Friday, September 21, 2012

Inferno (1980)

Sandwiched between Suspiria and the much maligned Third Mother as part of the Trilogy of 'The Three Mothers', you could say that Inferno is the missing link. Love and Hate. Alpha/Omega. That's what Inferno is up against. Considering the odds, it's easy to see why Inferno is somewhat dismissed and easily forgotten. It's a shame really because Inferno is actually quite the tasty treat.

Somewhat written off at the time of it's release and considered by few to be Argento's first trip up after the release of Suspiria, Inferno was seemingly banished to that limbo where movies often times go after being released after an iconic piece of work such as Suspiria. Had Inferno been released much later it would have undoubtedly had heaps of quivering praise bestowed upon it. Indeed, Inferno is not an easy movie to get into but therein lies the reward. Putting the puzzle together. Inferno requires more than a mere glance. On many levels Inferno is the superior film when compared to Suspiria. Ironically enough, much is explained or at the very least laid out in front of you in regards to the mythos of The Three Mothers where as in Suspiria everything lies hidden in the shadows. If anything, Inferno certainly beats to a pitiful and crippled pulp the disastrous splash of vomitous diarrhea otherwise known as The Third Mother.

As I mentioned earlier, Inferno was considered to be the first chink in the armor of director Dario Argento. Of course the real decline wouldn't begin until after the release of Trauma, which could rightly be referred to as Aregnto's last stand, not to mention his stellar rendition of Poe's The Black Cat in Two Evil Eyes. Personally, I don't get the complaints aimed at this film, then again I have an enormous soft spot for Phenomena which again is one of his more misunderstood works.

A major theme in Inferno that often goes overlooked is Argento's fascination with architecture. Like Suspiria before it, Inferno is rich with the inner workings and labyrinthine designs of various apartments, music halls and libraries from the inside out and as usual, Argento has an eye for that sort of thing. Weak plots and scattered scripts aside, Argento realizes all too well the importance of atmosphere and the intensity inherent to a well crafted build up. Again, the whining really surprises me as there are plenty of the kill scenes Argento is known for scattered throughout the film and even a few of those strange side villains that have a tendency to mysteriously pop up on the sidelines, another Argento signature.

I can only assume that as the years grind on, Inferno will obtain it's rightful due as audiences continue to discover the wonders of that timeless era of late 70's early 80's Italian horror cinema.

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