needles scotch-taped under her eyes, with pricking a result if she blinks. Allowing her to escape, Betty again finds herself in this unfortunate position, when a specific gold chain is found on her Lady Macbeth wardrobe that had been torn to shreds by the madman after killing a series of crows which escaped from their cage in the equipment room, by the clothing designer who is first knocked to the floor by an iron and subsequently stabbed heinously by a pair of scissors(..to cap off this nasty scene, the chain falls into her throat with the killer having to cut open her throat to find it; while not specifically elaborating this act, Dario uses the ripping sound of the scissors for optimum effect with the camera often retreating back to the victim's dead face). Having nowhere to turn, Inspector Alan Santini(Urbano Barberini, playing him cold and bland at Dario's request)promises to catch the psycho as Betty relies on her few remaining friends for comfort, the theater director Marco(Ian Charleson, of GHANDI & CHARIOTS OF FIRE who would later die of AIDS;A sad footnote, Dario revealed in an interview that Charleson informed him at the end of the shoot that he was HIV positive)attempting the stage after a successful horror movie career despite being rejected by critics, and pal Mira(Daria Nicolodi, Dario's former squeeze), her agent and confident. But, the serial killer is quite driven and a showdown between them will, of course, occur in the theater as Marco has added an interesting change to the production using the crows at his disposal.

I think this is Dario at his most savage & nihilistic. Although he has certainly made later gruesome films(..such as his Masters of Horror entries and SLEEPLESS would suggest), this film really ups the ante in pure violence towards the victims of the psychopath. His method of forcing Betty to watch was admittedly a gag by Dario regarding the type of audience who like to look away from the more horrific parts of horror movies. I found myself rubbing my eyes every time she just has to blink(..brilliantly, Dario shoots the pricking from point-of-view achieving a tormenting effect from our perspective as if we were the ones with the scotch taped needles holding our eyes open). I like how Dario will show the widened eyes of Betty, horrified at what she's being forced into watching, as little blood tears down the needles when she has no choice but blink. The photographic work of Ronnie Taylor is impeccable, such as the crow's point-of-view shot in the theater at the end as it searches for the killer. Or, when the camera "travels" through rooms in the theater following the killer who wishes to see his muse from a box seat. Or, the dream sequence where we are taken into Betty's memory of an event regarding her mother's death by a certain killer, donning the same mask and gloves as the one causing her trauma at present. The highlight, in my opinion, is the peephole bullet-fire sequence, masterly staged by all involved as the camera follows a bullet which shoots through the eye of a victim, exploding from the back of her head, going through a telephone Betty planned to use to call for help. We even get a crow pecking the eyeball from the killer(..to add to this vicious scene, the crow is shown with the eyeball rolling around in it's beak). Only aspect I didn't care for, often pointed out by naysayers of the film, is the "final" ending which I personally felt was a bit unnecessary, but I guess Dario wanted to point out that Betty was indeed not like her mother, a woman with sadomasochistic tendencies which, in a twist, relate to why the killer torments our heroine. The rock music used during the violent scenes didn't bother me, because I felt that those moments of wicked graphic attacks needed a jarring thud which heavy metal can often provide.
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Not Argento's best, but still good
preppy-31 June 2001
Warning: Spoilers
POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD!! A pretty young woman gets to sing the lead in the opera "Macbeth" and, at the same time, has a vicious hooded killer stalking her, tying her up, and placing needles under her eyes so she has to watch while he horribly kills people. The story is vague, the dubbing sucks, there's zero characterization and there's a truly laughable ending (what was Argento thinking?), but who watches Argento's films for plot or intricate characters? You watch for his masterful direction (in full throttle here) and extreme violence (plenty of blood and gore). The gaps in plot (and logic) are HUGE, but the movie moves very quickly and Argento's camera never stops moving. There's also the infamous bullet in the eye-through the head-destroying the phone scene. Also the bits and pieces of opera we hear are good and he plays loud and abrasive music during the murder scenes. My only complaint--the stupid ravens. They do figure in the plot, but they're shown WAY too much and their frequent crowing drove me crazy. So, well worth seeing, especially for Argento fans. See the unrated version.
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"It's not true your frigid, your a b*tch in heat." Argento's best film in my opinion, end of story.
poolandrews18 September 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Opera, or Terror at the Opera as it's also commonly known as, starts with Mara Czekova walking out on director's Marco's (Ian Charleson) revamped new take on Verdi's opera MacBeth & promptly being knocked over by a car & breaking her leg which puts an end to her involvement with the opera. Mara's understudy Betty (Cristina Marsillach) is called into action & thrust straight into the role in preparation for the opening night. Betty's debut goes very well & she is an instant hit with the critics but while performing a stagehand is killed in a supposed accident investigated by Inspector Alan Santini (Urbano Barerini) who also happens to have a bit of a liking for Betty. Later that night after a party Betty goes back to stage director Stefano's (William McNamara) place for sex but ends up with Stefano being murdered by a hooded, black gloved figure who forces Betty to watch by sellotaping needles under her eyelids so she can't close them. Things become worse as Betty is scared to go to the police, her costume is cut to shreds & the killer strikes again this time murdering wardrobe mistress Giulia (Coralina Cataldi Tassoni). With a long list of suspects & a growing list of victims Betty is convinced she will be next...

