In much the same way that countryman Sergio Leone reinvigorated the all-American genre of the Western, Italian director Dario Argento infused B horror films with fresh blood. Employing a brazen palette of eye-popping colors and over-the-top soundtracks, Argento rescued psychological horror from the sealed tomb of politely repressed narratives. His other great innovation, exemplified by the Three Mothers Trilogy, was placing innocent women at the center of his otherworldly scenarios. In 1977s classic Suspiria (screening Oct. 1), an aspiring New York dancer jets off to a Italian ballet school that turns out to be a grisly witches den. The director followed that triumph three years later with Inferno (Oct. 3), in which another Manhattan lass encounters a diary titled The Three Mothers, which portends apocalyptic evil. The curious 2007 capper, The Mother of Tears (Oct. 4), centers on a Roman archaeologist (the filmmakers daughter Asia) who unwittingly opens a Pandoras urn. The plots, though, arent what give Argentos movies their spiky kick. Its his gorgeous, delirious, and often surreal imagery that haunts and taunts long after the lights come up.
Oct. 1-4, 7:30 & 9:30 p.m., 2009