Inferno (1980)

3.5 out of 5

Margaret Hoffenbach, a student, takes an ill fated journey on a Night Train. She is played by the beautiful Irene Miracle who fares little better in Inferno than she does at the hands of Aldo Lado. Martha from The Beyond who, like Arthur, came with the hotel appears here as a nurse. That is Veronica Lazar. The strange meditating hippy mime who luckily shares a room with Lilli Carati and Gloria Guida in To Be Twenty appears in Inferno as a no less strange butler. This a Dario Argento film, a sequel to Suspiria, though this time the writing credits go to Dario alone. Unsurprisingly Daria is in this.

The film does not come together too well as a whole as it is in effect a series of episodes strung together, this is probably intentional. It is nevertheless visually more cohesive as the effective use of the Bava-esque blue, red and other gels continue a theme from Suspiria. The idea of the deeper inner depths of a building as a sanctuary for evil incarnate is another theme that is revisited.

There is a depiction of Death as we understand it's personification that unfortunately seems to be more at home on a ghost train. This may unfortunately prove to be the most memorable moment of the film despite a number of effective set pieces.

Neither the most stylish nor inventive of Dario Argento's filmography the movie is nevertheless interesting. There is an effective use of Verdi opera in Inferno but Keith Emerson provides an assault on the eardrums with some overbearing prog rock noodling that attempts to build dramatic tension right up to the monumental anticlimax that the film ultimately turns out to be.

Maurizio Merli header graphic courtesy of Paddy O'Neill of Foxyfide Graphics