This Italian production was co-written, produced & directed by Dario Argento, Opera is my personal favourite Giallo he has made & is probably the last great film he has to date. The production apparently suffered from various problems like Daria Nicolodi almost being blinded in one eye (you know the sequence when this happened) & Ian Charleson had a car accident breaking several ribs during filming, maybe MacBeth is an unlucky play... The script by Argento & Franco Ferrini is somewhat slow but never dull or boring, in fact I was both engaged & gripped throughout. Unfortunately there are problems with Opera's script if you want to analyse it too much, the police not working out that a supposed dead body was in fact a theatre mannequin for a period of least several days is somewhat hard to accept, the killer's motives are somewhat vague & it might have helped if more background had been given while the climax is baffling & set in the Swiss Alps which at times makes it resemble something out of The Sound of Music (1965)! But having said that when was Argento ever known for plausibility & realism? The character's are OK although I could have done with a few more suspects & red herrings. One area where Opera stands out is in it's technical excellence, quite simply I think Opera is one of the best looking horror films I've ever seen if not the best. The cinematography by Ronnie Taylor is stunning at times, the beautiful lighting, the smooth long camera movements & overall look of of the film is first class but definitely make sure you get hold of one of the uncut widescreen DVD's as it really is the only way to appreciate it properly. From some fantastic aerial shots that mimic the flight of Ravens to the point-of-view shots & all the close-ups that go to create a visually brilliant film from beginning to end. The soundtrack may be a problem for some mixing both classical opera & heavy metal, not me however as I think it's works wonderfully. Argento directs with real style & flair without forgetting the violence & gore either, there's a brutal scene when a man has a knife pushed into his chin & comes out of his mouth, someone has their eye pecked out by a Raven & one of the best set-piece murders ever when someone is shot through the eye as they look through a peep hole with Argento filming the bullet travelling through the hole & into their eye in cool slow motion. With a healthy supposed budget of $8,000,000 the production design is top notch & the opera house setting looks great, the detailed sets, costumes & special effects are all class. The acting is good although Opera was obviously shot in English & Italian as some of the actors appear dubbed while others not, the main players are solid with Marsillach putting in a good performance & is gorgeous to go with it! I have seen most of Argento's output & I still stand by my opinion that I feel Opera is my favourite film from him. I think Opera is an excellent horror murder mystery that is only spoilt by a disappointing climax. A must watch for horror fans & a film more casual viewers may also get enjoyment from too.
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OPERA (1987)
Bunuel197617 October 2004
Yesterday, I watched a recording of Dario Argento's OPERA (1987) taken from Anchor Bay's R1 DVD, and I must say I agree with many of you here that the film was pretty good (if a bit heavy on flamboyant camera moves) for the first 90 minutes - but then went completely bonkers towards the end. The ending is mystifying, to say the least (the bug-loving scene most of all), and horribly executed to boot! The heavy-metal soundbites were a pain too; actually, I felt that the entire music score was relatively subpar for an Argento film. As usual, the hideous dubbing was another major drawback.

