Inferno (1980)

DVD Cover (Blue Underground)
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Overall Rating 63%
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Connections: The Three Mothers

An American college student in Rome and his sister in New York investigate a series of killings in both locations where their resident addresses are the domain of two covens of witches. --IMDb
Review by Christopher
Added: February 12, 2005
Rose comes across a book entitled the Three Mothers. After reading it, she thinks that the story could be true due to a lot of the writings having so much in common with the city she's living in. She confronts the man she bought it from, Kazanian. He owns an antique store that sells rare books. He says that it's just a coincidence that the book and city have so much in common. As he sends her on her way, she notices a cellar next door to the apartment complex she's staying at. One of the passages in the books states that the secret lies in the cellar. She journeys below to find a room that is under water. She drops her keys in the room and has no choice but to swim down and get them. After she gets them and begins to swim up, a rotted corpse floats by. She quickly swims to the top and runs back into her apartment.

Mark, Rose's brother, receives a letter from her in Rome. He's in school studying musicology and decides to save it for class. During the class, he starts to see this woman a couple of rows below. She's scantly dressed and is holding a cat. He believes he's imagining her so he starts to read his sister's letter. Not even getting past the first sentence, he looks up and continues to stare back at the woman with the cat. He gets distracted and the woman leaves. Class soon ends and he goes to follow her. Being in such a rush, he leaves his letter from his sister behind. A friend of Mark's, Sara, picks up and reads it. There's a mention of the Three Mothers book in there. Sara makes a detour on her way home to stop at the library to try and find a copy of the book.

Sara does indeed find a copy of the book, but decides to take it out the back door instead of checking it out. She gets herself lost and asks one of the workers how to get out. He notices she's holding the Three Mothers book and attacks her. The man successfully gets the book away from her, but loses her as she escapes. When she reaches her apartment complex, she meets a man named Carlo in the elevator. She asks him to stay with her for awhile because she's frightened. He agrees. While being in her apartment, the electricity dies. Carlo goes to fix it, but is murdered by an unknown assailant with a knife through the neck. Sara finds him soon after and is also murdered, but with a knife to the back. Mark goes to her house later in the night, but finds her dead.

When he arrives home, he receives a phone call from Rose. She tells him to come to New York as she starts to hear someone breaking into her apartment. She quickly drops the phone and runs out the back exit. Rose ends up in an abandon room. As she quietly investigates things, she's attacked by what seems to be a sort of monster. All that's shown is it's hands. Her head is slammed down on a number of nails as a piece of window glass acts as a guillotine. The next day, Mark arrives in New York and finds no trace of Rose. The owners of the apartment have no idea where she went either. While waiting for her in her apartment, he comes across one of her friends, Elise. She tells him the few things about his sister, but is soon dragged away by her personal butler, John.

Elise goes back to Mark after her butler leaves. They discover spots of blood outside of Rose's room that lead into the abandon room. Elise stays behind while Mark looks into it. Some smoke from one of the vents knocks him out and a person dressed in a black cloak starts to drag him off. Elise gets worried and goes to check on him. The cloaked person catches her watching the two. She runs off into the only open room in the apartment, and is then attacked by a large amount of cats. The cloaked person comes in to finish the job with a knife. Mark manages to stumble into the lobby as two female employee's find him and help him out. He wakes up the next morning to find Kazanian complaining to one of the apartment employee's about all the cats that crowd outside of his shop.

On his way out, he's stopped by Mark and he begins to question him about Rose. After giving him little to no information, Kazanian finds a cat in his shop. He slams its head against a table and then throws it in a large bag with a few other cats he's caught in his shop. Later in the evening, he takes the cats out to a sewer ditch, throws them in, then drowns them. The tons of rats that are living in the sewer drains come and start to feast on the old man. While yelling for help, a nearby food stand cook runs to him. Instead of helping the old man, he starts to cut into his neck with a large knife, eventually killing him and letting the rats eat his body. Back at the apartment building, a fire breaks out in the lower part of the building just as Mark discovers a secret passage way through the building. But the time he has to examine is short and running out quick.

