31 Days Of Horror - Opera (1987)

Also Known As:

  • Terror At The Opera

Some say Opera is Dario Argento's magnum opus. The giallo film depicts a very hectic opening week for the lead actress, Betty (Cristina Marsillach), of an opera version of Macbeth. After opening night she begins to be stalked by a masked murderer who forces her to watch as he brutally slays her friends and coworkers.

Like most giallo films there's an emphasis on the whodunit aspect of the killings as Betty struggles to solve the mystery before she succumbs to the killer's cool-ass spade blade... or an iron... or a jacket hook... or you know, whatever's lying around.

CHANCE:  Coming into a film like this I had big expectations (which is never fair to any film really), so I feel like I have to tamper a bit of my disappointment with a little disclaimer. The film wasn't bad by any means, but I did expect more interesting deaths from the dude who invented that crazy hanging death from Suspiria. As far as fun gore goes I feel like the deaths left a little to be desired, but the killer's obsession with Betty watching each death leads him to attach a row of needles over her eyes that prevents her to blink lest she want to stab her upper eyelids. And man, that was pretty inspired, gnarly and cringe-inducing. What did you think of the spooks, Ben?

BEN:  The death scenes were definitely underwhelming. Not only did they keep cutting away from what could have been showcases for some truly shocking effects, it also usually seemed like Betty and the victims could have gotten out of these situations if they just tried a little harder. It's just one way in which the pacing of the movie was completely off. Any sense of excitement Opera builds up is suddenly stopped cold in its tracks by confusing scenes of Betty being worried about her stalker but not taking some of the most obvious steps to try and protect herself. It gets to be a really frustrating film to sit through.

CHANCE:  I think I generally have to suspend my disbelief a lot when it comes to "why are they not doing X/Y/Z to get out of this situation?" moments in horror films, but you're right. Betty's prophetic dreams were supposedly making her too terrified to confront the problem, but what in the world?

She also continually flees back to the theater which is clearly the worst place to be for her. Anyway, this is maybe getting a bit too nitpicky. Do you feel like we're being a bit unfair to this film? Did the hype blow it?

BEN:  Expecting a movie to live up to Suspiria is a really high bar to set, and I do think about, you know, who are we to question a director who's a pillar of his genre?  When it comes down to it though, this movie didn't grip me, I don't think it gripped you, and I don't think it would have been any different if we didn't know the name Argento going in.  The movie excels so magnificently in the areas where it does shine, that I think even watching it without expectations it would be clear that this movie isn't as tightly crafted as it could have been.

Chance's Rating: 7/10

Ben's Rating:

Movie: 3/5

Scary: 3/5

Creepy: 2/5