There seems to be some disagreement about Cristina Marsillach's contribution: for me, she's very nearly Argento's best leading lady, quite in the same class as Jessica Harper in SUSPIRIA (1976) and Jennifer Connelly in PHENOMENA (1984).

The hectic backstage activity and the masked killer reminded me a lot of Mario Bava's BLOOD AND BLACK LACE (1964), though comparisons with that landmark film only helps to bring out more OPERA's shortcomings. The elaborately staged murders were rather hit-or-miss as well: the butchering of the stage manager and Daria Nicolodi's legendary death scene, at least, were classic Argento. The big scene with the ravens, ingenious in itself, was too protracted for maximum impact.

All in all, it's not one of Argento's best but then, apart from DEEP RED (1975) and SUSPIRIA, all his films leave a lot to be desired – though I'm sure everyone here has his or her own personal favorite.
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I am nothing like my mother. Nothing like her!
lastliberal1 October 2010
If you love Dario Argento as I do, you forgive him his faults. Don't focus on the small mistakes, just enjoy a true master of horror.

Betty (Cristina Marsillach) takes over the lead in an opera after a car accident knocks out the diva. Then, the fun begins.

She is forced to watch as other members of the cast and crew are horribly murdered one by one. She suspects that she will last.

Then, there were the birds! A real thriller with the outcome in doubt even when you thought it was over.

Marsillach was not great, but she did give a fair performance in another Argento classic.
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My 28th Birthday Film.
morrison-dylan-fan10 February 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Reading Alan Jones excellent book Dario Argento: The Man, the Myths & the Magic,I noticed Jones mention that despite the title being a box office disaster,that co-writer/ (along with Franco Ferrini) directing auteur Dario Argento's Opera is his last true classic,and also a coda for the final wave of the Giallo sub- genre.With having saved the movie (which came out the year I was born!) for a special occasion,I decided that I would use my birthday as the day that I would witness the last rites of the Giallo.

The plot:

After lead actress Mara Czekova is injured in a car accident,budding actress Betty gets her hands on the role that she has been dreaming of,when Betty's agent Mira phones up to reveal that stage director Marco has offered her the lead role in his avant-garde opera staging of Macbeth. Ignoring whispers of the production being "cursed" Betty sets her sights on following in her mums footsteps,and becoming the leading diva of the opera world.

During one of the first performances,a light from the auditorium comes crashing to the ground.Checking the lighting equipment after the show,the crew discover that an usher has been ruthlessly murdered.Shaken by the experience,Betty attempts to relax with her boyfriend,after receiving some rather strange fan mail.Waiting for her boyfriend to return,Betty is grabbed by a masked stranger,who ties her up,and put needles under the eyes,so that Betty can't look away from what is taking place.Brutally killing her boyfriend,the killer reveals that after being mesmerised by her performance in the opera,that he is going to put on a deadly special show,that Betty will be unable to take her eyes off of.

View on the film:

For the last big budget Giallo,Dario Argento makes the genres curtain call one which concludes all the themes which he had started in his debut.After taking a look at the effect that violence has on its creators in 1982's Tenebre,the writers here turn their attention to the audience,with the writers superbly using Betty's forced viewing of the murders to slyly suggest that no matter how horrific the killings are,that the viewer is unable to turn their gaze away from the dazzling onslaught,and also showing the level of obsession that fandom can reach.Whilst the "controversial" ending does come a bit from the left-field,the writers make the coda one which sums up topic that Argento had been progressing on since his debut,where animals have a strong connection to the lead ammeter detective,due to them offering an escape route/answer to what the character is searching for.

Although the title does mark the end of an era for Argento's major themes,the writers smartly make sure that the title never turns into a mere summarisation,thanks to the film offering harsh Horror lyrics with a Film Noir composition.Keeping the movie to Betty's point of view,the writers show her being dragged into a gritty Giallo word,as Betty finds her glamorous stage life being destroyed in her bullet ridden flat.Pushing Betty's nerves right to the edge,the writers create an extremely creepy atmosphere,with Betty being surrounded by a trusted group of people on the stage,whose image begins to blur,as Betty finds the killer getting literally under her skin.

