Sunday, September 28, 2008
THE TRILOGY IS COMPLETED...
... AND IT'S NOT FOR THE SQUEAMISH.
If you like Italian horror movies as much as I do, you already know who DARIO ARGENTO is.
DEEP RED... BIRD WITH THE CRYSTAL PLUMMAGE... TENEBRE... all of them, CLASSICS. Along with Mario Bava (the godfather of Italian horror), Riccardo Freda, and Antonio Margheriti, Argento showed the world that England's Hammer studios wasn't the only place to produce brilliant spookfests in the 50s, 60s, and 70s. Argento, however, is the most well-known of the bunch, continuing to produce and direct disturbing and hallucinogenic horror films up to the present day.
Now, at the ripe ol' age of 67, Argento has unleashed another masterpiece upon an unsuspecting world. It's called MOTHER OF TEARS, and it's the conclusion to a trilogy that began almost 30 years ago.
I watched MOTHER OF TEARS this weekend, and was just blown away. It's pure, unfiltered, classic Argento: gory, insane, beautiful, and dreamlike.
WARNING: THIS FILM IS NOT FOR EVERYONE.
We're talking horror fanatics ONLY. Definitely not for the squeamish.
Seriously, folks. If you don't like intensely gory flicks, don't watch this. And if you like straight forward, more coherent plots... forget about it. The stories in an Argento film unfold like a nightmare. They are full of Lynchian dream logic, which means sometimes they just don't make rational sense. Yet they still speak powerfully on a subconscious level. Also, the sheer gorgeousness of the cinematography--an Argento trademark--is tremendously powerful, resulting in a masterful, blood-drenched cacophony that's reminiscent of a car accident. It's horrifying, yet irresistible... you're compelled to look at it.
True horror fans are going to LOVE this movie (as I did). Those looking for heady themes and character arcs should look elsewhere. This is pure, horrific visual splendor.
And how does MOTHER stand up to the earlier entries in the series, SUSPIRIA and INFERNO? Perfectly!!! And that's what's so amazing. Watching this movie was like being transported back in time. The look and feeling of MOTHER might be more like Argento's other masterpiece, OPERA, but the story, characters, and schizophrenic-yet-violent beauty are right on par with Parts I & II. In fact, I'm going out on a limb here to say that I may have liked this one just as much as INFERNO. (Talk to me again after a second viewing. And for the record, SUSPIRIA... the supreme masterpiece of Italian horror, remains unequaled to this day.) BTW: special mention goes to composer Claudio Simonetti, whose score for MOTHER is awesome. Same thing goes for the film's top-notch gore/make-up/visual effects. Wow. They're just phenomenal! Throw in the beautiful and talented Asia Argento (Dario's daughter), and you've got, well... CLASSIC ARGENTO. A small, but pivotal role by DARIA NICOLODI was just wonderful icing on an already very enjoyable cake.
Ultimately, MOTHER OF TEARS isn't just a great ending to the "Three Mothers" trilogy, but it's also one of Argento's BEST films. It's definitely--IMHO--his best since the brilliant and crazy THE STENDAHL SYNDROME (another Dario/Asia collaboration).
Thank you, Dario, for finishing the trilogy with such a fantastic, original, and mind-blowing film. And to those interested in checking it out this Halloween, all I can say is... you've been warned.