Movie Magazine

Headbanger Movie Review

By Mad Professor Mike

The Stendhal Syndrome

Italy - 1996 (US Release, 1999)

Hello, America! This is Mad Professor Mike with The Headbanger Movie Review! Before empathy became a tag for Star Trek geeks, as in "Captain, I sense the Borg have a collectively wounded inner child," empathy used to refer to the projecting of oneself into a work of art. And Dario Argento, the mad man mastermind behind some of the greatest horror movies ever made, takes that notion and runs with it--runs with it right through your helpless, quivering brain--in his most recent masterpiece to hit US theaters, THE STENDHAL SYNDROME: his best movie since TERROR AT THE OPERA!!

On its most basic level, THE STENDHAL SYNDROME is about a cop from Rome, played by Dario's daughter, Asia, tracking down a sadistic pig of a serial rapist and murderer. But of course, that's not disturbing enough a premise for Dario!! No, Argento has to take the notion of violation and the notion of artistic rapture and apply them to the killer's atrocities. The sense of invasion inflicted by the killer on his victims becomes transposed onto the sense of invasion one feels while swept away by a work of art. How subversive and sick can you get, kids?

Argento's genius is such that he, as a director, can evoke the very sense of empathy that's being used as a weapon in THE STENDHAL SYNDROME and get under your skin to give you the nastiest case of heebie-jeebies you've had in a movie theater in a long freakin' time.

THE STENDHAL SYNDROME is coming uncut stateside courtesy of the good folks at Troma Films. It will play May 12 and 13 at The Castro Theater in San Francisco, and May 15 at the UC Theater in Berkeley. It'll hit LA at the Nu Art June 4th. Listeners elsewhere, keep your eyes peeled for when THE STENDHAL SYNDROME will hit your area... just get the hell out of line for your PHANTOM MENACE tickets and see a flick you can't afford to miss!

On our headbanger scale of 1-4, Dario Argento's THE STENDHAL SYNDROME get four big headbangs!! With The Headbanger Movie Review, I'm Mad Professor Mike for Movie Magazine!

© 1999 - Michael Marano - Air Date: 5/5/99

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