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Betty is not an entirely normal girl
sortofsatan24 January 2006
I've noticed that a lot of people are taking Opera to task for the way Betty reacts to the murders. I think they are basing these complaints on how they imagine a "normal" person would react. The thing is...Betty is not a "normal" person, due to traumatic events in her childhood. She has problems way way before the movie ever even starts...and by the end of Opera...in my opinion...she has become totally unhinged.

---------------------SPOILERS--------------------------------------- You have to keep in mind that when she was a very small child she witnessed her mother's lover commit at least one brutal murder while her sadomasochist mother was getting off watching it.

She was raised by a woman who achieves sexual release tied up watching girls get hacked, slashed, and strangled to death. That does not make for a healthy home life. I think it's pretty easy to conclude that her mother would have employed all sorts of emotional manipulation and negative reinforcement to ensure that her daughter never snitched on her. It is also likely that at her impressionable age, Betty might have been deeply confused by what she saw. Is this just something that adults do, etc.

Betty obviously looks up to her mother...I mean...she's become an opera singer just like her. If mommy likes it it can't be bad, can it...mommy can't be bad, can she? She couldn't tell the police on her mommy or this mysterious hooded fellow she associates with mommy.

Betty has a lot of deep-seated emotional issues. Her mind has for years been trying to block out the memory of what she saw her mother doing...but it keeps coming to the surface, manifesting itself in the form of horrible nightmares, skull-throbbing migraines, a dependence on relaxation techniques, and sexual frigidity She associates brutal violence/bloody death with sex on a subconscious level. There's an inner struggle between the part of Betty that has confused murder/sex and the part of her which believes these things to be wrong.

After she's seen her boyfriend murdered by the hooded man...she calls the police, yet is unwilling to give her name. The part of her that thinks murder is wrong forces her to make the call, but the part that is ambivalent won't allow her to admit personal involvement. The ambivalent part of her takes control before she can go all the way. So she walks away from the phone in the rain...and when she's picked up by the director she's acting surprisingly calm, not as upset as you would think a "normal" person would be...because the part of her that's been blocking stuff since she was a child is trying its damnedest to block the horror of what she's just witnessed.

The state of affairs in her life all contribute to an impasse within Betty's psyche. Her singing career is starting to bear fruit...she's going to be a great opera singer like her mother was. But is she going to become like her mother in all ways? In the darker ways? Or will she be able to make her own path? Add this to the re-emergence of the hooded man murdering everyone around her.

It's not until the hooded man kills Daria Nicolodi's character that Betty really takes an active role in defeating the killer. Here's someone who loves Betty, who's supported her wholeheartedly in her emerging career, who is in fact a maternal figure in Betty's life now since mommy's dead. Imagine how terrible it would be to lose your real mother and then to see the woman who is the closest thing you have to a mother get shot through the eyeball.

I could go on...but I won't. The main gist of what I'm saying is that the character of Betty is a lot more complex than most of the reviewers on here have been willing to acknowledge.

Opera is one of Argento's best...and not just for the visuals alone (although they are truly magnificent) and not just for the inventive murders (although they are). There is a depth here...and attention needs to be paid.
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Perhaps the last of Argento's truly great films.
AngryChair10 March 2006
Although many have mixed feelings about this latter day giallo thriller from Argento, it still stands as another lavish testament to the cinematic brilliance that is Argento.

A young opera singer has her first break out performance and suddenly finds herself the subject of obsession for a crazed maniac.

In a way, Opera is like a modern-day giallo take on Phantom of the Opera blended with all the glorious style and color that one would expect Dario Argento to deliver. Argento makes terrific use of inventive camera techniques, reoccurring symbols (like those ravens!), Gothic atmosphere, and truly gruesome murder sequences. One scene especially (which involves a peep hole and a gun) will knock viewers right out of their seats! Story-wise the film also manages to be gripping with some strong suspense and given great atmosphere by Claudio Simonetti's gorgeous music score.

