Inferno (1980)

7.5 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 6/10
Visuals: 9/10

Three Mothers is interesting, Argento's style

Disjointed story, poor acting

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Inferno

Studio:  Produzioni Intersound

Genre(s):  Horror

Release Date(s):  February 7, 1980

MPAA Rating:  R


What a nice day for a swim…fully dressed.

A woman named Rose Elliot (Irene Miracle) becomes obsessed with the story of The Three Mothers when she discovers she might be living in the home of one of the witches. Writing her bother Mark (Leigh McCloskey) in Rome, Rose meets her fate at the hands of the witch. The story of the witches spreads and Mark’s friend Sara (Eleonora Giorgi) also falls victim to a witch. Brad heads to America to investigate his sister’s fears and finds he could be the next victim of Mater Tenebrarum.

Directed by Dario Argento, Inferno is the second in Argento’s Three Mothers series following Suspiria in 1977. The film did not receive a very wide release in the United States, but has since become a cult classic.

Suspiria is a horror classic.  It is weird, edgy, and a visual feast.  When you learn that Suspiria is the first part of a trilogy, you have to see the other films.  While Suspiria remains the best, Inferno does have its moments.


Who are you? Why are you staring? Why do you have a cat? Why does no one see you?

After Suspiria, Argento really went into the whole Three Mothers story in this entry. It seems pretty obvious that Suspiria was made in a way it could be a completely stand-alone film if it had been the only movie made (like the original Star Wars), but this film is obviously part of something bigger. It officially introduces the names of the Mothers…Susperia dealt with Mater Suspiriorum, this film deals with Mater Tenebrarum, and Mother of Tears deals with Mater Lachrymarum.

Due to the weird storytelling in the film, it feels a bit herky-jerky. The movie has a strange appearance of a woman in Rome (played by Ania Pieroni). It never really gives any identity to the character, but it is the third witch Mater Lachrymarum.  It just feels like a complete oddity here and much of the film has that strangeness to it that you aren’t quite getting everything. Even the official appearance of Mater Tenebrarum at the end of the film is strange with the fire and death.


Burn, baby, burn…Disco Inferno!

Dario Argento definitely has a style. Like Suspiria, the film is full of overly saturated reds and blues. This film however just doesn’t have the scope and feel of Suspiria, but it still looks great. Argento knows how to bring out the horrible deaths.  A great example is the bizarre cat drowning scene which has a guy drowning cats in a bag, falling in and getting attacked by rats, and then when it appears a vendor is going to help him, the vendor just cuts him up.  It is bizarre and eerie, but I just wish they more tied together and the film as a whole was tighter like Suspiria.

Despite being the second film, this really kicks off the Three Mothers trilogy and the series is worth checking out. With Argento’s style and flame an average film with a meandering plot is lifted above average to good…but not great. After a long gap, Inferno was followed by Mother of Tears in 2007.

Related Links:

Suspiria (1977)

Mother of Tears (2007)

Suspiria (2018)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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