(director/writer: Dario Argento; cinematographer: Romano Albani; editor: Franco Fraticelli; music: Keith Emerson/Godfrey Salmon; cast: Leigh McCloskey (Mark Elliott), Irene Miracle (Rose Elliott), Eleonora Giorgi (Sara), Daria Nicolodi (Elise Van Adler), Sacha Pitoeff (Kazanian), Leopoldo Mastelloni (Butler), Feodor Chaliapin (Varelli), Alida Valli (Carol), Veronica Lazar (Nurse); Runtime: 103; MPAA Rating: R; producer: Claudio Argento; Anchor Bay (20th Century-Fox); 1980-Italy)

The narrative is incoherent, but the film’s visual richness sustains it.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

The second of a Dario Argento(“Dawn of the Dead”/”Deep Red”/”Giallo”) trilogy is a sequel to “Suspira.” The third film to follow was called “Mother of Tears (2007).” The narrative is incoherent, but the film’s visual richness sustains it.

The cult writer-director begins his weird gothic horror pic in NYC. The young poet Rose (Irene Miracle) has rented a gothic apartment in a mysterious building overlooking Central Park designed by an alchemist named Varelli. Interested in the building’s history, Rose purchases from the crippled bookseller (Sacha Pitoeff) the book the architect wrote, entitled The Three Mothers. From the book she’s made aware that two similar buildings were built in Rome and Frieberg, Germany. The buildings are named after the Mothers of Whispers, Darkness, and Tears, supposedly evil supernatural beings who rule the Earth. Rose seeks help in her research with the impending arrival from Rome of brother Mark Elliott (Leigh McCloskey). Unfortunately for Rose, living in the Manhattan building that’s called the house of Darnkess, she’s soon brutally knifed to death. It’s left to Mark to investigate her murder and deal with all the occult riddles and further murders attached to the building.

Loaded down with illogical subplots and further sunk by bad acting, the pic left me confused. But its weirdness and eerie atmospheric setting still intrigued me. Even if it’s a lesser Argento pic, it’s still as stylish as ever. It relishes showing plenty of rats, a bag of cats, and an underwater chamber stacked with corpses

Famed cult director Mario Bava, who died in 1980, is credited with the FX. Keith Emerson of Emerson, Lake and Palmer did the magical score.