The cast does some satisfying performances. Cristina Marsillach is good as our leading lady. The late Ian Charleson does a nice turn as the director, as does Urbano Barberini as an investigator, Daria Nicolodi as Marsillach's agent, and William McNamara as Marsillach's ill-fated lover.

Opera is terrific latter day Argento, and perhaps the last of his great works. It's sure to please his fans and even create some new ones.

**** out of ****
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Originality makes it worth a watch
oldfrisco83 June 2008
This is not Argento's best film by far, but if you are a fan of the director, or just a fan of the horror genre in general, this movie is worth a watch. Argento is always original, and Opera is no exception. His death scenes are top notch. Nothing of his that you watch is the same as anything else out there. On top of this, Opera is visually stunning, with beautiful backdrops drenched in lots of color; this is an Argento staple. Subjective shots are constant, which is also an Argento staple, but in Opera it is a little different. With Argento, subjective shots usually show the world through the eyes of the killer and make the audience relate to him or her. In Opera the audience also sees through the eyes of the victim, who is forced to watch everything unfold around her. The problems with this film are the acting and the script. Starting with the former, Argento's young leading lady gave him problems throughout the shoot. She did not take direction well due to her inexperience; Argento claims this is the first time it ever happened to him. With the script, there are holes throughout the story, and everything gets wrapped up a little too neatly as the killer explains why it all happened. The ending is also dreadful. The company releasing the film in America asked Argento to cut the final scene, but the director refused.
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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 best and worst of Argento
jhb41 November 2004
I understand that to truly appreciate Argento, you must check your sense of logic at the door. Suspiria and Deep Red are wonderfully inventive, creepy, frightening, etc. movies. That being said, Opera only rates a 5 in my book for what it should have been. With a better script, no inappropriate/silly heavy metal music, and a more coherent plot, Opera would be one of the greatest horror films of all time. As it stands, it is merely a good-looking misstep. The production values are superb, the camera-work and cinematography is near genius (the bullet through the door! the shots of the heroine with needles under her eyes! the sickening violence! the crows!). But the aforementioned mistakes dragged Opera down much further than the subject matter and visuals deserve.
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I just want to say, I f**king love this film
willson_x11 September 2014
Usually I float over titles I see on this website and let it be as karma to the film, or whatever, but this one seems to have a bad rep that I intend on redeeming. This film is worth me putting my foot in the door and saying something, I can't physically change your mind, but I can try and push the bad reviewers out of sight (by finding out where they live, kidnapping them with 3 rolls of duct tape per body, some heavy duty garden rope, and dropping them off the shortest peak of Mt Everest.) Some reviews say it's just a film that panders to gore hounds, where others say the story makes not a blip of sense. I recently watched another Italian horror director's (Lucio Fulci)film "House By The Cemetery", and I realised something about the whole genre of Italian Horror, whether it be very grounded Giallo types, or the supernaturally dream like horrors that feel like a hallucination. They're films that go for a "definite feeling", how they get there at the end, however unorthodox or off the wall they are, they achieve dread through little quirks and symbols, artistic motifs, camera shots, music that is genuinely saddening and horrifying. But whatever criticisms you might have about the acting, the strange, unrealistic script, the gore... you get "there". It creeps up your skin. It goes for a densely packed experience, filled with all kinds of dreams, fashion, themes and nightmares. On a documentary about Italian Horror films, it said something very important about the cultural significance of them and it is something that Fulci said: "Violence is an Italian art". There's something about their overbearing, bloody, Roman past, and their highly emotional society, and how even today it is so constricted by religion and class orders, and how this is represented in their horror output as a kind of rebellion. Sure there is worthy Italian comedy, but it's the horror that is done artistically and poignantly, and always in anything gruesome, there is a sense of humour anyway. It seems what they want us to believe is that it comes naturally to them and we should understand that their understanding serves a purpose in the universe.

