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Tag: Daria Nicolodi

Tenebre

by on Oct.02, 2010, under Daily Review

Peter Neal (Anthony Franciosa) is a horror novelist, in Rome to promote his latest novel, although on arrival, he’s questioned by the police as to a related murder. Soon, the bodies are amassing from all sides, all linked back to the author. So whose bumping these girls off?

Argento takes us on a sleek contemporary giallo which is toned down from his previous deep pallet of colours, this time, we get a somewhat blank canvas which allows the master to spray blood all over the place to maximum effect, and believe me, when I say spray, I mean spray. The tale is a straight to the point affair for the most part, with some great twists and an effective conclusion. There’s some interesting dreamlike back story which is all good stuff and brilliantly created. The film works well with a very talented cast here too. Daria Nicolodi, John Steiner, John Saxon and Giuliano Gemma.

The promo poster for this film shows a girls head, held backwards through a pane of glass, neck sliced wide open. He’s Argento’s window murder again, a great scene, a shocking double murder which follows one of the most dramatic, stylish and accomplished cinematographic scenes in any of Argento’s films, care or Luciano Tovoli, as the camera pans slowly through a window and up over a house, dipping into windows and rooms. Tremendous.

Score here is also  stunningly good, once again provided by the magnificent Goblin.

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Opera

by on Oct.01, 2010, under Daily Review

I have a real soft spot for this film but as always, have been avoiding a revisit. Could it live up to my rose tinted memories?

This is a beautiful film and works on so many levels. I could controversially suggest that this is Argento’s finest moment, but of cause, to compare with Suspiria, Inferno and Deep Red, could be a tricky feat, but in my opinion, it stands on its own, a masterpiece of not only the horror genre, but cinema as a whole.

The story, set in a theatre. A horror film director (Ian Charleson) turns his attention to a grande Opera version of Verdi’s Macbeth. When his leading lady storms from the set, the understudy Betty (Cristina Marsillach) gets her chance to make a name for herself, but haunted by a strange nightmares from her past and the curse of Macbeth. Following the first night, she is confronted by a masked man, who ties her up, and tapes pins to her eyelids, forcing her to witness a murder. Through a number of flashbacks, we gather a shocking insight of the past, Betty’s mother, the killer and a dangerous taboo game.

Once again, Argento takes us through a tale of crime and murder leaving the audience guessing at who the killer is and what are the motives. The flashback scenes are brilliant, launched by a close up shot of the killers brain, flexing away. Ron Taylor as DP, here with his most inventive camerawork. Swooping shots of the theatre, corridors, through crowds and over the audience. One scene has a track and point of view of a Crow as it flies around the theatre. Magnificent.

Other groundbreaking moments here, a close up of a bullet as it ignites in the barrel of the gun, fires along and out, through a key hole and through the eye of the unlucky viewer, the bullet also taking out the phone at the end of the corridor. One of the most amazing scenes I’ve ever witnessed which still lives up to my memory.

Performances by Daria Nicolodi, Barbara Cupisti and the amazing Urbano Barberini. Cristina Marsillach is outstanding here, a brilliant performance from a talented young actress. A great supporting role also by Coralina Cataldi-Tassoni. A fine film which captures the pure style and elegance of Argento in all it’s shocking gory glory, but balanced with the beauty and calm which give the film a somewhat dream like state at times. As always, some subtle green, red and blue gels to attribute the past, but overall, a sleek, stylish modern representation of the master.

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Phenomena

by on Sep.29, 2010, under Daily Review

Jennifer Connelly gained fame as a young actress with Labyrinth, but prior to this, she’d already worked with two of the worlds greatest directors, Sergio Leone (One upon a Time in America) and here with Argento. It’s obvious, they could see the talent and great potential. Connelly is magnificent here and holds the film together, just as Hemmings did in Deep Red, anchoring the film with Character.

Girls are being murdered in the Swiss Alps with only body parts being discovered months after. (Connelly) is a rich American kid whose father finds her a girls school in Europe to study. She’s not like the other students, her father being a heart throb actor, but that’s not all. She has a secret ability to communicate with insects and sleepwalks too. She teams up with Professor McGregor (Donald Pleasence), an expert in the field of insects who introduces her to the Great Sarcophagus, a fly which lives on rotting human flesh. The investigation begins.

The film is full of wonder, a great plot with a dash of the fantastical and some vicious gore. Cinematography is outstanding but subtle (Romano Albani), once again, Argento pushes for strong characters to take the viewer through some crazy plotlines. Great musical score too, a collective of Boswell, Goblin, Simonetti and Bill Wyman.

As suspected, we have another window murder, the opening scene, first murder, head crashed through glass. This is strange. I’ve seen most of Argento’s films many times, never noticed this connection before. So far, four out of four have window murders.

As mentioned, it’s Connelly who wins this film over. She’s a great actress and here does not disappoint. Talking away to bees and flies, she makes this crazy plot work and takes us to a believable place. Pleasance and Nicolodi as always put in a fine performance too.

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Mother of Tears

by on Nov.07, 2009, under Daily Review

Argento’s long awaited 3rd part in his Three Mothers trilogy. Does it disappoint? Not at all. This is pure crazy euro horror, the likes not seen on the silver screen (or betamax video cassette) for 20 years.

The story: During an excavation of a cemetery, a casket containing ultimate evil is discovered, and transported to the museum of Rome for further study. The evil is mother01unleashed spreading a plague of terror though the streets of the capital turning residents into crazed rapists, murderers and loonies.  Only one person can save Rome and the world from domination; Sarah (Asia Argento). As Witches converge in Rome for the event, her adventure begins leading to an awakening within her own soul and the enlightenment that her mother was a great white witch. Sarah alone must defeat the resurrected evil witch Mater Lachrymarum, who is leading this second age of witchcraft.

It’s a crazy film with some very odd moments, which can be excused by such a wild concept. The evil which is first released is in the form of huge fury monster, men in suit types which is great. Some CGI is really bad and the script is slightly off, but this aside, it’s pretty good stuff. Does it stand up against it’s original two parts? Maybe not, but times are different, and films like Suspiria and Inferno just ain’t being made any more, but this is probably as good a third part that we could ever expect.

It may have been a bad decision to cast Asia in the lead role. My theory; all Argento films with Asia are weak. A good theory I know. but it’s not her acting ability in question, but more a matter of direction regarding Father/Daughter relationship.

Other fine reasons to watch this one, include fine yet brief performances from Daria Nicolodi, Udo Kier and Moran Atias as the head witch. Memorable scene being, Asia’s spirit talk with her dead mother with mystic dust is an awesome moment and the whole invisibility trick in the bookshop is magical.

While the current theme for horror films revolves around gore and torture, it’s great to see a film with a bit of fantasy and vision.

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