Argento strikes again (sort of)

When La Terza madre / The Third Mother premiered at the 2007 Toronto International Film Festival, Dario Argento's long-awaited sequel and the final chapter in the Three Mothers Trilogy was given a very mixed response.

First came Suspiria (1977), then came Inferno (1980), and then a long wait, as fans hoped Argento would deliver a shocker worthy of the first film. Unlike many of his more recent thrillers, Terza has enjoyed a much broader theatrical run in Europe, and it was purchased last year for U.S. distribution by the Weinstein Company for a June 2008 release, to be followed by a planned DVD edition later this year.

Arriving in time for the Terza's theatrical run is a new Argento tin from Anchor Bay/Starz Home Entertainment, which gathers five films in one set, including newly expanded special edition DVD releases of Phenomena and Tenebre.

We've decided to work backwards and review Argento's films from his most recent to oldest, beginning with the Region 2 DVD of La Terza madre from Optimum, and Do You Like Hitchcock? / Ti piace Hitchcock? (2005) from Anchor Bay/Starz, to be followed by the remaining 4 films in the tin, plus a few surprises.

Additionally, in the May issue (#78) of Rue Morgue Magazine, I profiled Argento's 1973 TV series Door into Darkness / Porta sul buio, a 4-part production that was filmed on 16mm film and released decades later on DVD in a super-limited set in Germany. NoShame had slated a February Region 1 release, but the title was subsequently bumped to March, and then seemingly cancelled without any explanation.

Because the NoShame set was unavailable for review, I used the German release for reference (which happily includes English subtitles for the Italian language production), and will upload a longer and more detailed examination of the series as we progress towards Argento's work from the early seventies, which will also include reviews of the two films Argento directed around the show's filming: Four Flies on Grey Velvet / 4 mosche di velluto grigio (1971), and Five Days of Milan / Le Cinque giornate (1973).

For as many of the films as possible, there will also be corresponding soundtrack reviews, since the scores for Argento's films - including the rareties - have appeared on LP and CD at some time. A shorter review of Claudio Simonetti's Terza madre CD will appear in an upcoming issue of Rue Morgue, and will be followed by a longer version at

Coming next: Mandingo from Legend Films, and a film review of Onkel Toms Hütte / Uncle Tom's Cabin (1965).

And Immiment: Dario Argento's The Card Player and Trauma from Anchor Bay/Starz, and Back to the Goblin 2005, a reunion album featuring new material composed and performed by Fabio Pignatelli, Massimo Morante, Maurizio Guarini, and Agostino Marangolo. (Click HERE for more information.)


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