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"Opera" Reviews/Discussion - 2021 Horror Challenge

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"Opera" Reviews/Discussion - 2021 Horror Challenge

Old 09-28-21, 09:37 PM
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"Opera" Reviews/Discussion - 2021 Horror Challenge

Opera (1987)

Selected by Darkgod

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These "October Horror Movie Challenge" threads are for the discussion of the films in the 31 FILM SUBSET list.

The plan is for everyone to watch this film on the October day in the thread title, and to start discussing it the morning of the following day.
You may start discussion early if you want, but the preferred plan is for this to be as much of a group exercise as possible, with all of us viewing it "together" and discussing after.

Of course, you are totally encouraged to participate in these threads even if you haven't watched the movie on the designated day.
Even if you haven't watched it in years, or are not participating in the Horror Challenge, please feel free to chime in.

Spoiler tags aren't always used in here, so if you have yet to see the film BEWARE OF POSSIBLE SPOILERS.







Old 10-29-21, 12:45 PM
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Re: "Opera" Reviews/Discussion - 2021 Horror Challenge

I enjoyed revisiting Opera this time and do not remember being as fond of it before.
I'm not sure taping needles to someone's eyes would be efficient because of how recessed the eyes are compared to the needles and it's hard to suspend that disbelief.

Does no one notice at any point that the stage hand is murdered during the first performance? There's more aftermath from the weird raven slaughter.

Bullet through the peep hole murder has got to be top 10 out of killings this month.

The bizarre raven subplot is almost as amazingly strange as the ape in that other Argento film and what a cool raven's eye point of view. I wonder how they captured the raven pov scene.

Soundtrack of rock is a stepdown for Argento and seems to clash some with the film.

Opera is surprisingly meta with a film about killings around an opera that draws people's attention and is televised so we are watching a film about a performance (opera?) that is secondary to the main performance (killings in our horror film?) while a within film audience is oblivious to the film/murders and the opera is also being televised so it's people watching people not watching the danger (or the film we are watching). It reminds me of Plato's 'allegory of the cave' where the shadows projected on a cave wall to people chained within are the prisoners' reality, but are not accurate representations of the real world (whatever the real world is here - the film, the opera, the murders, the tv within the film, etc). The famous forced viewership gag relates well to this theme. Also maybe more than a coincident that the agency's eye gets shot out while she is looking through a peephole or the inspectors eye get gouged out by the raven - here one of the worst things that can happen is the loss of vision (ironic for a film centered around musical performance). The creepy obsessiveness about eyes and watching is the best part of Opera and maybe there's more depth to it than was readily obvious to me at first.

Last edited by Undeadcow; 10-29-21 at 03:33 PM.
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Old 10-29-21, 09:40 PM
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Re: "Opera" Reviews/Discussion - 2021 Horror Challenge

I love this. The opera sequences take it to a whole other level. Amazing set pieces. My favorite giallo by far.
Old 10-29-21, 09:41 PM
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Re: "Opera" Reviews/Discussion - 2021 Horror Challenge

I think this is perhaps the second Argento film that I ever saw, but it had been a long time since I revisited it. I still like it and think it's one of the better latter Argento films.

I remember finding a couple things really jarring the first time I sent it. The first was the music. I thought the metal music called too much attention to itself and didn't really benefit the film. I still feel that way. The other is the dubbing. I was still brand new to Italian horror when I first saw it and was really distracted by the dubbing of William McNamara because he was an actor I knew. I guess I'm more used to the dubbing because that didn't bother me so much.

I agree that the needle and the eye thing doesn't really make practical sense, but it makes for a good visual. When it comes to Argento, most of the time that's enough.
Old 10-30-21, 11:23 AM
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Re: "Opera" Reviews/Discussion - 2021 Horror Challenge

I really wanted to like this, being a fan of opera and hoping for some stylish horror, but it just didn't work for me. For one thing, the heroine has been tied up and forced to watch people being murdered, but she doesn't seem eager to catch the perp.

The movie is called Opera, but the soundtrack was mostly crappy pop and metal. The English dubbing also marred my enjoyment. I also really hate eye trauma in films— it’s a phobia.
The kills would have landed with better effect if they had been accompanied by arias. Look at how Argento uses Verdi in Inferno.

Last edited by Gobear; 10-30-21 at 08:55 PM.
Old 10-30-21, 04:47 PM
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Re: "Opera" Reviews/Discussion - 2021 Horror Challenge

This would fall in the bottom half of Argento films for me, but it wasn’t bad by any means. As Gobear mentioned, the dubbing was really distracting in this one. I’m plenty used to the Italian way of recording dialogue, but man this was bad.
That being said I like the plot and it had some cool kills. I wish they would have done more to throw you off the scent of who the killer was.
The soundtrack was odd. I wonder how that final scene would have played had it not been some bad metal song.
Old 11-01-21, 12:10 AM
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Re: "Opera" Reviews/Discussion - 2021 Horror Challenge

I'd put this in the middle tier of Argento's films. I thought that the lead actress was pretty cute (although she and Dario Argento did NOT get along at all), and Ian Charleson was pretty fun as the director. I have to agree with Undeadcow about the logistics of the needles under the eyes. And what was up with the very last shot, the one with Betty crawling through the flowers and talking nonsense about her favorite things (leaves, insects, clouds) and freeing the trapped lizard? Now that I think about it, Argento seems to have this weird fascination with lizards anyway.

My subset film rankings for the Challenge thus far:

1. Battle Royale
2. Carrie (1976)
3. Curse of the Demon
4. Freaky
5. Slither
6. Possessor Uncut
7. The Ninth Gate
8. Tower of Evil
9. Witchfinder General
10. A Bay of Blood / The Spiral Staircase (averaged together)
11. Planet Terror
12. Silent Madness
13. Slumber Party Massacre II (based purely on its out-of-left-field aesthetic)
14. In Search of Darkness
15. Opera
16. The Gate
17. Road Games
18. Daughters of Darkness
19. Triangle
20. The Untold Story
21. The Collector
22. Cure
23. Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II
24. Grave Robbers (Ladrones de Tumbas)
25. Body Bags
26. The Severed Arm
27. Fade to Black
28. The Empty Man
29. The Mortuary Collection
30. Cutting Class
Old 11-01-21, 08:24 AM
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Re: "Opera" Reviews/Discussion - 2021 Horror Challenge

Originally Posted by Undeadcow
The bizarre raven subplot is almost as amazingly strange as the ape in that other Argento film and what a cool raven's eye point of view. I wonder how they captured the raven pov scene.
For the Birds: How They Filmed the Crow Scenes for Dario Argento’s ‘Opera’

I wondered about the raven POV too and found a video clip at the link above -- innovative shot decades ahead of drove camera POV.

"There's too much smoke. There's too much smoke!" A commentary I heard this month mentioned not giving a stage director a fog machine because it will be used in every scene.

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