Ignoring all of the myths about "the Scottish play",the 15 week production turned out to be a complete nightmare,(with the disasters being….(deep breath!) 1:original studio Titanus dropping the title due to a major corporate takeover taking place.2:Dario's dad Salvatore dying a month before film.3:co-star Ian Charleson (who would tragically die from AIDS a year later) being involved in a near-fatal crash.4:Vanessa Redgrave signing on to play Mara Czekova,only to turn up to Italy asking for extra cash,which led to Redgrave taking the next flight out of Italy! 5:Dario having furious rows with star Cristina Marsillach,to the point where during a scene involving fire,Marsillach got left with burn marks,and to top it all off 6:Dario treating ex-girlfriend Daria Nicolodi with a vile that would lead to them not working together again for 20 years)yet despite all of the issues,Argento directs the title with an explosive energy.

Opening with a breath taking first person tracking shot,Argento and cinematographer Ronnie Taylor unleash a paranoid atmosphere,thanks to Betty's fall into terror being matched by scattering crane shots and knife-edge tracking shots.Basking the stage in vivid, minimalist black & white,Argento and Taylor decay Betty's glamorous life with a brittle,Film Noir bleakness,as Betty finds herself trapped in a Giallo flat,with no sign of light.

Whilst her shouting matches with Argento have become legendary, Cristina Marsillach gives a tremendous performance as Betty,which contrasts a diva beauty with a tomboyish attitude,as Marsillach shows Betty being desperate to stay on the acting ladder,whilst also setting her eyes on stopping the murderer from bringing the opera down on a killer note.
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One of the most visually striking horror films ever made!
The_Void6 April 2006
Opera may not be Dario Argento's most important or most loved film - but all things considered, I have no doubt that it is his best. Just the like the tradition from which the movie takes it's title, Opera is magnificently over the top, and the director really goes to town in what many consider to be his last great movie (although his last great movie is actually Sleepless). An opera house makes for a great location for a film that takes influence from such Gothic horror stories as the writings of Edgar Allen Poe and, of course, The Phantom of the Opera. It has to be said that this is a significantly different Giallo to most of the rest of Argento's filmography, and it merges the heavy rock fuelled terror of Phenomena with the common Giallo mystery theme. The plot follows the beautiful Betty, a young opera singer who has to stand in for the role of Lady Macbeth after the star of the show is injured in a car crash. However, she soon becomes a victim of a madman - but he doesn't kill her, instead he ties her up, sticks needles under her eyes and forces her to watch him kill her friends!

Italian horror is renowned for not making much sense, and while there are some very suspect character actions in this film; Opera benefits from a coherent script and a straight story that doesn't get confused or muddled. I say that this is Dario Argento's best movie as it sees him in his stylish element. His use of the camera is superb, and our attention is excellently directed across a range of territories - including a great birds-eye view of the opera house. Argento also manages to get excellent performances out of his cast. Cristina Marsillach brilliantly holds the film together in the lead. Her delicate appearance blends well her victimised character, and it's easy to get behind the heroine. She receives back-up from Argento's mistress Daria Nicolodi, as well as British actor Ian Charleson and 'Demons' star Urbano Barberini. Charleston's character is the director of the opera in the film, and it's evident that Argento based the character on himself. I also liked the way that the film features quotes from Gothic master Edgar Allen Poe, as well as obvious nods towards the classic poem 'The Raven'.

Perhaps the most important thing about any Argento movie is the violence - and this one certainly doesn't disappoint in that respect. Not only is the violence gory and messy, it's also more shocking than what has been seen in any Argento movie before or after this film. The violence here is given an extra dimension by way of the fact that our lead actress is being forced to watch the maniac's kills, and the image of Cristina Marsillach with needles taped under her eyes is one of the most striking that horror cinema has given us. Argento takes in the always popular eyeball violence, and excellently blends it with the idea of voyeurism, which, when seen with the pumping heavy metal soundtrack - is bound to get the heart racing. This film also features what is, for my money, the best death scene Argento ever filmed - one that involves a bullet travelling through a peephole in a door! As mentioned, the film is over the top all the way through; and this is never felt more than at the conclusion. The unmasking of the killer is preposterous enough on its own - and the film only gets more so with the picturesque ending, which some will hate but I thought rounded the whole thing off perfectly. Overall, not everyone is going to like this film as much as I did; but anyone that loves Italian horror should not miss 'Opera'!
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"What Is This, An Opera Or An Amusement Park?!"...
azathothpwiggins5 February 2019
Understudy, Betty (Cristina Marsillach) gets her big break, getting to star in a modern stage production of Verdi's Macbeth, after the volatile, original singer gets hit by a car. Betty is nervous, but nails the part. Of course, OPERA is a Dario Argento film, so Betty has more than performance jitters to worry about! Soon, a black-gloved killer begins haunting her and the opera house, causing bodies to pile up. Is the opera suffering from the alleged "Macbeth curse"?

