Dario Argento’s Opera

***We interrupt our run of Halloween films to give you Dario Argento’s Opera. Dig it.

Dario Argento. I don’t understand this man. I don’t understand how he can make so many amazing films and then make something that is absolute garbage. I love Suspiria, Phenomena & Tenebre – but schlock like The Card Player? Seriously? I thought all hope was lost and I seen everything I could see-that was watchable until I took a gamble on his 1987 masterpiece-yes, masterpiece…Dario Argento’s Opera.

Written & directed by Argento, Opera was his next film after the slightly hit or miss Demons 2. The film starts as we meet the gorgeous Betty (Cristina Marsillach), who is replacing the star of the opera production of Macbeth (the leading lady who Betty is replacing was killed off while the credits were rolling). Betty is nervous, since she is one of the youngest women to ever play the lead in the opera but everyone is counting on her considering she was the understudy for the lead. After a stunning performance on opening night, Betty head back to her dressing room to find out there was an “accident” and a stage manager died during the performance. Enter Stefano (William McNamara) , who is another stage manager of sorts who when isn’t flirting with Betty he is touting a terrible dubbed British accent and bossing people around. Sadly for Mr. Dream A Little Dream McNamara he is the first of many people who get close to Betty only to be killelled by our black-gloved killer. While the black-gloved killer is in almost all Argento slasher-type films, what makes Opera’s kills a little unique is that the killer forces Betty to watch all the murders take place-as he ties her up and tapes pins to her bottom eyelids (so if she closes her eyes the pins would pierce her upper eyelid) while he performs the murders in front of her. This makes for very creepy & interesting kills-if it wasn’t for the blaring 80’s metal overtop of the kills-you would maybe find yourself genuinely creeped out. More people get killed, the crew of the opera create a trap for the killer, a bunch of crows go apeshit, and the killer is who you thought it was all along. Ho hum.

While it’s not an “amazing” film, its very enjoyable-especially when you think you have seen anything that is worth watching from Argento. All the usual Argento trademarks are there; crazy angels, lavish colors, a black-gloved killer, squealy 80’s metal mixed with a haunting score and outrageous kill scenes by said black-gloved killer. The image of Betty with the pins on her lower eyelids is now an iconic image and rightfully so-the image evokes fear of something that would really suck to happen-no?

If Argento had kept on this path we wouldn’t have shit like The Stendhal Syndrome…but what are you gonna do? Take it or leave it, Opera is probably the best thing Argento has done in the past 20 years. Here’s a toast to hoping The Third Mother doesn’t suck.

No one is going to complain about ONE more pic of Asia, are they?

Charlie “I always jerk off before I do a scene” Brown

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~ by exploitnation on May 20, 2008.

9 Responses to “Dario Argento’s Opera”

  1. I like “Opera” as much as the next guy and I do agree with you about “The card Player”. It wasn´t very good, at all. The previous one, “Sleepless” was much better. However, when it comes to the worst thing Argento has done in the last twenty years, it has to be “Do you like Hitchcock?”. What the hell was that? It didn´t feature any of the trademark Argento-camerawork and was frighteningly mediocre. I haven´t had the opportunity to check out “The Third Mother” yet, but by judging from the trailer, it´s looking pretty good. I think that the best work Argento has managed to produce these last couple of years is without a doubt his Masters of Horror-installment “Jenifer”, from the first season. It was gloriously twisted and brilliantly perverse! I absolutely loved that one.
    When Argento´s good, he´s really really good and directs films like “Suspiria” but when he´s having a day off, he can be really crappy. But still, he is Dario Argento…

  2. man. i’m sorry guys. i’ve been pretty fucking lazy. i watched The Mother of Tears (aka The Third Mother) (aka Suspiria 3) (aka The Third Mother 2: Electric Boogaloo) like..a fucking month ago.

    ill get on it.

    right after this nap. (just got back from the airport. i’s tired.)

  3. *(above)

    -andrew

  4. Oh Andrew I am pumped to see that…Charlie

  5. Andrew! Napping time is over…

  6. Hey, Charlie! I´m pretty curious to hear what you thought about both “Sleepless” and the MOH-episode “Jenifer”. how did you think they hold up against Argento´s previous work? It´d be great to hear your thoughts on this…

  7. god, it’s so fucking hot here. i hate the weather in this state. i took like…a MAYBE one hour nap before waking up with the sweaty moppy hair in my face.

    Im also gonna watch “Teeth” tonight to review.

    as well as some other new horror shit.

    also, Charlie, i think i may have a guy who can make a backend for the “site.” he’s like…..my fucking doppleganger. i’ll see what i can do.

    im going take one of those baths. i hear they’re all the rage.

    -andrew.

  8. I haven’t seen sleepless…good? Jenifer, I liked quite a bit-what I thought was cool about it was how into that guy from wings was. If you watch the documentary on the dvd he talks about how much he loves horror and stuff-who would have thought?

  9. “Sleepless” is pretty good. It´s definitely the last movie he´s made (not counting “The third mother” since I haven´t seen it yet) that is up to Argento´s standards. Max Von Sydow stars as a retired cop. It´s definitely a decent giallo and miles better than “The Card Player”. You should definitely check it out.
    Steven Weber gives a great performance in “Jenifer”. He wrote the script for it too if I remember correctly. It was very cool that he wasn´t scared to delve into the perverse aspects of the story. He definitely deserves some credits for agreeing to act in a scene where he gets a blowjob in a car from a deformed creature-girl. Give this man more roles!

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