DARIO ARGENTO'S Masterpiece Of Terror - For The First Time Uncut And Uncensored!When beautiful police detective Anna Manni follows the bloody trail of a sophisticated serial murderer/rapist through the streets of Italy,... more » the young woman falls victim to the bizarre "Stendhal Syndrome" - a hallucinatory phenomenon which causes her to lose her mind and memory in the presence of powerful works of art. Trapped in this twilight realm, Anna plunges deeper and deeper into sexual psychosis, until she comes to know the killer's madness more intimately than she ever imagined.Horror maestro Dario Argento (SUSPIRIA, OPERA) reaches new heights of florid fantasy and Grand Guignol with this warped work of art starring Maxim Magazine's "Sexiest Woman in the World" Asia Argento (LAND OF THE DEAD, XXX), Thomas Kretschmann (KING KONG, BLADE II) and Marco Leonardi (FROM DUSK TILL DAWN 3). Previously edited outside of Italy, THE STENDHAL SYNDROME is now presented here in all its grotesque glory, remastered in High Definition under the supervision of cinematographer Giuseppe Rotunno (ALL THAT JAZZ, AMARCORD) from the original Italian 35mm interpositive, and loaded with exclusive new Extras in this 2-Disc Special Edition.« less
Definitely flawed, but worth seeing if you're a fan. 2.5/5
General Zombie | the West | 11/24/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I've seen this movie only once, and only a couple of days ago, but details are becoming vaguer and vaguer in my mind. This is never a good sign. It was watchable, definitely, and it generated a very strong, surreal atmosphere throughout the first half, but it fails to go anywhere terribly interesting, and gets increasingly dull as the film goes along. It's still worth seeing if you're a fan of Dario Argento, but if you aren't there are a helluva lot of others films you need to see first.
The film stars Asia Argento as a detective on the track of a serial rapist/murderer, who becomes the victim said criminal shortly after she is succumbs to the Stendhal Syndrome.(i.e. a strong physical reaction to a piece of art. Fainting is the symptom in her case) There's not much of a plot-arc here, as after the setup it is just sort of a portrait of her life, as she takes a turn for the nutty after her experience, and is again victimized by the still at-large killer. Much of the early film is quite compelling, as Asia lives in a world somewhere between reality in fantasy, where she walks in and out of paintings, accompanied by Ennio Morricone's repetitive and haunting score. However, the more surreal aspects of the film are de-emphasized in the latter portions, and are, sadly, not replaced by increased plot development or action. And, even the effective earlier portions tends to be less effective than his Dario's best work. My problem with the second half is probably heightened by the fact that I stumbled across what happens at the end of the film before actually viewing it. However, this is true of most of the Argento films I've seen, and none of the others have faultered in the latter portions to nearly the same extent. Beyond this, the hints as to the conclusion of the film are so incredibly blatant that I suspect most viewers will have no difficulty figuring it out long before the ending, though I certainly couldn't say for certain.(I'm also perhaps a bit influenced some of the reviews I've read before hand, which said that it started pretty strong but got boring by the second half. But I kinda doubt this effected me too much. There just isn't anything of interest going on in most of the second half of the film.)
Many people have talked about how disturbing the rape-scenes in this film are. Personally I'm not affected by them much. I guess this is because rape is, presumably, most disturbing and painful from a psychological standpoint, and I just can't connect that way. But, lots of people are disturbed by them, so consider yourself warned. This is a different sort of thriller than most of Argento's most famous work, so there is less of an emphasis on the horror set-piece. What this comes down to is that there aren't any really effective horror or violence related scenes in the film. Most horribly, they use some absolutely hideous computer animation for some gore and other visual effects. If you can't afford decent CGI, don't use it, for God's sake!
The acting is a mixed bag, as usual. Asia is acceptable, if not amazing, other than in the scenes where she is supposed to be 'tough' which she can't pull of at all. The rapist is pretty good too, very creepy while still seeming more or less human. No one else in the film is worthy of particular mention.
As many have said, the DVD does look rather crappy, though it isn't quite as bad as I'd imagined considering just how maligned it is.(It's not far off, however) Still, if you're expecting something like the various Anchor Bay releases of Dario Argento's films your gonna be in for a nasty surprise.