In this wild, gory, inventive riff on PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, Argento takes us along with the psychopath, stalking, creeping, and running through hallways. Down staircases and corridors, we see what the madman sees. Once again, the director captures nightmare on film, turning a giallo into a fascinating viewing experience. It's all about eyes and witnessing in this one! That, and never pissing off any ravens!...
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Just another great giallo.**Spoilers**
HumanoidOfFlesh29 October 2000
Warning: Spoilers
"Opera" is a great film with some wonderful,imaginative imagery.An opera singer(Cristina Marsillach)is being stalked by a killer who forces her to watch him murder everyone she knows by tying her up and taping needles under her eyes.This idea of the needles comes from the fact that Argento doesn't like it when people cover their eyes while watching his movies."For years I've been annoyed by people covering their eyes during the gorier moments in my films.I film these images because I want people to see them and not avoid the positive confrontation of their fears by looking away.So I thought to myself 'How would it be possible to achieve this and force someone to watch most gruesome murder and make sure they can't avert their eyes?'The answer I came up with is the core of what "Opera" is about."-says Argento.Plenty of suspense,wonderful cinematography and brutal,gory murders.One guy is stabbed in the throat with a knife causing a gushing wound,Daria Nicolodi gets shot in the eye while looking through the peephole,etc.For anyone who hasn't caught this one yet,give it a try.Highly recommended.
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Listening to Argento today, he still seems bitter and ready to blame Christina Marsillach
christopher-underwood10 March 2019
This has such a wonderful opening. The majestic and utterly beautiful, Teatro Regio di Parma and thanks to Dario Argento by way of Edgar Allan Poe a flock of ravens. Much of the film is based in and around the opera house and with those almost ever present birds, and a nod to Hitchcock along the way. The set pieces are great, as always, linking them together and maintaining momentum is difficult and here the seeming rather lost and limp leading lady seems not to help. Without giving anything away, it is accepted that in part this has to do with a partly revealed back story but also a rather major tiff between director and actress. Listening to Argento today, he still seems bitter and ready to blame Christina Marsillach. His main reason seems to stem from her opposition to any nudity and it has to be said that this has to be the reason for the so potentially dramatic early love scene falling so flat. The dialogue is still there regarding the possible positive affect upon the voice of sex before a performance but little else. However, even if Argento hasn't got over it, the film itself does and there are unforgettable moments, a string finale and a surreal ending.
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Giallo for ornithologists
tieman646 October 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Dario Argento's "Terror at the Opera" stars Cristina Marsillach as Betty, a young opera singer who is menaced by a mysterious serial killer. The killer forces Betty to witness various murders – literally pinning her eyes open in some sequences – a routine which he enacts out of "love". We later learn that the killer once performed the same routines for Betty's mother, also an opera singer. The film ends with Betty and her director fleeing to the countryside, where she proposes marriage to the killer prior to slaying him before prying eyes. By the film's end, "Terror" has a become a giant metaphor for Argento's own filmography, the director spilling blood out of love for both audience and art.

Unlike Argento's best films, which tend to be minimalistic and which tend to rely primarily on a fusion of images and music, "Terror" is cluttered. It's an overly busy, overly verbose film, and most of its sets are gaudy or ugly. Compare, for example, with the clean lines of Argento's "Deep Red", or the sleekness of Hitchcock and De Palma, Argento's chief influences.

Like most of Argento's later works (in particular, "Tenebre"), "Terror" is heavily self-reflexive. Pinned eyes allude to an audience Argento himself holds captive, giant opera stages recall Argento's own blood operas, and the film is filled with loopy tunnels and corridors, which coil in the shadows like the brain stems of poor little Betty.

