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Dario Argento's Opera (1987) - Blu-ray Review

5 beersThe Italian giallo, my fiends, was still going strong in the 1980s.  Yes, two decades after its debut, the surreal qualities of the sub-genre were still solidly at play in theaters and also still very popular among cult enthusiasts.  Due to the rise of the slasher in America, though, the sub-genre had to change with more dead bodies, more blood, and more time spent with the killer at large.  Even a master filmmaker like Dario Argento had to make some alterations.  But, as is the case for Opera, those films sometimes benefited from it.

Opera is a latter-day masterpiece when you consider the elaborate staging Argento set up in order to pull off the memorable kills and the fact that it won over audiences in Italy and, eventually, America.  While there’s less mystery in this tale about the yet another cursed production of Macbeth, the atmosphere and the surreal qualities in the giallo are definite pluses and, with this BRAND NEW 2K SCAN from Scorpion Releasing, the film looks better than it has ever looked before thanks to the extensive color corrections done. 

No doubt about it, Argento fans will be pleased to own this Blu-ray.

Written by Argento and Franco Ferrini (both responsible for Phenomena), Opera is about an unorthodox production of Verdi's Macbeth at the Parma Opera House and the deaths that surround it thanks to a mysterious hooded figure constantly lurking in the shadows of the stage.  And it begins when a young understudy named Betty (Cristina Marsillach) gets the chance to play Lady Macbeth after a car accident levels the arrogant (former) star of the show.  Now, it is Betty’s to rule and rule she does.  She slays the critics and the fans, defying her own sense of foreboding and giving a performance worth remembering.

But murder most foul – the first being via a coat rack – overshadows her rising star and a hooded killer actually follows her home, taping needles under her eyes to force her to watch him kill her boyfriend.  Afraid that the killer knows her, she tells her director, Marco (Ian Charleson), and – while Urbano Barberini as Inspector Alan Santini searches for the killer – is forced once again to watch more people die: a wardrobe seamstress, Giulia (Coralina Cataldi-Tassoni), her agent Mira (Daria Nicolodi), Inspector Soavi (Michele Soavi), and more.

Through it all, Argento builds masterful sequences of terror and death harnessing both a masterful control of mood and expectation.  The staging of his kills are full of patience and pay off in spades as the Teatro Regio in Parma, Italy becomes his playground for steadicam murder.  Everything here works to create a tense atmosphere and kills that haunt the senses for years after seen.  To this day, I am still haunted by the overpowering of Betty and the needles taped under her eyes.  Ouch.  Ouch.  Ouch. 

While we might be able to guess the identity of the killer far before the big reveal, Opera is a solid Italian giallo with kill scenes – including the famous peephole murder as a bullet plows through it in slow motion and enters the victim’s eye – that are hard to shake off. 

Opera and its bloody screams are worth hearing again and again thanks to Scorpion Releasing’s brilliant new 2K restoration for this dynamic Blu-ray release.


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Dario Argento's Opera (1987) - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: R.
107 mins
: Dario Argento
Dario Argento
Cristina Marsillach, Ian Charleson, Urbano Barberini
: Horror | Thriller
A chilling blend of American Graffiti and Psycho.
Memorable Movie Quote: "You bastard! Son of a bitch! You're not going to get me! You're not! I'll kill you!"
Theatrical Distributor:
obsession. murder. madness.
Official Site:
Release Date:
January 1, 1991
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
January 23, 2018
Synopsis: When a young opera singer takes over the leading role in an avant-garde presentation of Verdi’s Macbeth, she triggers the madness of a crazed fan who repeatedly forces the diva to watch the brutal murders of her friends. Will the woman’s recurring nightmare hold the key to the identity of this psychopath or does an even more horrific evil lay waiting in the wings?


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Dario Argento's Opera (1987) - Blu-ray Review


Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Scorpion Releasing
Available on Blu-ray
- January 23, 2018
Screen Formats: 2.35:1
: None
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

Scorpion Releasing presents Opera’s brand new 2K scan on 1080p with a 2.35:1 aspect ratio and a NEW English 5.1 Soundtrack.  With over 45 hours of color corrections completed on the transfer, Opera is a true work of art.  Colors and shadows are deep, dynamic, and layered.  There is a depth to some of the sequences that truly showcase Argento’s strengths that are finally revealed thanks to the attention to detail in the brand new restoration.  Black levels are detailed.  Textures are refined and the surreal quality is made magnificent by the work done here.



  • None

Special Features:

Scorpion Releasing supplies this release with an interview with Argento that has never before been seen here in the United States.  Also included is a new interview with the film’s star William McNamara.  The original Trailer is also included.

  • Dario Argento Interview
  • William McNamara Interview
  • Original Trailer


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Dario Argento's Opera (1987) - Blu-ray Review