With "Opera", the setting is that familiar scene of paparazzi, false love, real pain, celebrities, the fans, that cold world where talent, and love for what you do, takes you. Least of all, it's about Guiseppe Verdi's opera- "Macbeth". Actors at odds with their fans, A dark celebration of youth, life imitating art, it could be interpreted many ways, but ultimately I think what's clearest about it is its disdain for celebrity worshiping culture. It's fantastically cynical and has a seething hatred running through it. It's shot like a dream, which is not uncommon for Argento films, but a dream which turns sour for the unsuspecting protagonist who is unsure about the power of her singing talent, but coerced into taking the role of Lady Macbeth. The art direction in this is grey and futuristic looking, everything is the colour of granite, splashed with blue. Every element of the movie is densely layered, the cinematography, the music, the pacing is so tightly packed it's like watching someone get stuck in a black hole where no man has gone before. And that's my last point about this movie and why you should see it... it's a completely original film, an artistic accomplishment in its own right. It's a rebellious statement, it's brutal, it's seductive, it's confidently done, I just hope you read this review before the others and at least give it a chance. Saying it's rebellious has made me realise something: modern horror films are done for the enjoyment of watching them, it's like the makers enjoy it and that carries on, whereas the old films were made by men and women who were fighting in their own small ways, an oppressive society, who enjoyed fear above all else because the horror makes you think, they used their dream like horror as an intellectual and educational tool. This film is still a part of that "Old School". I don't know what to say, maybe my love for this movie is as irrational as the whole Italian horror canon, as the dream-like way in which they shot the films, but as far as going on pure feeling goes, my gut tells me to follow this one, and you should too. Get a creep under your skin, get a view of the world you've not seen, watch this!!
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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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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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The end of an era
grahamcarter-111 May 2017
Warning: Spoilers
"Opera" known as 'Terror at the Opera' in the United States, was amongst Argento's most commercially successful films in his homeland of Italy. Verdi's opera 'Macbeth' is historically known for bringing bad luck to its casts, a fact that is not lost on Argento. Betty takes the lead only after the great 'Mara Czekova' fights with the film's director and breaks her leg (Czekova, who remains unseen throughout the film, was originally to be played by Vanessa Redgrave, who had been in Antonioni's 'Blow-Up' an influence on Argento).

Once Betty takes to the stage as Lady Macbeth, a monster from her mother's past is awakened and the killings begin. The crows in the film only screech in the presence of a familiar evil, however the identity of the film's killer is of little consequence; Argento's focus is on the way the Santini forces Betty's gaze.

'Opera's' memorable gimmick has Santini placing a row of needles below Betty's eyes, forcing her to watch the grueling deaths of her friends, the most absurdly over the top being when Giulia is killed and swallows a bracelet in the struggle, forcing Santini to perform an 'autopsy' on her with a pair of scissors. Reinforcing his obsession of sightlessness, Betty's vision is temporarily blurred after she applies some eye drops. Opera's infamous keyhole set piece reinforces Argento's fascination with seeing as a terror mechanism.

The finale whilst becoming too silly by half, does link it to its predecessor, with Betty's adventures in the countryside and her encounter with a lizard recalling Jennifer's psychic relationship to insects in 'Phenomena'. Made in 1987, 'Opera' is the end of Argento's influential period. He has made 12 films since of which 'The Stendahl Syndrome' in 1996 is worth a look.
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Flawed but still good
acidburn-102 April 2009
An opera diva has an accident, which leaves the door open for her understudy to take over the role. Betty (Marsillach) is now the star of Mac Beth, but someone hiding in the trenches has an opera of his own planned out. He gets his kicks out of tying Betty up, putting needles under her eyes (so she cant close them) and murdering members of the opera company before her very eyes.

