Leigh McCloskey, the actor interpreting the main character, Mark Elliot, in Inferno, found Dario Argento “a very interesting observer, but also a very introverted, sort of introspective observer”, despite the fact that there was a language barrier, as Dario wasn’t speaking English and had his brother, Claudio, as a translator.
Inferno is the second part of Dario Argento’s trilogy which begins with Suspiria, another Italian masterpiece, and finishes with Mother of Tears. These three films are connected by the curse, explained in Inferno by an old collector, in which three mothers, Mater Suspiriorum, Mater Tenebrarum and Mater Lachrymarum manifest their omnious powers in three different buildings in Freiburg, New York City and Rome. The concept of the trilogy appeared only when Dario finished Suspiria, as he knew this story had to go on, and that is why the history of the three mothers is introduced in the second part of the three movies.
The amazing slip into the abyss of the world of the undead is not only disturbing, but also intriguing, this being subtly realised with the specific mastery of the European director. The cats, the floating corpses, the secret rooms, they all play a part in the composition of this confusing and dazed atmosphere which seems out of space and time.
The poetess Rose Elliot gets killed by the mysterious forces that reign in the New York City old building where she lives, as she tries to discover more about the presence that she feels following her all around her apartment. Mark Elliot, her brother, comes from Rome to look for her sister, after receiving an invitation letter to join her in this research. As Rose is dead before the arrival of Mark, but being nowhere to be found, this roam into the building turns him into a guide in a trip to the underworld. Even though he is driven in solving this strange case, he becomes himself affected by the secret hidden powers of the curse and gets stuck in a strange game.
A distinct element of Dario’s movies is the nuances used to create the tenebrous atmosphere, the predominant color being red, followed by deep blue. This surprising mix goes along perfectly with Keith Emerson’s astonishing soundtrack.
Then I buried myself in here. This building has become my body,
its bricks my cells, and its horror, my very heart. Its horror is my life now.