OPERA
aka TERROR AT THE OPERA
1987, 100 min, Italy, Dir: Dario Argento

One of director Dario Argento’s greatest masterpieces, OPERA is a tour-de-force of deliriously cinematic setpieces surrounding the murderous production of an operatic version of "Macbeth." (The script was inspired by Argento’s attempt to mount "Rigoletto"!) Argento’s camera moves like a thing possessed: swooping, gliding, tracking a bullet through a peephole and, in one mind-bending shot, whirling around the opera house on raven’s wings. When a prominent opera star suffers a non-fatal car accident, her understudy Betty (Cristina Marsillach) must take on the role of Lady Macbeth. Coincidentally, a deranged madman goes on a homicidal rampage. Co-starring Ian Charleson and Daria Nicolodi (DEEP RED). “A violent aria of memory, bad luck, the artistic drive and the horror of the stare. … If you've pinpointed the identity of the film's killer, it's of little consequence - the genius of the film lies not in such details but in Argento's operatic attention to death and the way in which the film's killer forces Betty's gaze.” – Ed Gonzalez, SlantMagazine.com.


SUSPIRIA
1977, 20th Century Fox, 100 min, Italy, Dir: Dario Argento

Jessica Harper, Joan Bennett and Udo Kier star in this landmark giallo inspired by an essay by 19th-century opium eater Thomas De Quincey. Argento’s magnum opus (the first of his “Three Mothers” trilogy) mixes witchcraft, nubile young flesh and expressionist set design into a truly hellish brew. SUSPIRIA is as visually ravishing as it is violent; its director explained the film’s distinctive look as “trying to reproduce the color of Walt Disney’s SNOW WHITE.” Goblin’s eerie prog rock soundtrack envelopes listeners in a web of Moog, Mellotron and guitar, and has been sampled in everything from Hong Kong action films to hip-hop songs.


DEEP RED
PROFONDO ROSSO
1975, 106 min, Italy, Dir: Dario Argento

From the opening with a child slashing someone and a bloody knife dropping to the floor, we're plunged into an ever-deepening pool of repressed terrors. David Hemmings is a pianist sucked into an undertow of escalating homicide after he witnesses the murder of psychic Macha Meril. One of Argento's most justly famous gialli, where something as simple as a lizard writhing on the floor could represent a child's wounded psyche, bound someday to erupt in spectacular fits of murder. The dark and distinctive, keyboard-rich soundtrack - the first by prog rockers Goblin - was a major hit in Italy. With Daria Nicolodi.


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