"Opera" is certainly one of Argento's more ambitious films, like mixing it up with Shakesphere's Macbeth there is of course the fact that the opera performed in the film is Giuseppe Verdi's version of Macbeth but also Argento, just like Shakespeare uses ravens as an omen of death and misfortune. And like the ravens circling the castle Dunsinane, foreboding the demise of the scheming Macbeth, the ravens in OPERA play a key part in the downfall of the killer. Furthermore just like in the old play the murderer acts on the exhortation of his lover. But I don't want to go as far as saying OPERA is intended to be a remake of the either The Phantom of the Opera or Macbeth, the similarities are far too subtle. It's just a typical Argento masterstroke, and with it he gives this otherwise quite basic thriller a vivid hue of Gothic mystique.

Although this movie does have it downsides like the heavl metal soundtrack just doesn't fit in with this movie and the final scenes in this movie are a bit strange.

All in all "Opera" is something of a flawed masterpiece but still good.
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Yawn at the Opera
p-stepien8 January 2011
Betty (portrayed pathetically by Cristina Marsillach) is an up-and-coming opera singer, who gets her big break after the star diva breaks her leg. Promoted from understudy she becomes the breakaway star of Guiseppe Verdi's "MacBeth", an opera with a long history of bad luck. During the opening night a murder is committed. Even later that evening a masked man gags Betty and forces her to watch him gut the stage manager after which he lets her go unharmed. Who is the murderer and what wicked game is he playing? Dario Argento during the years mastered his trademarks, which include long travelling shots, exquisite classic-inspired sumptuous settings as well as the use of colour (with a specific obsession with red ochre) to instill an unrelenting all-engulfing atmosphere. This time however Dario exaggerated and overused the long shots making his typical slow pace virtually stop to a halt. Almost nothing happens during over 100 minutes, albeit when it finally does occur it is engrossing and damn near to perfection.

Sadly this movie has probably one of the worse scores in any Argento movie, save for the absolutely classical and unmistakable captivating beauty of Verdi's "MacBeth". The remaining music however consists mostly of loud and severely outdated heavy metal, that cruelly rape the ears and kill visual enjoyment.

Additionally this is probably Argento's 'easiest' movie in the sense, that the script is severely underdeveloped and lacks the prerequisite mystery. Shortly after the first murder it becomes quite apparent that there is only one possibly killer. I naturally expected some twist to turn the events upside down (however illogical the twist), but none happened and the only possible culprit does not fail to not surprise. At the same time he must be one of the stupidest Argento murderers ever with plotting and ideas so thinly planned out, that were it not for the even more imbecilic victims he would have been caught within 30 minutes. But when victims fail to finish him off after knocking him unconscious with an iron or policemen require several days to differentiate a corpse from a mannequin this villain gets more screen time than he deserves.

The only mystery worth finding out concerns the reason to the murderer's killing spree, which is suitably wicked and Argento-style twist. Also the ending itself is devious, albeit a lot of substance lost due to the terrible Marsillach, who lacks enough vibrant emotion to convey the terrible truth. All in all not a bad movie, but I fail to find anything worth note in this ultimately repetitive and flawed Argento thriller.
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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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Put Me Off Opera For Life, Definitely No Profondo Rosso
zingbot20 August 2006
Warning: Spoilers
How can an innovative director go from brilliance to overblown tripe? Ask Dario Argento and various other horror filmmakers.

