The most beautiful sick movie
For any fan of horror cinema this is an absolute must-see. It's in the same pantheon as THE EXORCIST, ALIEN, HALLOWEEN, PSYCHO and other grand classics of the genre. It's beauty and elegance makes it enjoyable (at least superficially) to fans outside the genre who are looking for a movie experience that is well-designed and gracefully photographed.
The ingredients indicate high cinema pedigree: the photography is stunning 'Scope with garish colors that bleed off the screen. Nowhere outside of Powell & Pressburger or Disney films do you find color used this boldly (coincidentally, the same photo stock was used to make the prints for SUSPIRIA that Powell used for classics like BLACK NARCISSUS and THE RED SHOES); the soundtrack, by the Italian rock group Goblin, with contributions from director Argento, is bombastic and frightening, and might just get stuck in your head like a good rock melody; the director himself, Italian giallo maestro Dario Argento (who we can thank for siring the luscious writer/poet/musician/model/actress Asia Argento) has been called "the greatest director" by none other than Orson Welles; the murder scenes -- which are actually less frightening than the film's overall tone and ambiance -- are shocking and gory, one of which has been called "the most vicious murder scene ever filmed"(Entertainment Weekly). As an added bonus, we get a rare performance by Jessica Harper, a minor cult icon -- and in a leading role!
The film's overall mood is what you will remember -- and you will remember it forever. Once the movie begins, it never seems to end. Argento's camera eternally stalks the corridors of that Swiss boarding school, following distant tappings and glowing colored lights while Goblin's terrifying theme repeats endlessly. Now that's a horror movie.