Incidentally, the opera Betty performs is an avant-garde rendition of Giuseppe Verdi's Macbeth, historically renowned for bringing bad luck to its casts. The "bad luck" in "Terror" mostly consists of gory murder sequences, primarily designed for gore-hounds and fans of splatter horror.

5/10 – See "Rear Window" and "Body Double", better films which implicate audiences and artisans. Worth one viewing.
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Vicious, silly and stylish
Red-Barracuda26 October 2003
Dario Argento was past his peak when he made Opera. The sense of style is still there. And there are some extremely memorable murder scenes (in particular, Daria Nicolodi's 'through the keyhole' death). However, the sheer silliness of it at times brings things down a step or two, in this respect it is similar to Phenomena. Argento has always stepped a fine line with his past films between being ludicrous or just bizarre. He got away with it on Inferno but doesn't so much with Opera. Another problem is the heavy metal music. It is fairly dreadful and cheapens the atmosphere - the other music in the film is fairly good though, thank goodness.

If you are a fan then it is certainly worth a go. Not of the standard of past greats like Tenebrae but superior to future efforts, such as Trauma.
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A must for fans of eye trauma
bensonmum225 March 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Betty is an understudy for the lead in a production of Verdi's Macbeth. When a car mysteriously hits the lead, Betty is thrust into the spotlight. Opening night is a smashing success and Betty decides to leave the after-party to celebrate in private with her boyfriend. But when the boyfriend leaves the room, Betty is grabbed from behind by an unknown black-gloved, masked figure. The unknown assailant ties Betty to a column, gags her, and places needles under her eyes that will cause incredible damage and pain should Betty close them. The boyfriend returns to the room and is stunned to see Betty in such a predicament. He's even more shocked when the killer grabs him and shoves a knife through his lower jaw with such force, the tip of the knife can clearly be seen in his mouth. And Betty has been forced to watch all of this. So begins Betty's terrifying ordeal with a killer not just intent on hurting her, but also on forcing her to watch as he mutilates her friends.

Opera gets classified as a Giallo, but to me, it differs in quite a few ways from the model. Less emphasis is placed on the mystery elements of the story than in something like Argento's Tenebre or The Bird with the Crystal Plumage. The black-gloved, masked killer may be omnipresent, but the clues and red herrings normally associated with a good Giallo are absent. Instead, Opera is all about the tension of an unknown killer and making the audience uncomfortable. The focus is on the grisly death scenes, Betty's fear, and the killer's obsession with Betty.

Opera features what I think are some of Argento most artistic death scenes. When the killer grabs Betty after her boyfriend leaves the room, you're sure that Betty's had it. But the sadistic killer only wants to force Betty to watch as he brutally stabs her lover in the neck – the knife emerging in his mouth. It's a well shot and designed scene. And those needles in the eyes – brilliant. Or, take the death of the seamstress. At first her death seems like an ordinary, run-of-the-mill murder. But when the seamstress accidentally swallows the killer's locket, what started out as just another death scene turns it up a notch as the killer uses a pair of scissors to cut the girl's throat open to get his chain. Finally, there's the most famous death scene in Opera that I'm amazed with each time I see it – Mira is shot in the eye while peering through a keyhole. That scene displays a lot of what I like about Argento. It's got style to burn. As implausible as it may be, it's creative, memorable, and a blast to watch.

Argento certainly wasn't the first Italian director to concentrate on eye mutilation, but in Opera, he's taken eye trauma to a new level. Needles holding eyes open, a bullet in the eye, and ravens pecking out an eye are all part of Argento's vision (pun intended). And these scenes do have the effect that I believe Argento was going for. The first time I saw the killer putting those needles in Betty's eyes, I couldn't stop blinking. It actually had a physical effect on me. What is it about the eyes that make them such a target for abuse in Italian films?

To be fair (and not sound like such a fanboy), there are problems I have with Opera that keep me from rating it as Argento's best. One of my problems is with the air duct system running through Betty's apartment building. While I don't doubt there are air duct systems in older apartment buildings that connect the apartments, the ducts in Opera are HUGE. I'm no expert, but I sincerely doubt any building like the one in this movie would have had such mammoth air ducts. It doesn't seem practical at all. And don't you think someone would have done something about them long ago to keep criminals and nosey neighbors out of the other apartments? It's convenient for the plot, but it's not very realistic.