I absolutely love Argento's early films; Bird with the Crystal Plumage, Cat o' Nine Tails, Profondo Rosso, Tenebrae and Suspiria rank among some of my favourite ever. There is a freshness, some really interesting ideas, great plot lines and twists that make fantastic movies. Unfortunately after these great efforts things took a dramatic downward turn, I have really tried to appreciate his later movies, but they just leave me cold. Getting on to "Terror at the Opera", the story unveils that an understudy actress in Macbeth gets her chance when the main singer mysteriously is hurt in a hit and run accident. A deranged fan then kills people in front of the understudy and without giving too much away things come to a fairly lame conclusion with a tepid plot twist in Switzerland for some reason. I have many problems with this film. The rock music soundtrack is massively annoying throughout. I can understand the complete opposite of this and the opera pieces, but I would rather have classical music, and I am no opera fan. Demons had the same effect on me, the soundtrack is awful. The plot is terrible, from "Betty" the understudy not reporting some of the murders to the police, the super intelligent ravens picking the killer in a theatre, some of the most idiotic murder victims ever and the really lame "twist" at the end. Betty then proceeds to release a lizard which is trapped and admits she is "different" for some reason! The dialogue at times tries to explain events and thoughts to the viewer as if we are complete idiots, although after sitting through the entire film that could be correct. Another major gripe is the identity of the murderer. There are so few possible characters who could be the killer that it is obvious, eventually I found myself wishing they would all just die... The final nail in the coffin for me was the dubbing in the version that I saw. It was obviously shot mainly in English, but the accents in the film were in the most plummy 1930's RADA English possible. I must admit the most enjoyment I had in the whole 100 minutes or so was laughing at the accents which make the Queen seem common. I hate to rubbish an Argento film, but he really has lost it, I hated Inferno, Demons, Trauma, and the Stendhal Syndrome is almost unwatchable. This about tops the lot. Very poor indeed.
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What a clunker!
Maciste_Brother13 May 2003
OPERA is the beginning of the end of the once great Dario Argento. His earlier films, like BIRD WITH THE CRYSTAL PLUMAGE, DEEP RED, SUSPIRIA or TENEBRE, were filled with amazing cinematic moments stringed together with stories that looked or felt right. In OPERA, the whole film is a near total mess. OPERA *really* feels and looks like the first rough cut of a movie. The succession of scenes simply don't gel together. It's just a succession of half-hazardly directed scenes, most of them filmed with a steadycam, strung together with no semblance of a story or logic.

Specific moments, like the scene where the seamstress is attacked, are hilarious and remarkably clunky. Argento of the 1970s would have made that scene so spectacular but as is now, with the gold chain falling in the mouth of the seamstress and the killer trying to get it because the chain entered her throat, even though the woman was simply incapable of doing this, made my eyes roll. In fact, there was so much eye rolling when I watched this movie that's it's pointless to write a fantastically elaborate critique when Dario didn't even bother coming up with anything but a sloppy movie.

When the crows start flying in the theater, the movie suddenly becomes The Birds (it's obvious by now that Dario really loves Hitchcock' s The Birds, which is one of my favorite movies ever), with POW shots of the crows flying over the audience and then the crows start attacking the police officer who, in turn, starts shooting the crows, accidently killing people all around. This is where & when I lost it.

Many of the actors in OPERA are actually good. The lead actress is pretty good. But the problem is that the script is so beyond anything resembling reality that it must have been difficult for her to muster any motivation for her character. Her only weakness was during the singing scenes on stage. Her incapability to lipsynch made the unconvincing proceedings even less convincing. What happened to Dario anyway?
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lghmgrfran4 February 2002
Warning: Spoilers
...But isnt that what ALL of Argentos' movies are about?....It just never ends....these dumb Italian gore flicks....Oh my....look at those ravens find the killer and peck his eyeball out...now watch the one bird eat it! Silly, stupid, dumb....Oh my, the killer locked himself in a room with NO WINDOWS and only ONE DOOR, sets a fire, has the girl think he burned in it...but wait..he PULLED A MANNEQUINN OUT OF NOWHERE, to buy himself from time in his escape...BUT...how did he escape that room? Remember that the girl got the key from his burning pocket? But wait, that was a FAKE key he went thru ALL THAT TROUBLE to put into the "dummys" pocket...then everyone will go to the alps and catch the killer, she will say, "I'm NOT my mother" free a lizard from a branch..just to show us how PURE and a LOVER of ALL life she is...and then lay down among the flowers and grass just being happy...OH MY GOD....somebody PLEASE STOP GIVING MONEY TO THESE HACK Italian "FILMAKERS"!!!
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Elegant addition to the genre. Visually stunning gore tale.
insomniac_rod11 June 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Even if it's not labeled as a Slasher flick, it has all the elements. The fact that slashers are well known for it's low budget, lame plot, cheesy effects, and everything you may add, it doesn't means that there can't be good slasher movies. "Opera" fills the description. Even though it's part of Italian giallo; which is far from being a slasher sub-genre.

