Dario Argento’s horror masterpiece, the first of what he referred to as his “Three Mothers” Trilogy, is as beautiful as it is haunting. The story of an American ballet student (Jessica Harper) who travels to Germany to attend a prestigious Academy, the film has hidden depths which are soon uncovered. I won’t reveal what’s really going on here, but it is profoundly disturbing. This is quite literally the most gorgeous treatment of ugly imagery ever committed to celluloid, with Argento’s camera (manned by cinematographer Luciano Tovoli) nimbly gliding through Giuseppe Bassan’s astonishing set design. Additionally, Argento and Tovoli paint each frame in bright, lurid greens, blues and reds, making every shot a remarkable one. Argento tells his story in set-piece after bloody set-piece, beginning with what Entertainment Weekly called “the most vicious murder scene ever filmed” (I won’t spoil it, but it comes on early and is a shocker). All scored to a haunting, synthesized soundtrack by Argento and his band The Goblins, this is one of the most effective horror films ever made. Not to be missed! NOTE: An R-rated, 92-minute version exists in America. Argento followed this film with two more: “Inferno” (1980) and “The Mother of Tears” (2007).