Saturday, 30 August 2014

Inferno (1980)

This sequel to Argento's fever dream of Suspiria is a terrific gothic horror in the tradition of Corman's Pit and the Pendulum and Masque of the Red Death.

Dario throws us into a giallo tinged, demonic thriller filled with a Boris Karloff like antique dealer, vicious rats, bubbling cauldrons, cowled figures half hidden in shadows, organ music, candelabras, dark basements, dusty libraries and cats; lots and lots of nasty cats. Every gothic trope is present and correct but updated with the long knives and black gloves of giallo.

With cinematography tighter and more claustrophobic than Suspiria and Profondo rosso, deep shadows, red and blue lighting and some fantastic sound design, Argento builds tension beautifully until the fire-lit finale.

I've knocked half a star off for Keith Emerson's sometimes, inappropriate score - the taxi ride particularly stands out.

As a parting note: did anyone else notice the parallel between Argento's scene in the music conservatory and Polanski's witchcraft lecture in The Ninth Gate?

Original letterboxd review

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