Written by: Michael Den Boer on March 7th, 2011
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: March 29th, 2011
Approximate running times: 107 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive
Sound: 7.1 DTS-HD English, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround EX English, Dolby Surround Stereo English, Dolby Digital Mono Italian
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
BluRay Release: Blue Underground
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: $29.98
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. Blue Underground had previously released Inferno on DVD in 2007. That previous releases transfer was sourced from Anchor Bay’s 2000 DVD release. For this release Blue Underground has given Inferno a brand new Hi Def transfer. In September of 2010 Inferno made its Hi Def debut via a BluRay release from Arrow Video in the UK. When compared to this aforementioned release. Not only does Blue Underground’s transfer look distinctively different. It is superior in every way. With biggest differences being stronger black levels and a more natural layer o grain.
This release comes with four audio options, a 7.1 DTS-HD mix in English, a Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround EX mix in English, a Dolby Surround Stereo mix in English and a Dolby Digital Mono mix in Italian. All four audio mixes sound clean, clear, balanced and robust when they need to be. The two new addition to this release is a 7.1 DTS-HD mix in English and a Dolby Digital Mono mix in Italian. The 7.1 DTS-HD mix in English is easily the strongest track. Even though the inclusion of an Italian language track. Is a welcomed addition. The lack of none SDH English subtitles is disappoint. The other two audio tracks sound identical to their previous releases. This release comes with these subtitle options, English SDH, French and Spanish.
Extras for this release include a brief introduction with Dario Argento before the film, a trailer for the film (3 minutes 25 seconds – anamorphic widescreen), three interviews segments, ‘Art & Alchemy’ with actor Leigh McCloskey (15 minutes 5 seconds – anamorphic widescreen), ‘Reflections of Rose’ with actress Irene Miracle (13 minutes 33 seconds – anamorphic widescreen) and a interview with writer / director Dario Argento and assistant director Lamberto Bava (8 minutes 20 seconds – 4:3 full frame, in Italian with English subtitles). Extras that have been carried over from Blue Underground’s previous release include a interview with Dario Argento and Lamberto Bava. Even though this interview clocks in under the ten minutes. There is a lot of insightful information to be gleaned for this segment. New to this release are interviews with Leigh McCloskey and Irene Miracle, who both speak fondly and have plenty to say about Inferno. Their interviews also briefly touch upon other projects that they have worked on. Overall this is another exceptional Hi Def release from Blue Underground.
Note: Blue Underground is also releasing this film on DVD.