Bleed Out

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 1977’s 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 filmmaker’s daughter Asia) who unwittingly opens a Pandora’s urn. The plots, though, aren’t what give Argento’s movies their spiky kick. It’s 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

 
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