Definitely subpar, but with enough effective aspects to make it worth checking out, it you're into this sort of stuff."
Argento's languid thriller will divide fans like never befor
Libretio | 07/17/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
THE STENDHAL SYNDROME [La Sindrome di Stendhal]
(Italy - 1995)
Aspect ratio: 1.66:1 Theatrical soundtrack: Dolby Digital
Quite unlike anything Dario Argento has directed before, THE STENDHAL SYNDROME is a grimly realistic portrait of a female police officer (Asia Argento, essentially miscast) whose encounters with a sadistic rapist/serial killer (Thomas Kretschmann) have devastating consequences. Though distinguished by some truly horrific violence, played straight by Argento with few of his trademark stylistic flourishes, the film is much too languid for its own good, wasting a lot of valuable time on an otherwise laudable attempt to depict the long-term consequences of a vicious sexual assault on the central character. Furthermore, the harsh subject matter allows no room for levity, and the austere scenario is at odds with the sumptuous artwork that acts as a catalyst for the murderous proceedings. Asia's convulsive reactions to works of art (hence the ornate title) makes her a target for Kretschmann's psychopathic killer, allowing Argento to fill the screen with paintings, sculptures and beautiful objet d'art, which offsets the film's own lack of visual flair.
But there's a fierce intelligence underpinning the somewhat predictable scenario: When Asia de-emphasizes her femininity in response to the initial attack, only to re-establish her womanhood after a second assault in which she emerges the victor (or does she?), it becomes easier to forgive the painfully obvious surprises which clog up the final quarter. Only one scene recalls the best of Argento's work: A potential victim being stalked through a dimly lit room full of oversized marble statues, a brilliantly edited sequence which suggests everything and reveals nothing. Overall, "Stendhal" may not be vintage Argento, but it's too clever and too unsettling to be easily dismissed, and it gets under the skin like no other horror film in recent memory. See it and make up your own mind. "
A beautiful piece of artistry. Argento assaults the senses.
Michael R. Smith | Elizabeth, NJ | 10/16/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This movie is definately one of Argento's best. As usual the movie features Argento's masterful camerawork and artistic set design. The movie also features enough scares to satisfy any horror fan. Where this movie truly shines, however, is in it's pschological aspects. It is unberable at times to watch the tortures which Argento puts his daughter Asia through. After an intense first half, the movie shifts it's tone radically. Unbelieveably it becomes more disturbing. If not for a few cheesy cgi effects this would be a perfect movie. Still, if you can sit through it and keep your eyes on the screen, it would be hard to find a more rewarding film experience. Buy this movie today."
Flawed Copy but Interesting Movie
Chris | Australia | 09/26/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This certainly isn't one of Dario's classics, but the presence of Dario's daughter Asia in the central role, certainly raises the quality and interest of the film. She is a solid actor and good fun to watch on screen. Admittedly the plot is somewhat loose in parts, but this is typical of the Dario Argento style, and this movie certainly has the hallmarks of one of his films. There is a fair degree of blood and guts but nothing too torturous to get worked up about. I'd say it's about on par with most of his other efforts in this regard and perhaps a little less confronting. As others have mentioned the quality of the film on this DVD is quite poor. It looks very much like it was filmed on video rather than real film. The colours are washed out and the image is grainy rather than sharp. This is somewhat of an Achilles heel because Dario's movies draw much of their power from their vivid often somewhat surrealistic imagery. When you are watching a diminished copy like this, you just don't notice the cinematography. Hopefully, as others have said, a better copy is still to be released."
Terrible DVD of an impressive film
The Magician | New York, NY | 11/23/2003
(2 out of 5 stars)
"The Stendhal Syndrome is an effective, stylish thriller from horror maestro Dario Argento. The film alone would rate at least 4 (out of 5 stars) but the Troma DVD is pretty appalling. The audio is hissy and the volume low and the picture is incorrectly letterboxed and riddled with digital artifacts. If the DVD weren't bad enough it's made even worse by having a horrible, embarrassing introduction and foolish, faux interviews with Troma president Lloyd Kaufman. A good film is severely cheapened by a poor presentation. A big, fat ZERO for the disc. Hopefully, Blue Undergroud or Anchor Bay or Mondo Macabro will be able to obtain the rights soon and do this film justice."