Inferno (1980)

4.0 out of 5

The second installation of the, for a very long time only two part, trilogy sees the sardonic witches still trying to bring on the eternal darkness that was initiated in Suspiria 1977.

Inferno opens with Rose Eliot, Irene Miracle, reading "The Three Sisters", a book that tells of three cursed places where three witches live in three different parts of the world. Witches intent on corrupting the world and plunging it into gloom. Rose suspects that one of these places may be in the cellar of her residence, and that leads her to a most impressive underwater sequence choreographed by Mario Bava, who’s son Lamberto also serves as the assistant director on the film.

Mark Elliot, Leigh McCloskey, a student of music in Rome receives a letter from his sister Rose asking him to come there, but unfortunately for Mark, she has vanished before he can get to New York. He meets Countess Elise, Daria Nicolodi, who is also worried about Rose absence and they team up to find her. Little do they know that they soon will be standing face to face with Mater Tenabraeum.

This time Goblin’s frenetic chats are out and replaced by a sombre score by Keith Emerson – who amusingly appealed to Argento as he used to ram knives into his keyboard as part of the show with E.L.P., the same thing that convinced H.R. Giger when he agreed to make the cover to their Brain Salad Surgery. Fulvio Mingozzi reprises his role as a cab driver and Alida Valli holds a small part as a caretaker. Claustrophobic underwater apartments, crazy cat attacks, a pretty naff skeleton in the climax and colour scheme that mimics Suspiria, Inferno almost manages to approach the captivating atmosphere of that original entry.

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