Opera (1987)



obsession. murder. madness. See »

A young opperata is stalked by a deranged fan bent on killing the people associated with her to claim her for himself. Full summary »

Genre: Horror,Mystery,Thriller

Opera (1987)
Release Date: 19 December 1987 (Italy)
Country: Italy
Director: Dario Argento
  • Cristina Marsillach
  • Ian Charleson
  • Urbano Barberini
  • Daria Nicolodi
  • Coralina Cataldi-Tassoni
  • Antonella Vitale
  • William McNamara
  • Barbara Cupisti
  • Antonino Iuorio
  • Carola Stagnaro
  • Francesca Cassola
  • Maurizio Garrone
  • Cristina Giachino
  • György Gyõriványi
  • Bjorn Hammer

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34 Responses to Opera (1987)

  1. epa101
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    As a Brit I’ve seen a lot of the video nasties, but this film has scenes that disturb me more than any other film I’ve seen. The odd thing is that it wasn’t a video nasty. In fact, it was passed in 1990 with only 35 seconds of cuts. Apparently the film got more cuts in the USA than it did in the UK, which sounds like a unique claim to me.

    Why was the UK so soft on this film? It’s not one for the squeamish.

  2. Ally-19
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    Anyone know of a good place where I can buy the soundtrack? I know that Anchor Bay released a limited edition of the film including the soundtrack but, according to another reviewer it’s not very good. Apparently there’s a Japanese limited edition DVD which includes all the music; I’m just wondering where I can buy it?

  3. bruceybonus3002
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    Ok the killer grabs her, sticks needles under her eyes, kills her boyfriend infront of her…. she (through some very dodgy editing) quickly escapes and runs into the stage dude, but she doesnt seem to care about what just happened!

    Ugh, what on earth is up with the script of this film…

    ARH!, SHarK!

    (shark attack 3 MEGALODON)

  4. tsheridan02
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  5. marcus_stokes2000
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    I have watched Opera many years ago, but I remember liking it just fine…

    until that freaking second end. The end in the bucholic nature pissed me off, and I remember also being flat out angry that the killer killed Marco (also because I liked him better than Betty… a LOT better) and about the end being too chaotic and boring.

    To me, the movie ends with Marco and Betty alive, with reserve to have Betty killed later.

    Doug Roberts: What do they call it when you kill people?

    The Towering Inferno

  6. Charlie_Foxtrot_Company
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    Did anyone else think that the Inspector was way too young for the part?

    I could be completely wrong because his age is never specified but from the actor’s bio he was 25 at the time of the movie.

    I mean, if he knew Betty’s mother, (its not really clear how long go they would have had their relationship), that would have made him pretty young at that point, assuming many years had past since Betty has grown up old enough to resemble her mother and cause him to be infatuated with her.

    Uggh i dont even know if im explaining this clearly lol. To wrap it up: either

    A) Yes the Inspector was meant to be a young man and engaged in a creepy mother/son relationship with betty’s mom at a young age.

    B) The inspector’s character is supposed to be older than the actual actor himself.

    C) This all happened within recent times so the Inspector’s relationship with Betty’s mother was in effect when Betty was already grown, and he simply shifted down once the mother died. (unable to determine due to lack of sufficient evidence in the film)

    What you guys think??? Sorry if this wasnt as articulate as it was in my head :(

  7. polysicsarebest
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    best argento.

  8. ethan0731
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    ok so i just saw the uncut 107 minute print of Opera (amazing might i add), and i was wondering…what could they have possibly cut out to shorten the film by TWENTY MINUTES??

    it would have not only ruined the plot, but the amazing camera work would have been wasted.

    i am just wondering what the difference is for personal knowledge (and for further hate of censorship).


  9. lonchaney20
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    All I can say is…what the hell!? "I love the flowers!…And the insects!…Go free, little lizard, go free!" I thought Inferno had a dumb enough ending with that "Death! Death!" crap, but that didn’t come close to preparing me for the stupidity of this one. I was willing to deal with the stupid heavy metal music over the murders, but this was just too much. It was very well directed, but it had a horrible story, and a horrible script.

    I really hope Argento brings us another good movie with the upcoming sequel to Inferno. I love most of his films made prior to ‘Opera’, but ‘Opera’ and all that came after really sucked. I hope with ‘The Third Mother’ he brings us a film worthy of ‘Suspiria’ and ‘Inferno’.

