Today’s horror movie was Dario Argento’s Opera (1987), a film so buried in my Netflix DVD queue that I’ve forgotten how or why I put it there.
Dario Argento is considered one of the masters of horror, and yet I’ve always had sort of a “meh” feeling about his movies. To be fair, I’ve only seen Suspiria, Phenomena, and Giallo, but none of them did it for me. The death scenes often feel a little too carefully orchestrated. Opera was no exception.
The main character is an opera singer, an understudy who is forced into the spotlight after the lead is injured. She keeps getting attacked by a mysterious masked person, who tied her up and tapes needles against her eyes so she is forced to watch the murders he commits. And then he lets her go. The baffling part is how, after each attack, Betty doesn’t seem to report the murders she has witnessed, and then doesn’t seem too nervous about being alone, or leaving her door unlocked. During the second murder, the victim attempts to run away but is taken down when the killer hurls an iron and hits her in the lower back. Like, really? That’s what gonna keep you down? Another victim gets shot through a peephole, in slow motion. It was pretty cool, but again, a little too choreographed to feel real. There’s no panic or emotion during the last murder – she keeps her composure while watching her friend die and while luring the killer away and attacking him, and then she has a random spiritual moment with a lizard, with her friend’s blood on her blouse. And don’t get me started on the rock music that would play during the murders, contrasted to the opera music playing throughout the rest of the movie. Also there was a lot of footage of crows because the “crazy opera director” wanted to use live animals in his show.
While I have to say that this was probably the best of the Argento films I’ve seen, I’m still not convinced about him as a director. Apparently I have Tenebre in my queue, so this might not be the last of Argento you hear from me this month!
Have you seen this and want to watch something similar? (Or perhaps, after reading my review, something else?)
- The Birds (1963) – I don’t think there were any crows eating eyeballs in this one, but I think Hitchcock is more of a horror master than Argento.
- Black Swan (2010) – Not a “horror” movie but some pretty scary things happening in this one.
- Stage Fright (2014) – This one has some memorable actors (Minnie Driver and… Meatloaf) but a more predictable plot for a horror movie centered around the stage (honestly I don’t know what to make of Opera’s ending).