Dario Argento proves that he deserves the label of one of the best directors in Horror. "Opera" is one of the most stylish Horror movies from the past 30 years. Though the movie takes place in a beautiful, shinning place; the situations and gore turns it to be one of the scariest places ever used in a Horror movie.

I think of "Opera" as a stylish Slasher although there's in depth plot and character development. The cheese factor often used in most Slasher flicks is not present here but in exchange we got a suspenseful, visually stunning gore tale. The movie's plot is simple (as in every Slasher). There's a psycho in the opera that is somewhat obsessed with the lead actress/singer and forces her to watch gruesome deaths. The death scenes are extremely gruesome and are the best thing about the movie. The infamous "peep-hole" death scene is the highlight of the movie in my opinion. It's a terrific death scene that none other than Argento could release. The knife through the neck (and mouth) is another gruesome scene but less violent than the scissors death. The gore in "Opera" will please the wicked and lovers of violence.

What I didn't like about the movie is the lack of coherence or logic. I mean, after watching the first death, the lead female, calmed as if nothing happened gets a ride home and doesn't makes much of a big deal about what she saw. Also, she's left alone in home and doesn't take security measures. Still, the suspense in the movie makes you forget the lack of logic. Argento knows how to create tension and how to scare the subconscious. For example, when Betty's friend tells her that someone was watching her from outside she freaks out and sets suspense in case that something happens.

The direction of the movie is great. For an Italian giallo it's excellent. Argento's creative POV shots are impressive. The ravens also added a creepy feeling to the movie. Argento add his unique spice.

"Opera" is one of the most underrated but popular through the Horror community for these reasons, in my opinion: -the peep-hole death scene (brilliant) -the ravens attack in the end -the opera setting -the knife through the neck and mouth -the heavy metal score combined with Opera music (this music never freaked me out before) -the killer's ferocity

The only thing I don't like about "Opera" is the heavy metal songs used in death scenes. It's OK to disturb the audience but I think that the Opera music could've added a creepier feeling. Still, the "shocking" use of heavy metal is a singular disturbing aspect in the movie.

Watch "Opera" even if you don't like gore. There's a lot of suspense and tension that could scare the most skeptical person. This is no "Suspiria" but it deserves to be among Argento's finest.
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An agonizing experience, to say the least
Ricardo Simões26 September 2016
I don't ever write reviews but this movie was so atrociously bad, I actually have to go out of my way to write one just so I can help some poor soul who happens upon it.

Everything, from the cheesy and irritatingly predictable plot to the horrendous sound direction that makes everyone sound like they were dubbed over by themselves (if they actually weren't, that is), to the wooden or exaggerated acting (there really is no in-between) only further solidifies this as one of the worse movies I've ever begrudgingly sat through hoping it would lead somewhere at some point for some reason.

I award this 1 out of 10 stars, because sadly I can't go any lower than that. Stay away from this movie.
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OPERA (1987)
MARIO GAUCI17 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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Plan 9 from Opera Space
papoulka24 October 2005
IMDb should allow negative ratings, so I could give this a '-10'. I'll have to settle for '1' which just means "awful".

This film is possibly the worst I have ever seen. The direction is tedious beyond words, the plot is unbelievably stupid, and the acting is no better. What puts it below "awful" is its gratuitous pandering to anyone who likes to see eyeballs gouged out etc. This is not only an awful film, it is a disgusting piece of work as well. It actually achieves the astonishing feat of being worse than Brian De Palma's self-indulgent grade F "thrillers".

