The Stendhal Syndrome: Dario Argento’s controversial thriller comes to Blu-ray in a 3 disc set from Blue Underground
Dario Argento’s next project could be a documentary about lawn bowling and not only would we watch it, we’d give him a pass. Why? Because Dario Argento is Dario Argento. This is the man who grabbed horror by the throat in the 1970s, gripping it firmly with his black leather-gloved hands and choking it into screaming submission. This is the man who made the word giallo a household name, who gave us such iconic pictures as Deep Red, Inferno. Tenebre, Phenomena and of course, his landmark 1977 style meltdown, Suspiria, one of the greatest — or maybe the greatest full stop — sensorial horror films ever made.
Indeed, the Italian filmmaker has hit the mark and made horror history so many times that one must forgive his many trespasses. And in the last two decades, sweet merciful monkeybone has there been a plethora of trespasses! Films like Sleepless, Mother of Tears, Giallo and (gulp) Dracula 3D are tepid examples of the man’s talents and a far cry from his elemental vision. But so what? His epitaph was secured long ago and anything else he makes still has moments of pure cinema, moments where the master truly shines through.
When it comes to his last truly great movie, that might be 1987’s Opera, but a case can also be made for 1996’s The Stendhal Syndrome, one of the master’s most brutal efforts and most controversial. Controversial because Argento put his then young daughter Asia Argento through the ringer from hell in her leading role, subjecting her to rape, explicit nude scenes, beatings and worse. If you can get past that, the movie that frames these unsavory scenes is really stylish and always interesting. And man, is Ennio Morricone’s score good!
The ever-lovely Asia stars as Anna, a detective in Rome who is slave to the titular condition, which causes her to trance out while in the presence of fine works of art. It is indeed a real deal syndrome. While tracking a brutal sex killer, she falls prey to the syndrome and is brutally sexually assaulted by the murderer. Later, the killer now dead, Anna suffers trauma and is seemingly stalked by the apparently-deceased murderer. When the bodies pile up, Anna thinks she might be losing her marbles. And she might be. Or maybe not. We’ll never tell. Just watch the movie!
Today, our pals at Blue Underground announced that they will be releasing The Stendhal Syndrome in a 3-disc limited edition (only 3000 units pressed) with a new 2K restoration struck from the totally uncut negative and presented for the first time ever in its original 1:85:1 ratio. Extras are plentiful (and many of the interviews are new).
The Stendhal Syndrome will be released on July 25th, but you can pre-order yours on June 22 from Blue Underground.