TERROR AT THE OPERA
In Opera, Argento launches into each set-piece with a degree of artistry that is as extraordinary as the sadism with which each killing is mounted. In one scene, heroine Cristina Marsillach is tied up and forced to watch with needles taped under her eyelids as the killer stabs her boyfriend through the throat the knife is even shown emerging up into his mouth as the camera lens peers down his gullet. In another scene, the killer stabs a seamstress who inadvertently swallows the killers locket as she dies, forcing him to cut her throat open with a pair of scissors to get it back. Argentos girlfriend Daria Nicolodi is shot through a keyhole by a cop while answering the door and the bullet is shown spinning through the keyhole to pierce her brain in extreme slow-motion closeup. Both the climax and the twist ending are positively ingenious.
The film is photographed with a restless Steadicam that is constantly on the prowl up and down stairs and around the backstage of the opera. In one extraordinary sequence, it even takes the point-of-view of the ravens as they are released and circle through the opera house. The sets are lit with a distant coolness one particularly likes Argentos bizarre heavy metal come post-holocaust staging of MacBeth with a Lady MacBeth who wields a handgun. There is the odd touch that is undeniably pretentious, like Argento showing a pulsating brain and having the killers heartbeats amplified while the soundtrack bursts into heavy metal to presage every killing. Otherwise, Opera astounds in its sheer ferocity and perversity.
Dario Argentos other films are: The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (1970), The Cat ONine Tails (1971), Four Flies on Grey Velvet (1971), Deep Red (1976), Suspiria (1977), Inferno (1980), Tenebrae/Unsane (1982), Phenomena/Creepers (1985), Two Evil Eyes (1990), Trauma (1993), The Stendhal Syndrome (1996), The Phantom of the Opera (1998), Sleepless (2001), The Card Player (2004), Mother of Tears: The Third Mother (2007), Giallo (2009) and Dracula (2012).