Puhleeez don't tell me that Argento's photography is "striking" or that he's working on some other level or whatever. This is sleaze on a stage, that's all. The ONLY redeeming feature is the first 15 seconds when the birds are photographed with Verdi in the background. Probably aware that this fragment was the sole bit of actual creativity in the whole bucket of slops, Argento repeats it about 50 times. The point of it (in fact there is none) and the effect are lost immediately.

Don't waste your time on this or, I would guess, any of Argento's other works.

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Marsillac the best thing in this Argento; and the crows.
felixoteiza7 January 2011
Warning: Spoilers
I watched four Argento movies during the holidays--only because they were available at the Public Library—and it would seem that I got the best ones first. Those are Red Deep and Opera. Not that they are great movies, or even good ones, but compared to the other two—Suspiria and Inferno—they are pretty watchable. They have a plot too-or something that looks like that--and I know that because in them Argento follows the lives and tribulations of their two respective central characters. I don't know about other works of him, but if I judge for what I have seen, just one character in one film (with a real plot) will be enough to leave him with his hands full. Now if he has to worry about two, well, there she is--or was--Nicolodi, to get him out of trouble.

I'll say Opera is the best of the whole package, even if I was ready to throw the towel and forget all about it during the second needles--on--the--eyes murder, that of the wardrobe clerk (same old, same old.) The only reason why I didn't do it is because of Cristina Marsillach. She is cute. Not only cute; she's very likable and when doing her Callas number she is almost adorable. So I kept on it and I swallowed the whole two hours of Opera only to keep watching her. Her acting is atrocious, yes, and when in the taxi with Marco after her boyfriend's killing, she looks only just P.O., like someone's thinking: "Oh, what a drag". Like any ordinary girl would be after missing her appointment with the hairstylist instead of one having being brutally forced to witness a horrendous murder. Anyway, I found Opera the most interesting Argento to analyze, if only because here you can see what could have made of him a good, even great director, and at the same time what are the flaws that kept him wallowing in the mediocrity of empty, plot-less, gore feasts.

One thing I noticed about him is that he never loses the opportunity to ruin the good subplots, stories, situations, he stumbles upon. For instance, there are in Opera at least two great moments—probably the only ones I'll remember of him ten years from now—which, if correctly followed, could have made for classics of world cinema. The first is--oh, yeah--that beautiful ''bullet through the door, right into the eye''. That was great. That's exactly how I like my murders served: fast, efficient, with no superfluous theatrics or gore. Even better is Betty's reaction to the horror: for the first time she is active, energetic, and even angry--''SOB, you're not going to get me, I'll kill you'!'. That would have made for a superb ensuing sequence of suspense, struggle and pursuit. Instead, he allows the pace to drag, the tension to subside and the whole situation cools off. Then, the appearance of the girl in the vent duct springs up yet another chance to revive things; but once again he ruins it, when the kid's mother expels her from her apartment. The other "classic moment" I'm referring to is that of the crows diving on the public in the theater, looking for the killer of their peers. That was also great, but Argento completely ruins the follow up to this superb bit with the completely unlikely, ridiculous, episode of the vengeful one-eyed killed. Sure, anyone who have just had one eyeball ripped off from its socket by a swarm of enraged crows would feel that self-assured and physically, and psychologically, fit as Santini was by then.

The second thing I'd mention is the incredible stupidity of his characters, which make their murders not exactly acts of ruthless violence, but rather the natural result of the mysterious way in which the Darwin Law works. That's why we don't feel sorrow for them when they are cut down because it's their own stupidity which brings about heir demises. In Suspiria, it's not really that they ran afoul of the witches what condemned Daniel and Pat but that they couldn't keep their mouths shut. In Opera the seamstress commits the ultimate nonsense of engaging in some puerile game—or so she thinks-- with a ruthless killer, as if it wasn't a question of life and death for her. Instead of doing what every sensible person would have done in her case, with the man on the floor—something even the Three Stooges know--to get hold of something to tie the guy up, she goes and yanks off his mask. What a dope! Third thing is, Argento's bad habit of getting rid of likable actors, characters, as son as he has presented them to us, offing them or forgetting about them. He did it in Inferno with Rose, Sara, Carol and the surreal Pieroni; in Suspiria he did it with Pat and Sara; and in Opera with Mira, the kid and her mother. That greatly works against the movie.