There's neat little story twists about who the movie actually revolves around. At first it seems like the film is going to be mainly Rose, but then starts to focus more on Sara when Mark loses his letter. But after she's killed, it's back to Rose. Then she gets killed and the film ends up revolving around Mark basically the whole time. Dario Argento is known for his unique scene lighting in a majority of his older films. This would definitely be one of them. He crosses a red and blue faded light in some scenes like when Rose is in the alley looking at the cellar, or some of the apartment room scenes. The way he does it makes things look so rich, and really creepy at the same time. He's the only one that has ever seemed to make a thing like that work.

Decent story backing the movie, but it was lacking a lot of the suspense Argento normally uses in his films. Most of it takes place around finding something out with a few murders and even less suspense. The murders were lacking as well. Though they were nice visually, they just didn't seem to inventive. A knife through a neck, chopping into a neck, going in a back, cats jumping on a woman. The window guillotine was one of the best murders, but the womans head wasn't shown coming off. The window went into her neck a couple of times and then the scene changed. While on the subject of the cats, there's one part of that where you actually see an arm throw one of the cats onto Elise. Had the arm not been covered in a long sleeve plaid shirt, it may not have been as bad.

The characters were very bland. None that had an odd past or were insanely troubled. They were all just victims to an unknown source. That unknown source does get revealed in the end, which is also quite a let down. Even though this film is lacking in so many departments and has some easily catchable mess-ups, Argento's style still manages to shine through for an enjoyable film. And with help from the Bava's (Mario Bava and Lamberto Bava), it was very attractive visually in all the killings and special effects. Some wouldn't have even been possible had it not been for Mario Bava.

Final Conclusion: 8/10
Ginose #1: Ginose - added 12/31/2005, 08:25 PM
Dario Argentino shocks and amazes me once again. The man is a genious director... an actor... eh... not so much. But one of my favorite all time directors, no doubt. 8/10
Chad #2: Chad - added 02/26/2008, 11:23 PM
This was just painful to sit through. 2/10.
Nirrad #3: Nirrad - added 06/03/2008, 02:08 PM
Agreed with Chad, this movie is pathetic. Caught it on Scream TV last night, probably the R rated one so the gore was lame. 1/10
bluemeanie #4: bluemeanie - added 06/03/2008, 02:58 PM
1/10? 2/10? I question whether or not either of you watched the same film that I did. This, for me, is one of the best examples of Argento's work, especially is transition period. "Inferno" is no "Suspiria" or "Deep Red", but it's definitely better than most of his stuff, especially his later work. I found this to be highly entertaining and another fine addition to Argento's insane resume. 8/10.
Nirrad #5: Nirrad - added 06/03/2008, 03:21 PM
I'm personally gonna give the movie another chance. Cause What I saw was the rated version, and was probably edited for commercials. I don't think my opinion will change too much though, I don't remember saying "This movie is stupid" out loud to myself ever. I just cant get over the rat scene.
bluemeanie #6: bluemeanie - added 06/03/2008, 03:41 PM
Well, this film is pure hokum. There's a lot of over-the-top zeal to it, which sounds like you just didn't enjoy. Argento's films can be that way, and this certainly isn't the only example of his cheesier films. But the art direction is incredible, and his sense of mood...wow.
Nirrad #7: Nirrad - added 08/21/2008, 03:00 AM
So I bought the DVD and watched it again. 5/10 at best. The deaths were pitiful, and the ending was just downright lame. Before the last 30 or so minutes it was actually alright, but again, that scene with the rats is laughably bad. Nowhere near as good as Suspiria, and I'm sure Mother of Tears can be no worse than this. Overall it had its moments, but comes off as......oh I dunno....retarded. I guess its worth at least 1 watch.
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