  10. ryankent1984
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    There are some excellent scenes in Opera, most notably the Daniele Soave scene and the scene in which the killer is finally revealed, but these are spoiled by some very basic development problems. In particular I am referring to the character of Alma, Betty’s neighbor, who is seen only very briefly in two prior scenes and comes to the rescue later on.

    This is extremely poor writing. For a director who is so often a master of the visual, his writing is shockingly bad. This Alma character is no more than poorly concealed narrative device. I’m not expecting Bergman or anything here but Alma is a very lazy plot device that would have worked if a little more effort was put into establishing who she was to begin with.

  11. movienut666
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    This was passed uncut with a R18+ in 1989 but later banned in 200? for extreme violence. What the hell ?


  12. jamieleefan1
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    Ok, maybe I missed something but what was the significance of the bracelet that was sewn into the dress? Who put it there and why? If it was that important to the killer why did he unceremoniously discard it in the street after retrieving it?

  13. pikemarsillach
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    In this thread I will discuss many of the syncs of other media works with Dario Argento’s Opera (1987):

    Record album syncs with Opera include:

    Stained Class by Judas Priest

    Turbo by Judas Priest


    Restless and Wild/Balls to the Wall by Accept

    Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me by The Cure

    …And Justice For All by Metallica

    The sync start point for Opera is the first appearance of the raven eye at the beginning of the film. The compact discs of the above-mentioned albums should start as the eye flashes onto screen. Let the album repeat on auto repeat with no bonus tracks playing, and then pause the album to start the movie again to keep the sync going.

    Opera is a symbolic chronicle of an American soldier’s tour of duty in Illesheim Bavaria (the same person was a boy of ten in Suspiria – In Viginia). Betty’s apartment is a symbolic representation of an open barracks bay, with Betty’s bedroom playing the role of one corner of this bay, a bay which housed six soldies. Betty’s black costume within which she makes her debut is symbolic of an Army uniform with helmet and weapon. She is sent on a weekend road trip – a mission to haul ammunition actually – and this is the operatic debut itself in the movie.

    Music which this soldier listened to on an expensive stereo he bought in Germany and had on a coffee table next to his bed in the barracks was used extensively as sync material for this movie, including Judas Priest, The Cure, etc…. The stereo next to the bed shows up throughout the film.

    TV Shows that sync with Opera:

    The X-Files

    Movies that sync with Opera:

    Inga (1967)

    Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

    The Vampire Happening (1971)

    The Image (1975)

    Suspiria (1977)

    Natural Born Killers (1994)

  14. pikemarsillach
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    The murders in Opera are not actual murders as much as they are symbols of past events and parts of Betty’s own fractured personality. In fact, Betty is the same person (a male) that Suzy Bannion is in Suspiria, only a decade later in life.

    It helps to think of Betty’s luxury apartment as a military barracks bay; she spends much of her time in her bed in bed next to her stereo, and other parts of her "apartment" seem foreign to her somehow, as though other people live in those other rooms.

    Dario Argento’s movies sync with a wide array of Rock music, as well as Funk (Dario starts the syncs right at the beginning of his films, the flash of the eye in Opera, and the start of a drum roll in Suspiria). There are also standard movies that Opera (and Suspiria) sync with. For example, Opera syncs with a record album by Judas Priest called Priest … Live (as does Suspiria), and Suspiria syncs very well with a Kiss record album entitled Kiss Alive II. Movies like Rosemary’s Baby, The Exorcist, The Image, and The Vampire Happening are sync movies Argento uses which deal with the same subject matter as Argento’s films. These syncs, along with many others reveal Betty to be a male who suffered sexual torture at the hands of his father since birth (even in the womb according to a certain Anne Rice novel entitled Lasher).

    Anyway, large budget films are occult works which relay spy information collected by occult means, all in synchronized symbolic/alchemical fashion. Usually, the sync point in a film is the beginning of the sound score, or it is the first image of the film beyond any film company lead-in. Sometimes it is more creative. The heavy metal music used in Opera and Phenomena are simply music syncs that were deciphered out of other films that Argento’s movies sync with, an intellectual game of sorts among the elite within the industry.

