If you’re anything like me, or at least in my age bracket, then you’ll remember how most VHS releases were cropped, causing you to miss out on the scope of many films. Tape trading was also a huge passion of mine. This was long before you could find just about anything on the internet, it was an exciting way to find films you had only heard stories about. This was how I first discovered Italian horror maestro Dario Argento. As a teenager and young adult, I was more concerned with checking out the excessively bloody death scenes so these 2nd or 3rd generation dubs I was watching always sufficed. As I grew older and wiser, I quickly learned there was far more to Argento’s work than just the gore. He’s an artist with such a unique vision, inspiring thousands of filmmakers around the world with his unparalleled style. One of his last truly great films, OPERA, is finally being released on Blu-Ray by Scorpion Releasing and it looks incredible.
The majority of people who will spring the cash for the disc will most likely be pretty familiar with the movie but in case you don’t know: When the diva star of MACBETH is injured, her understudy Betty (Cristina Marsillach) is given the coveted role. After dealing a bit with her nerves, she takes the stage and owns the role, it’s a huge success. There’s someone out there, watching her from the darkness. This person begins with killing the people closest to her. With each murder, he ties Betty up and tapes needles underneath her eyes, forcing her to keep her eyes open and watch the hideous acts. Police Inspector Alan Santini (Urbano Barberini) is trying his hardest to discover the identity of the killer but will his efforts be too little too late?
Several years ago, Anchor Bay released a pretty great 2-disc version of OPERA on DVD. Until now, it was the best way to watch the film. This new Blu-Ray though will be the version you will want for your collection. It’s a little light on special features though. It does contain three different trailers for the film as well as interviews with Dario Argento and a brand new one with actor William McNamara who talks extensively about his death scene. Rumor has it, later this year, a special features heavy version will be released for the hardcore. The film has never looked better. Over 45 hours were spent on color correction and it most definitely shows. The framing is the best you will find and seeing this version of the film you will clearly see just how brilliant of an artist Argento is. There’s some truly beautiful shots in the picture and now you can appreciate them the way they were originally envisioned. I’ve always loved the use of the different styles of music in the movie. There’s the opera, the standard synth from the legendary Claudio Simonetti, and the metal tracks. All this combine into one of Argento’s finest films and a disc you will most certainly want to add to your collection.