Written by: Michael Den Boer on August 23rd, 2010
Theatrical Release Date: Italy, 1980
Director: Dario Argento
Writer: Dario Argento
Cast: Leigh McCloskey, Irene Miracle, Eleonora Giorgi, Daria Nicolodi, Sacha Pitoëff, Alida Valli, Veronica Lazar, Gabriele Lavia, Feodor Chaliapin Jr., Leopoldo Mastelloni, Ania Pieroni, James Fleetwood, Rosario Rigutini, Ryan Hilliard, Paolo Paoloni, Fulvio Mingozzi, Luigi Lodoli, Rodolfo Lodi
BluRay released: September 13th, 2010
Approximate running time: 107 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive
Rating: 18 (UK)
Sound: DTS-HD Master 5.1 English, Dolby Digital Stereo English, Dolby Digital Mono Italian
BluRay Release: Arrow Video
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: £22.99
Synopsis: A young man goes to New York, after his sister who is interested in alchemy disappears.
No film has divided Argento fans more than Inferno, the sequel to Suspiria. The film that many consider his crowning achievement as a director. Structure wise Inferno bears many similarities to its predecessor. Most notably its finale. Unlike its predecessor Inferno has several protagonists, who all come and go throughout. While many are quick to dismiss Inferno because of its abstract plot. That on the surface appears to be nothing more than a series of extravagant murder set pieces. Upon closer inspection Inferno is an intricately plotted allegory about death, that is perfectly complemented with its nightmarish and atmospheric visuals.
When discussing Inferno one must not overlook cinematographer Romano Albani (Phenomena) contributions. He gives Inferno a distinctive visual look that is equally as striking as Suspiria. Other key collaborators include Mario Bava (Danger: Diabolik), who created several of the film’s more intricate special effects and composer Keith Emerson (Murderock), who jazz infused score blends flawlessly with the film’s Gothic imagery.
The most surprising aspect of this film are the performances from the entire cast. Who are all very good in their respective roles. Even though all the characters which populate this film just exist and lack any depth. The most memorable performances comes from Daria Nicolodi (Deep Red), who’s character is attacked and killed by some vicious felines. In a film with many standout moments visually. The scene that stood out most for me was an underwater sequence that foreshadows what is yet to come. Ultimately Inferno is easily Dario Argento’s most underrated film and those who are willing to embrace this film’s eccentricities are sure to get the most out of this film.
Inferno comes on a 50 GB dual layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive anamorphic widescreen. My only other exposure to Inferno is via Anchor Bay’s / Blue Underground’s DVD release of this film. Comparing this transfer to those release which were both sourced from transfers that are nearly ten years old would be futile. This new transfer from Arrow Video will be a revelation to even the most hard core fan of Inferno. Colors are vibrant, flesh tones look accurate, black levels look very good and details look razor sharp throughout.
This release comes with three audio options, a DTS-HD Master 5.1 in English, a Dolby Digital Stereo in English and a Dolby Digital mono mix in Italian. All three audio mixes sound clear and balanced throughout. Also they all take full advantage of the special effects and more ambient aspects of the soundtracks. The strongest sounding mix is the DTS-HD Master 5.1 mix in English, followed by the Dolby Digital Mono mix in Italian (which sounds more robust than the Dolby Digital Stereo mix in English). Removable English subtitles that are easy to follow and error free have been included with this release.
Extras on disc one include a introduction to the film with Daria Nicolodi, a interview with Dario Argento titled "Dario’s Inferno" (16 minutes 18 seconds – anamorphic widescreen, in Italian with English subtitles), a interview with Daria Nicolodi titled "Acting in Hot Water" (19 minutes 7 seconds – anamorphic widescreen, in Italian with English subtitles), a interview with Luigi Cozzi titled "The Other Mother: Making the Black Cat" (16 minutes 18 seconds – anamorphic widescreen, in Italian with English subtitles), (15 minutes 58 seconds – anamorphic widescreen, in Italian with English subtitles) and a Q & A with actress Irene Miracle, Composer Keith Emerson and author Tim Lucas (30 minutes 30 seconds – anamorphic widescreen, in Italian with English subtitles). Topics covered in the interview with Dario Argento included the three films which make up the Mother of Tears trilogy (Suspiria, Inferno, The Mother of Tears), the difficulties this production faced like not being released theatrically in the U.S. when Fox the film’s distributor felt the film was to violent for U.S. audiences and various production related topics like script, the look of the film and casting choices. Topics covered in the interview with Daria Nicolodi include the Mother of Tears trilogy, her involvement in each of the films, working with Mario Bava and various other films that she worked with Dario Argento. Topics covered in the Luigi Cozzi included how he was approached by Daria Nicolodi to make the final installment in the Mother of Tears trilogy, how the project evolved and her eventual departure from the project and how the film has remained unreleased due to the company who produced it going bankrupt. Topics discussed on the Q & A include Mario Bava’s involvement and the score. The most interesting comments come from Irene Miracle talks about how she had a much larger role and that some scenes that she remembered being filmed that were cut from the final film and she also talks about how all of her scenes were filmed while Dario Argento was in the hospital for two weeks due to an illness. All of these extras are presented in a 1080P HD.
Extras on the seconds disc (a DVD) include the International (3 minutes 26 seconds – anamorphic widescreen) and Spanish (3 minutes 24 seconds – anamorphic widescreen) trailers for Inferno and a segment with Dario Argento discussion Mario Bava (8 minutes 55 seconds – 4:3 full frame, in Italian with English subtitles). Also included on this seconds disc is the documentary "Dario Argento: An Eye for Horror" (56 minutes 51 seconds – anamorphic widescreen) and “The Complete Dario Argento Trailer Reel” which includes the following trailers, The Bird with the Crystal Plumage, Cat O’ Nine Tails, Four Flies on Grey Velvet, The Five Days of Milan, Profondo Rosso, Suspiria, Inferno, Tenebre, Phenomena, Opera, Two Evil Eyes, Trauma, The Stendhal Syndrome, The Phantom of the Opera, Non Ho Sonno (Sleepless), The Card Player, Mother of Tears: The Third Mother and Dawn of the Dead. This release is also comes with a double sided poster, four sleeve art options, six original poster art postcards and a collectible booklet with liner notes. Overall Inferno gets a first Rate BluRay release from Arrow Video.