    So, Betty doesn’t respond normally to the murders she witnesses because she didn’t ever witness a murder of any real person. "She herself" simply suffers soul murder; she witnesses her own "murder;" this individual’s father almost dropped him down an abandoned mine shaft in Arizon at age 4, in 1970; he was on the verge of falling off a wood plank his father balance him on before dad changed his mind and grabbed him and yanked him back off it; the kid felt nothing consciously. Memories of sexual torture are lost to this individual via extreme sexual repression, and the vague memories which remain are of the big, square, deep hole in the desert and no significance is placed on this memory because of the lack of conscious trauma (the "loss of trauma," also a "buried trait," is portrayed in the 1975 film entitled The Image). That meat up in the attic in Suspiria symbolizes memories of the first three or so years of a life (Toys In The Attic).

    The reason Betty (or Suzy) is a female character is because the individual Christina Marsillach’s character mirrors is a male who has been trained into a female role of sorts since birth, with his very nature having been molded along "queen" lines (The X-Files episodes sync with Opera and all of the DVD’s of the Simpsons cartoon sync with Suspiria). This has even altered his body to be "beautiful" in the way a woman’s is; behavior alters genetics. A more recent movie entitled Death Proof deals with the same ideas and the same individual.

    Virtually the entire life of this person is mirrored on large budget films, record albums, and books made since 1966, and father prior to 1966 and after. The Scorpions album entitled Virgin Killer is a Suspiria sync album, the original album cover acting as a symbolic mirror image of the fall through the skylight.

  15. pikemarsillach
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    "The precipitant has a smaller place in real existence, thus it is mortal."

  16. emilygracey
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    …does anyone know where I can at least hear the voice over they did for the initial release? I’ve been dying to hear it ever since I heard about it. If anyone could help I’d be grateful! Thanks!

  17. pick_bass
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    Ok i have seen the dub in english and i hate the heavy metal music that plays, its not that its not fun but it removed the scare factor for me and seemed really cheesy, on the original voicings is this music still the same during the death scenes?

    The Good the Bad and the Ugly is the greatest movie ever made…

  18. JustBeOK
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    Is exactly how I felt after sitting through this last night on DVD. I loved Suspiria and Tenebrae and a couple of even earlier Argento films. But this was absolutely awful. No one ounce of characterisation or atmosphere. The set scenes were crudely set up and executed and laughable. The casr were completely wasted with the most dreadful script. The piece with Daria Niccoldi and the main girl in the apartmetn when they were working out whether it was the policeman or the killer inside was dreadful. The so called twist and final chase scene across a hill straight out the Sound of Music was so lame.

    It is now painfully obvious that after Tenebrae Argento completely ran out of any ideas and has just been regurgitating well worn tricks. What is even more sad is the pathetics execution and direction of his tripe. He has really lost it. What on earth poor Ian Charleston must have thought is beyond me.

    There wasn’t one redeeming quality.

  19. rufio_casanova
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    I just got into Argento and I enjoy his films.

    I liked Opera but I was so annoyed by the main character. I see Argento’s films as art, so his interpretation of storytelling and character development may differ with the traditionalists. But that makes him and his films so special.

    But Betty perfected the art of "Doing the opposite of what normal person should do". It got annoying after a while. The teenage Jennifer Connerly from Phenomena was damn smarter than Betty.

    Maybe I didn’t get it. However, I can say that Opera was more enjoyable than Inferno.

  20. WarNerve626
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    There are a few times where she closes her eyes when the pins are underneath. Doesn’t that defeat the purpose of having them if she can close her eyes anyway?

  21. VirginOnPromNight
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  22. pikemarsillach
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    Rosemary’s Baby provided the formula which helped both Suspiria and Opera become lasting horror film impressions which fans like to watch again and again. This story and film made successful use of a horror archetype which can best be described as the strikingly attractive woman of proper social breeding experiencing inexplicable terroristic exploitation. Rosemary’s Baby launched the exploitation genre into popular cinima because of its commercial success. Mia Farrow successfully illuminated the above-mentioned archetype with her own brand of charisma and natural poise. Jessica Harper and Christina Marsillach achieved similar results in their respective lead roles in Suspiria and Opera, thus these two films achieved a degree of artistic illumination which other Argento films lack. Inferno and Phenomena are examples of other Argento films which attempt to make commercial use of this archetype, but the female leads in those films fail to illuminate the archetype and the films then also lack illumination and fail to make much of an impression. Strikingly good looks alone are not enough. Even female leads must have individual charism and personality – even with some negative traits – to spearhead a successful horror film.

