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fcd427_terror_at_opera_3d_pack_side1.jpg Regarded as one of Dario Argento’s last masterpiece horror films, Terror at the Opera is a Hitchockian homage to The Phantom Of The Opera, starring Chariots of Fire actor Ian Charleson, in his final film appearance before his death from AIDS, and Argento’s former real-life partner Daria Nicolodi. Spanish actress Cristina Marsillach plays Betty, a opera singer who gets her big break starring in a production of Verdi’s Macbeth when the lead is forced to pull out following an accident. But Betty’s star turn attracts the obsessive attentions of a sadistic hooded killer who repeatedly bounds her, tapes needles to her eyes, and forces her to watch her colleagues be murdered in horrifying ways. Long before the torture porn antics of Jigsaw in the Saw franchise, Argento’s 1987 eye-wincing horror set the patent for the genre that also pays homage to Michael Powell’s disturbing Peeping Tom. What sets Opera apart, however, is Argento’s ability to create inspired, breathtaking set pieces – the flock of ravens descending on the Parma Opera House being the finest. The film also boasts a brilliant score from Claudio Simonetti, with additional music from Brian Eno and Bill Wyman. The Arrow Video special edition features two edits of the film and three separate audio dubs, including the risible English language ‘Cannes Film Festival dub’ and the Orion approved dub that replaced it. Plus, there’s an exclusive collector’s booklet, Opera by Demonia music video, the six best gore scenes, and trailers. fcd429_stendhal_syndrome_3d_pack_side1.jpg Following the brilliantly conceived Black Cat segment in 1990’s Two Evil Eyes, and the 1993 giallo Trauma, Argento returned in 1996 with the psycho-thriller The Stendhal Syndrome, starring his real-life daughter Asia Argento, now released by Arrow Video. Set on location in Florence and Rome, Asia plays Anna Manni, a detective attached to Rome’s anti-rape unit. Suffering from a rare mental condition in which she experiences blackouts when confronted with great works of art, Anna comes into the murderous sights of a serial rapist (Thomas Kretschmann). But her condition also has a sinister side, as she begins to develop a psychopathic alter ego which manifests when Anna is kidnapped and tortured by her captor. This atmospheric chiller is unsettling to watch, not least because of the violence inflicted on Asia who gives one of her best performances. The fact that Argento implies great art inspires great violence is also a disturbing and challenging one (shades of the Ludovico technique in A Clockwork Orange, perhaps?). But Ennio Morricone’s disturbing score is truly haunting and the film is visually stunning thanks to Fellini favourite, cinematographer Giuseppe Rotunno. Oh, and its great to see the hallowed halls of the Uffizi Gallery in Florence in all their glory. fcd428_cardplayer_3d_pack_side1.jpg In 2004’s The Card Player, Clash of the Titans actor Liam Cunningham plays disgraced Irish cop John Brennan who is sent to Rome to investigate the death of a British tourist at the hands of a serial killer who targets his victims via an online poker game. Inspired by Fritz Lang’s 1930’s thrillers featuring his evil genius Dr Mabuse, The Card Player is a cat-and-mouse detective thriller in which Cunningham’s Brennan teams up with Italian detective Anna Mari (Stefania Rocca in the role originally devised for Asia Argento) to track down the killer. But when the duo are forced to play the game themselves, the stakes are raised higher as the chief of police’s daughter is abducted and a connection is made between Anna and the Card Player. Featuring an innovative score by Claudio Simonetti, The Card Player was a brave step in a different direction for Argento, but one that actually grows on you with age. Although not as Grand Guignol as Opera, it’s still full of Argento’s trademark motifs and looks great in this latest release from Arrow Video. Released 22 March