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Workers excavating outside of a cemetery in Viterbo, Rome, unearth an urn chained to the coffin of a medieval knight. The urn is later sent to an art museum, where student Sarah Mandy and a friend decide to open it. Big mistake, as it contains a tunic belonging to a centuries old and long dormant witch known as Mater Lachrymarum, aka the Mother of Tears. The artifact restores the Mother's powers, bringing about a wave of murders, suicides and vandalism. As witches from all over the world flock to Mater Lachrymarum's side to witness the second fall of Rome, Sarah learns that her mother was a white witch, and that she herself may be the only one capable of stopping Lachrymarum's evil reign.
The third and final film in a trilogy, following 1977's Suspiria and 1980's Inferno, the film was not well recieved by critics, and harshly criticized by fans for not living up to the standards of its predecessors.
- ...And Show It to You: Giselle has her belly slit open and is then strangled to death with her own intestines.
- Artifact of Doom: Mater Lachrymarum's tunic.
- Big Bad: Mater Lachrymarum
- Bury Your Gays: Marta and her lover.
- Call Back: The history of The Three Mothers is discussed. Suzy Banyon is mentioned, and a copy of Varelli's book from the second film appears.
- The Chosen One: Sarah, by virtue of being one of the last white witches around. Not that it does her a lot of good.
- