Confused Views: Right in the eyes!

Matt loves classic 70s and 80s Italian horror movies, but finds they have a nasty tendency to play on his worst eye-gouging fears...

Zombi 2

Before we get going, a quick warning. I’ll be talking about the film Inferno and if you haven’t seen it, sort-of spoilers lie ahead. Also, and perhaps more seriously, I’ll be using some potentially offensive terms, such as recto-bollocking and pelvic inference. You have been warned.

Urgh, don’t touch my eyes!

Something that I have in common with most normal people is that I don’t like things touching my eyes. However, where I tend to leave normal folks behind is that I, on occasion, will lose sleep worrying about something happening to my beloved eyeballs. My brain has turned against me and, against my will, I can spend sleepless hours at night imagining pointy pokey things making an unwelcome intrusion into my vision-bulbs.

It’s to the extent that, if I find myself stuck in conversation with somebody dull, I start eyeing up the room for potential dangers. I am always able to orchestrate some kind of implausible catastrophe.

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I’m able to facilitate almost any challenge that a sparely decorated or very safe room throws at me. If just losing my balance, having my glasses fall off and then rupturing my goggle-balls on a table corner won’t do, I can work around it. We’re talking thrown syringes, careless key juggling gone awry, sneezing whilst adjusting my glasses and the classic lightsaber fight with accidental gouging and dislodging.

Although all of this unwanted thought action of aggressive cornea puncturing could probably be traced back to my childhood (I wasn’t able to watch the eye removal scene from Terminator until I was well into my teens), I can’t help but feel that this whole thing stems from seeing Zombi 2 too many times. You know, because of the scene with the piece of splintery wood and… no, I can’t relive it. See it, you’ll understand.

Of course, I am aware that the chances of any of these things happening are very low. A more likely optical occurrence would be my optician taking advantage of me by strapping me to his chair, stuffing Twix fingers into my facial orifices and repeatedly teabagging me in the eyes for about 40 minutes while screaming, “Can you see these? Can you?” before making me read out an eye chart that spells out “How do my balls feel?”

My optician is a lovely chap, so this kind of enforced eye trauma is basically impossible, but it’s still more likely than any of the other ridiculous suggestions.

Still, at least if my eyes were destroyed, perhaps by way of a squirrel attack in an otherwise peaceful park (look at their faces – they’re not to be trusted!), I’ll have seen Inferno on Blu-ray before it happened. That’s the Italian horror film from the 80s that was directed by Dario Argento as the second part of his Three Mothers trilogy (the others being the excellent Suspiria and the not excellent Mother Of Tears), which has had its first ever DVD release this week, along with a matching Blu-ray issue.

What a Blu-ray it is, too. This might not make sense to you if you haven’t seen the film but, by the power of Grayskull, the colours in this thing look incredible. Inferno is a visually engaging film and this new release does a splendid job of presenting everything in as bright and detailed a way as you might have hoped.

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I am aware that many of the sites younger readers, drawn in by my understanding of youth slangs like LOL (Little Or Large), FTW (Frowin’ The Wellies) and brrrapppp, won’t have seen Inferno and might, therefore, find themselves a little lost by this piece.

To put it into terms you’ll understand, Inferno is like Twilight, but instead of vampires, it’s a witch and instead of being tatty nonsense of no value, it’s a visually striking masterclass in tension and atmosphere. Incidentally, my t-shirt says ‘Team Death’. Brrrrapppp.

Inferno strikes the balance that Argento achieved in Suspiria. It’s Euro-cine art-house meets back alley gore-core. The film is presented to appear dreamlike, with vivid, unreal colours, which allows characters to find watery caverns beneath bookshops and retired authors to hide away in lavish apartment buildings that are inhabited by the spirit of death. However, this dream-state features wobbly chunks of human flesh and litres of red paint blood. It’s perfect, in other words.

There are some questions that plagued mankind since the dawn of time. Why are we here? Is there a God? Inferno does not address these questions, but it poses its own question that should be regarded with equal importance. Which is worse: to be eaten alive by hundreds of hungry rats or beheaded by a blade-wielding hotdog seller? It also offers us a chance to enjoy both happening to someone at the same time.

This is the first copy of Inferno that I’ve owned, although it’s not the first time that I’ve seen the film. (I’d previously seen it on TV and was also lucky enough to see it as part of cinema screening of the entire Three Mothers trilogy.) I’d been holding off, having seen it already, from buying an import DVD, as I figured a UK release was bound to come along eventually.

After many years of waiting, that release has finally come along as a Blu-ray and I feel slightly spoiled. It’s a really great time to be a fan of the Italian horror films of the 70s and 80s. So many films are getting decent DVD and even high definition releases. I was able to walk into my local HMV this year and buy City Of The Living Dead on Blu-ray. It’s madness.

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Has anyone seen the Lucio Fulci sleaze fest that is New York Ripper? New York Ripper is a nasty little film, but one that features a villain who disguises his identity using a Donald Duck voice, which actually seems like a pleasant way to make a threat. I imagine that a villain who put on a Donald Duck voice would commit crimes involving strategically placed banana peels, not bondage sex murders.

New York Ripper is a film that feels so dirty you’ll expect to have to scrub its residue from under your fingernails after watching it. And now that you can get a clear looking uncut Blu-ray from America which isn’t region coded, it’s even seedier!

It’s cause for celebration. Inferno on Blu-ray! New York Ripper on Blu-ray! Suspiria on Blu-ray! All I need now is Zombi 2 on Blu-ray and I’ll be set. Now that would be worth protecting your peepers for. In fact, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to find some safety goggles. Y’know, just in case.