I’ve been a huge Argento fan ever since I rented Suspiria in my teens, and at some point in the late 80s/early 90s, Argento, Bava, and Fulci films were the only horror movies I would watch. To play a little bit of catch-up on 31 Horror Films in 31 Days – I decided to re-review Le tre madri – his Three Mothers Triology.
Arguably the most beloved of the trilogy, Suspiria is a trippy, blood-soaked Giallo masterpiece. American ballet student Suzy Bannion arrives at a famous German dance school to be trained by the best, and the murderin’ starts right away. Turns out the school is run by a fierce coven of old-lady witches who worship Mater Suspirorum (The Mother of Sighs), and by worship – I mean, constantly kill girls in interesting ways so the mother can have their blood? Or something. It’s not really clear, but the technicolor sets on this movie, combined with the buckets of bright orange-y red splatter, are fantastic.
While the second film in the trilogy has some really great moments, by and large it’s sadly, pretty boring. In this one, the action jumps back-and-forth between a sister in NYC and her brother in Rome, trying to unveil the mystery of The Three Mothers. Rose, in New York, thinks she might be living in the home of Mater Tenebrarum (The Mother o Darkness), so naturally she decides to explore the flooded basement in the pitch black to find out more – which is the scariest part of the movie!) There’s a decent amount of stabbing and of course, fire, but it would behoove you to liberally use the fast-forward button on this one. It’s just…missing the tenseness that Suspiria has.
La terza madre (2007)
The Mother of Tears, which took almost 30 years to come to fruition (what!) is the ultimate “I’m gonna torture my daughter mercilessly” Argento film, starring his drop-dead-gorgeous daughter, Asia, as an art restoration student who accidentally opens a box, releasing the spirit of Mater Lachrymarum, which basically starts a chain reaction of some of the crazy shit I’ve ever seen on film. Dying babies, insane torture instruments, bands of witches that look like they stepped out of a Goth club in the 80s, orgies, corpses, and naked women everywhere. It’s cheesy as hell, but the gore is almost non-stop, so it’s totally great, and a nice capper to the trilogy.
For those that haven’t seen Argento’s work before – note that all these releases are dubbed, and really badly, so that definitely ads a kitschy factor to it. Despite their faults, though, these are still some incredible pieces of art. No one knows how to do a kill scene quite like this guy.
I highly recommend you check these out (in order, of course) for a different take on the horror genre.