Finally I may add the tacky, phony looking murders. And see that I have said nothing about plots, acting or pacing.

In general, I consider Opera much better done than the other films I mentioned. Also, a film where all the usual Argento cinematographic antics—colors, settings, score--find their right place and are not put there just for the sake of it. The crows are a great addition, they are great at helping giving atmosphere to the movie, and I don't think for a moment they were over exposed or that the film looks at times like an episode of National Geographic, as some say. And maybe the most important thing, this is the only Argento where I felt true empathy for the main protagonist, I really felt for Betty, which made me forget all about her bad acting. Marsillec shows, at least to me, how much mileage a director can get from a likable lead, how many things he can get away with.
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More satisfying than both 'Suspiria' and 'Profondo Rosso' for me
Atavisten14 April 2005
I saw both a few months ago and to be honest I was quite put off Argento by them. For imagination and grisly deaths yeah it was good, for inventive camera-work likewise, but for pacing, creating suspense and a frightful mood I think those two failed. In 'Opera' on the other hand this is heightened to a very decent level.

There are of course plot holes, incoherences, flaws and illogical behaviour which many complain about, but if you didn't expect that to happen in a giallo I don't know what movies of the genre (or director) you have seen before. In fact I found it quite tolerable here. What was quite dreadful however, was the dubbing and the acting. Maybe the acting was so bad because of the dubbing? The heroine I like a lot (not for her acting) and the director made the best performance.

The main reason I liked this probably is style. Style is so thick it carries the whole movie for me. Stitched together opera, theater, movie and quite various music (high quality from Verdi and Puccini to Brian Eno + some horrible poodle metal which like in 'Demoni' was strangely acceptable) makes for a real feast for eyes and ears. Cinematography fitted the story much better than it did for 'Suspiria' and 'Profondo Rosso' IMO. For example the POV of the diva and the crows was mighty fine. Using an opera as backdrop is not a bad idea actually, as the directing style, the camera work, lighting and sets are quite grandiose and dramatic by itself.

Killing scenes are so sadistic and brutal that I would prefer them to be little shorter, but if squirming is your thing then this is for you. The imagery is quite unforgettable either way.
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Hugely enjoyable gorefest! One of Argento's silliest and yet most brutal movies.
Infofreak28 December 2002
The wildly uneven Dario Argento follows up his stupidest and least enjoyable movie ('Phenomena' a.k.a. 'Creepers') with another silly effort but this time, paradoxically, one of his most entertaining ever. 'Phenomena' had too many ideas crammed in to one movie and failed to hold my interest, perhaps learning from that mistake, 'Opera' has one idea and relentlessly, brutally exploits it over and over. The idea being a psycho punishes an aspiring opera singer (played by the gorgeous Cristina Marsillach) by tying her up, placing needles under her eyes so she cannot look away, and forcing her to watch him dispatch her colleagues in increasingly gruesome and inventive ways. After each murder he lets her go, only to do it all over again later. Genius! Argento's critics complain his plots are ridiculous, his characters paper thin, and he is more concerned over flamboyant and stylish depictions of violence. 'Opera' is guilty of all those accusations and then some, but is just so nutty and plain nasty that you can't but help love it! A psychoanalyst would probably have a field day with this movie, but I took it for what it was - stupid and vicious fun. 'Opera' isn't Argento's best or most accomplished film, but it is one of his most enjoyable and entertaining. Highly recommended!
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