The Stendhal Syndrome

Weekly Alibi

DIRECTED BY: Dario Argento

REVIEWED: 06-06-97

This is one whacked-out, freaky movie, and you can tattoo that on your ass. Me and the guys popped in this latest from Italian director Dario Argento (Suspiria, Deep Red) the other night, and within a matter of minutes a cacophony of wailing filled the air. I mean, you'da thought dogs were being run through a Cuisinart or something. Asia Argento plays a cop on the trail of a serial rapist/killer (and with that premise in an Argento movie, you know right away you're in for some truly disturbing shit) who receives a tip that the man she's looking for is in an art museum nearby. While in the museum, she suffers from "The Stendhal Syndrome," is spiritually overwhelmed by a piece of art and passes out. Good-looking fella Alfredo comes to her aid--but there's something about the guy. Before long, Asia and the killer are locked in a truly twisted cat-and-mouse game/romance of sorts, and all the psychiatric help in the world doesn't seem to be doing much for our plucky heroine. All the trademark Argento style is on display here (when one victim is shot, the bullet passes through her mouth in ultra-slow motion with us along for the ride), and all five of us manly men were squealing in fearful anticipation of the next bit of unpleasantness. While Stendhal has its goofy moments, it's rare for a horror movie made in the last decade to give me the heebie-jeebies, and this one really whipped up my fight-or-flee instinct. You gotta see it. (Video Search of Miami, P.O. Box 16-1917, Miami, FL 33116; (888) 279-9773)

--Scott Phillips

Other Films by Dario Argento
The Stendahl Syndrome

Film Vault Suggested Links
The Gates of Hell
Night of the Bloody Apes
The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave

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