But I suppose my major problem with the film comes with the finale. What's up with that ending? It feels totally out of place, tacked on, and like a bad afterthought. I'm not sure what else to say other than it's horrible.
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The Slasher of the Opera
sol-kay31 August 2005
(Some Spoilers) Understudy Betty, Cristina Marsillach, gets the leading role in the opera "Macbeth" after the lead actress Mara Chicova got hit by a car the day the play was to opened. With Betty becoming a smash success on the first nights performance the audience didn't notice that one of the stage hands was savagely slashed to death by a psycho killer in one of the empty side boxes.

The killer follows Betty after the play and finds her alone, at the Opera Hall. Tying Betty up the killer forces her to watch, by placing needles taped under her eyes, him slaughter her boyfriend Stefano, William MaNamara, who showed up later. Teffified with fear Betty runs out of the Opera Hall in the pouring rain to the director of the play Marco, Ian Charleson, apartment to spend the night. With the police being informed about Stefano's murder Inspector Santini ,Urbano Barberjin is put in charge of the case only to have Betty refuse around-the-clock police police protection.

The killer strikes again when he brutally slashes to death Giulia, Coralina Cataldi Tassoni, who handles the plays wardrobe. When she found a clue in one of the dresses that can identify him. Doing the same thing to Betty like he did to her when he butchered Stefano the killer forced her to see the whole bloody mess when he slashes Giulia to death.

Knowing that she's the main person that the killer is after and will eventually murder her Betty locks herself up in her apartment with Inspector Santini getting her a policeman to protect her. The Killer eludes the policeman, who he murders,and slips inside Betty's apartment after he killed her good friend Mira ,Daria Nicolodi, by blowing her brains out with a shot through the peep hole in the apartment door. Betty escapes with the help of her neighbor little Alma, Francesca Cassolo,through a secret passage way in the building.

Marco realizes that here's a witness, or witnesses, to the killer's crimes and who can identify him sets a trap for him the very next evenings performance of "Macbeth". With the killers target Betty on the stage. The film "Opera" is a good Italian slasher/thriller by writer/director Dario Argento but nowhere as good as it could have been if he didn't try to pad it up and make it far more complicated and convoluted that it really was.

The movie after what you thought was the ending just goes on and on with the killer coming back to torment Betty ,not once but twice, in the last fifteen minutes. Which were totally unnecessary and actually wrecked what was good in the movie that you saw up until then.

The last few minutes of "Opera" are so outlandish that you think for a moment your watching the musical "The Sound of Music". With Betty running through the grass with the Italian Alpes in the background. Argento went to great lengths to show us a connection between the killer and Betty's mother, who was a major opera singer, and what that had to do with the killers infatuation with her. All it did was muddle and confuse the story and pull the movie down to the caliber of a "Friday the 13th" clone like slasher film.
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This highly rated film might be considered a classic, but I was bored...
paulclaassen28 September 2021
'Opera' might be considered one of the classic 80s horror films, and Dario Argento one of the great film makers of all time, but I found the film incredibly boring.

I don't know what it is about 'Opera' but I couldn't connect with this murder mystery horror. Maybe because the pacing was a bit slow. Maybe because of the shoddy photography. I mean, honestly, the director of photography should be fired. The photography made for an unpleasant viewing experience. This is a badly shot - and rather boring - movie.

Cristina Marsillach stars as Betty, the film's heroin. After Mara, the star of a stage production of MacBeth, is injured in a freak accident, Betty replaces her. Betty soon believes the play to bring bad luck. At first, the film reminded me to a certain extent of 'The Phantom of the Opera'.

Several times, Betty is captured by a mysterious stalker, who ties her up and kills people she knows in front of her - and then cuts her free. Its a strange premise and the stalker's motives are unclear. The murder scenes are very gory, so beware. The make-up and practical effects are good, and horrific at the same time.

There are a few good scenes, but not enough to salvage the movie for me. There's a twist ending, as well, but by that time I was so bored I couldn't care less. I'm going to forget this in an instant...

Would I watch it again? No.
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