Retro-review: New on BluRay from Kino Lorber/Scorpion Releasing; help me out and pick it up on DVD/BluRay here on Amazon!
Dario Argento’s OPERA (1987)
aka TERROR AT THE OPERA
Directed by Dario Argento
Written by Dario Argento, Franco Ferrini
Starring Cristina Marsillach, Ian Charleson, Urbano Barberini, Daria Nicolodi, Coralina Cataldi-Tassoni, Antonella Vitale, William McNamara, Barbara Cupisti, Antonino Iuorio, Carola Stagnaro, Francesca Cassola, Maurizio Garrone, Cristina Giachino, György Gyõriványi, Michele Soavi, Dario Argento
One of Argento’s most famous works is newly available from Scorpio Releasing and Kino Lorber. While it is not my favorite of his works, it does exemplify why Argento is the best there is at murder and death on an epicly cinematic scale. OPERA is full of moments of grand death while exemplifying what every good giallo should have. While there are some acting stumbles, the camerawork and majesty of the directing shows the iconic director at the top of his game.
In a loose retelling of THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, OPERA focuses on Betty (Cristina Marsillach) a soprano understudy is given her big chance at a lead when the lead in the opera Macbeth is injured. This puts her in sights of a killer who forces her to witness the killing of those she holds dear around her. Is the opera cursed? Who is the killer? And why is he making Betty witness these murders by taping needles under her eyes? Expect a long and complicated Giallo plot in true Argento style!
While the acting leaves a lot to be desired, especially with some American characters dubbed with extremely ill-fitting voices such as 90’s teen bully William McNamara who plays one of Betty’s admirers, the true showcase of OPERA are the highly intricate and meticulous kills highlighted throughout the entire film and the bizarre way the killer forces Betty to watch. In true Giallo fashion, where a person witness a crime by an unknown killer and is punished by what they witness throughout the film, Betty is bound and taped to witness these murders numerous times. While Argento varies the murders and gives each of them a vivid sequence unlike anything you might have seen before, the torment of Betty is pretty raw throughout the whole film and despite the lack of acting skill from a lot of the cast, including Marsillach, this is one amazing film to see unfold.
Argento really does go all out with the theatrics here, making each scene sing with all sorts of vivid shots such as a bullet view through a peephole, the scissor fighting scene in the dressing room, and all of those awesome crows. Sure the whole mystery wraps up in a rather lackluster manner, but the road to the end is dazzling. OPERA is not one of Argento’s best stories, but it is one of his best looking films.
One last thing I have to mention is the horrific use of heavy metal music throughout the film. For a film entitled OPERA, I am amazed that metal was used during the kills. I know it was filmed in 1987 and most likely, as with PHENOMENON/CREEPERS, metal was used in order to appeal to the MTV crowd, but it is horrifically out of place here in the world of high class opera.
This version of OPERA released by Scorpion/Kino Lorber is light on extras; a brand new 2k scan of the original negatives, an on-camera interview with Dario Argento, a new on-camera interview with star William McNamara, a brand new 5.1 surround sound, and the original trailer!
If you like the review above, help me out and click on the link to buy it on Amazon here!!!