  23. pikemarsillach
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    The DVD videos made by Cold Steel Knives are synced with Argento’s Opera. Opera made reference to Cold Steel, Inc by way of the tanto knife used by the stalker in one scene in Opera, and in the manner of use of knives in the film, which is inspired by Cold Steel’s method of video production and public demonstration in displaying their range of knives. Cold steel is a Kevin-inspired company, with many of Cold Steel’s knives representing Kevin on a phallic-symbolic level (as was the Gerber Mark 2 of the vietnam era).

    For example, the video entitled Solid Proof by Cold Steel syncs very intimately with Opera.

  24. Tom-373
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    Can anyone tell me the name of the track & the composer of the piece of music playing during Betty’s flashback/nightmare (during which the camera floats through corridors and spirals down the stairway etc.)? Many thanks!

  25. SunTanBoyee22
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    in response to mondo giallo’s post "how is this rated 3rd best argento film in the IMDB"

    im half way thru this one right now and im hoping it doesnt disappoint. so far i think its so so, maybe the end is better? of course suspiria is the best argento film, and i think tenebre is the 2nd best. but im still looking for the 3rd best… inferno was ok but even though it was the sequel to suspiria i thought it was a little TOO similar. phenomena sucked, and i only got through half of deep red. it was a little slow but im not gonna judge till i finish it.

    1- suspiria

    2- tenebre

    3- ?

  26. Alexander101
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    So I go to Amoeba (Super Music & Movie store) and return "Cannibal Holocaust" which after all the hype turned out to be complete crap and I decide to get "Opera" since I’ve heard great things about Dario Argento, even though the only movie I had seen of his was "The Card Player" which was insanely bad. Anyways took it home, saw it and fell asleep towards the end, it was that *beep* bad. I’m going to give "Susperia" a chance & if that disappoints me; I’m done with Argento.

  27. Mondo_Giallo
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    Having recently seen Opera I am somewhat astonished that it’s average rating is higher than Tenebrae, Bird With The Crystal Plumage and Inferno. This film is not only inferior to those movies but it doesn’t even come close to them. To me Opera, along with Phenomena, marked the start of the decline of Argento; his films previous to those two had been at times sublime, the films afterwards were terrible. I am very sad that things have turned out this way as I love his earlier efforts but it just amazes me that anyone could seriously think that Opera was in the same league as Tenebrae, Bird With The Crystal Plumage or Inferno, let alone superior.

  28. petermoranman
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    All the sound in this movie was flawless…beautiful…except for one thing…

    That crappy rock music they play over two death scenes! It destroyed any of the tension that was built up in the scene before it and made it semi-comical. Argento should recut better music into that scene, because in my opinion, it ruined those scenes.

    "You are the Duke of New York! You are A # 1!"

  29. cyberdan1979
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  30. bigboy15
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    If you guys can help me out, why was the killer torturing betty and making her watch him kill people. I got the part where he once killed her mother. But is there any motive or why he is doing it to betty??? Any help or theories will help.

  31. mackhardy5
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    Which of Argento’s two most famous shots do you prefer? The extended prowling

    "wall crawl" in TENEBRE which covers almost every surface of a building in a single shot, or the dizzying descending "raven cam" in OPERA?

    For me, it’s gotta be the raven cam. One of the greatest single shots in all of movie history.

  32. Anonymous
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    This message has been deleted by the poster

  33. wje9122
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    I would think that if she had closed her eyes uncontrollably, there would be more blood coming from her eyes/eyelids than the needles themselves. Did the killer not clean the needles in order to scare her? If so wouldn’t the blood be all dried up?

    Also, having your eyes open for that long (Seems like 10-20 minutes each time at the most) wouldn’t cause that severe blurry vision/ temporary blindness. Nor would the eyedrops. That made the ‘who is the real detective’ scene a little unrealistic for me.

    Lastly, I loved the look and feel of this movie (the first Argento film I’ve watched) but couldn’t really get in to Deep Red. What other 80s/90s Argento movies are like this in style, esp. cinematography? Thanks.

  34. Japanese Cutlery
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    This site definitely has all the information and facts I wanted concerning this subject and didn’t know who to

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