On the first day of Slashermas my true love gave to me Dark Night of the Scarecrow, on the second day of Slashermas my true love gave to me a crummy Freddy Kreuger movie, on the third day of Slashermas my true love gave to me a trip to Sleepaway Camp, on the fourth day of Slashermas my true love gave to me Dario Argento’s Tenebrae, on the fifth day of Slashermas my true love gave to me another Argento movie.
This time, it’s 1987’s Opera.
When veteran opera singer Mara Czekova has a car accident, it’s up to her understudy, Betty (Cristina Marsillach) to take over her role as Lady Macbeth.
On opening night there’s an accident with falling lights and a stage hand is killed. Is it the curse of Macbeth? It becomes clear that the killer has some kind of personal connection with Betty. He binds her and sticks needles under her eyes, forcing her to watch as he kills those around her.
Urbano Barberini plays Inspector Santini, a detective and opera fan who tries to protect Betty. I was pleasantly surprised to see that Barberini can genuinely act. I initially saw him in the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode Outlaw (of Gor) as Tarl Cabot and that was pretty awful. He’s actually quite good in this movie.
Sadly, his voiced is dubbed over and the only version that has his original voice is the UK Arrow Films version, under the alternate title Terror at the Opera.
Of all the Argento movies I’ve seen so far, this plot feels the flimsiest. This movie pretty much exists to showcase the lush opera…
…and elaborate killing sequences.
Fun fact–after screencapping the second picture with the pins, I accidentally made that the computer’s background. So when I clicked out of the programs I was using, I was instantly startled. This is probably punishment for changing the background of my mom’s computer to the evil ghoul lady from Insidious, the Sloth Astronaut, Lil Bub, and a different picture of Lil Bub.
Anyway, I’m okay with this movie existing to showcase the opera and the killing sequences except this movie is an hour-and-forty-six minutes long and it drags after a while.
The other star of the movie is the music, Instead of working with Goblin, Argento worked with Claudio Simonetti of Goblin and Brian Eno. There’s an original score mixed with some rock songs and, my favorite, parts from different operas including “Vieni T’affretta” from Verdi’s Macbeth.
This movie uses imagery similar to Suspiria, especially the alternation between warm and cool light, and has a giallo influence similar to Tenebrae, but I think it’s the weakest of the three Argento movies. The plot couldn’t sustain the running time. Also, I just didn’t like Betty. She’s entirely passive throughout the whole movie until the very end and that just doesn’t make for a compelling character.
That being said, I think Argento did that on purpose. The point is to reverse the position of performer from creating to viewing. There are lots of shots of Betty being watched–from the entire audience of an opera house, the binoculars of the killer, and the lens-like eyes of the ravens.
This is reversed with Betty being forced to watch the killings around her. She’s also forced to come to terms with memories of her dead mother, although this plot point feels very shoe-horned in.
This isn’t my favorite Argento movie but even an imperfect Argento movie is still an interesting movie. Plus, it gives us this hot of a raven holding the fakest eyeball ever.


About scarina

I like scary movies a little too much. I thought I'd share my obsession with you.
This entry was posted in 1980's, crime, foreign, serial killers, slasher, slashermas 2013 and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Opera

  1. backlashcomix says:

    This looks like a visually interesting horror movie.

  2. Crypticpsych says:

    For some reason, Arrow’s basically the only one who does that sort of thing. It’s why most of the “next gen” or special versions of Argento’s stuff I have come from them. Deep Red, Inferno, Card Player…usually they at least have the Italian track as an option which is a welcome change (Synapse picked up the rights to Demons, Demons 2, Phenomena, and Tenebre and…given that they included the Italian track on their steelbook blus of the Demons movie, I’d wager that’ll be rectified soon enough….not to mention they also have the rights to Suspiria and have said they’ll release that one in 2015 or 16 because they want to meticulously take their time with it).

    As I mentioned when writing on the Tenebre post, I have seen Opera, I just barely remember it from that night in the forums. It’s a visually beautiful movie with interesting kills, but beyond that, like you said, it feels a bit weak in the Argento canon.

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