As if I didn’t love the Music Box Theatre enough already, they have made a deal with Scorpion Releasing to distribute a few of Scorpion’s titles on Blu-ray and DVD, through their Doppelgänger Releasing division. The first of these titles to be coming out is one of my personal favorites of Dario Argento, his 1987 film Opera, which should be out before the end of this year. With the release of Suspiria from Synapse Films, this is going to make a great way to end the year for Italian horror fans.
This last Thursday, the new film festival Cinepocalypse started at the Music Box Theatre in Chicago. With over 60 films selected that are running through Thursday the 9th, there are plenty of new films, as well as some old classics, that are just going to blow you away.
This Monday alone is going to be one hell of a special night. At 7pm, they will be screening a rare 35mm Italian print of Dario Argento’s Suspiria! For this 40th year anniversary, this uncut print will be in Italian with English subtitles. And if that wasn’t enough to excite you, how about the fact that actress Jessica Harper will be in attendance!!!
For those couple out there that haven’t seen Suspiria, then here’s the trailer.
Okay Argento fans, now is your chance to see Suspiria on the big screen like you’ve never seen it before. On Friday night, Aug. 4th, at 10:30pm at the AMC Rosemont 18 (formally Muvico), they will be screening the new 4K restoration of this Argento classic on the big screen, thanks to Synapse Films. We all know the incredible work that Synapse has done on their previous releases, so you know that this version, “beautifully restored from an original fully uncut and uncensored 35mm Italian camera negative, presented with the original 4.0 discrete sound mix not heard since the original theatrical release in 1977”, it is going to be just jaw-dropping amazing to witness.
The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (1970)
Directed Dario Argento
Starring Tony Musante, Suzy Kendall, Enrico Maria Salemo, Eva Renzi, Umberto Raho, Renato Romano, Giuseppe Castellano
This is a very important title to Italian horror fans. It is, of course, the directorial debut of Dario Argento, and what would be the first film in his ‘animal trilogy’. It was this picture that would start Argento down his path as one of the most popular Italian directors, whose career has spanned more than five decades. Sure, some might frown upon some of Argento’s later films, even from the last couple of decades. But no matter how bad you might consider those films, that doesn’t change the fact that the titles in the early part of his career still are stunning classics and, more importantly, still effective today. As Troy Howarth points out in his commentary that is featured on this new disc from Arrow Video, “His reputation as one of the most influential and imaginative of genre filmmakers can never be taken away from him.” So there you go.
As I mentioned in my earlier report, I had already met Argento years before and gotten a couple of items signed for free. So kept pondering why did I need to do it again, especially since I’d be paying $60g $60 this time? I had brought along my copy of Alan Jones’ book Dario Argento: The Man, The Myths, & the Magic to get signed if I decided to, but was really struggling with it. Lucky for me, that debate was easily decided when a dealer friend of ours graciously offered some extra dealer badges since we hadn’t purchased our tickets yet, which saved us exactly the same amount needed for the Argento signature. So…it was really hard to pass up then since we had just saved that much, right? Funny how fate works out that way.
Granted, the real reason we were here was for our buddy Bryan Martinez to meet the Maestro, since he is not only a fan of Argento’s work, but because this director was a huge influence on him, which would later come out creatively with Bryan’s show The Giallo Room. To say that he was a little excited is a slight understatement. We decided that getting in line right away Friday would be the best bet, since it was early, the line wasn’t that big with maybe a dozen people already in line. Plus, you want to get to Argento early before he gets worn out by all the people coming to see him. I mean, the guy is in his mid-70s after all. Once Argento came down and started, it went pretty quick. I went first and held out my book to him. He paged through it a bit, signed it, then looked up and said “Very good book!” I then sat down next to him for the photo. The guy handling the camera shots was very nice about the whole thing, taking several shots to make sure he got a good one in there. Very different than some of the cattle drives that I’ve seen/heard of before. Argento seemed to be full of spirits and really happy to be there.
Back in the mid to late ’90s, I did something almost on a yearly basis that was one of those stupid things you do when you’re younger…driving from Chicago to New York for a convention, usually in the wintery month of January. I mean, when you have the opportunity to meet genre icons like Lucio Fulci or Paul Naschy, sensibilities tend not to come to the forefront of your thought process. Why pay $200 to $400 for a single plane ticket when I could get a bunch of like-minded horror fans in the car and make the 800+ mile drive there, stay a couple of days, and then make that same trip back. Granted, I was never dumb enough to do it alone, but the first few times we did this, it was in one straight shot. On the way there, we were so pumped full of excitement that the trip didn’t seem that bad. But for some reason the trip back seems sooo much longer. Sure, those long hours in the van were long, tedious, and sometime downright nerve racking. But it was an adventure, to say the least. Now I look back on those days with such fondness. Sure, maybe because I’m not behind the wheel at that moment, but those are still great memories.
Giallo Cinema and Its Folktale Roots: A Critical Study of 10 Films, 1962-1987
By Michael Sevastakis
Published by McFarland, 2016. 240 pages. $39.95.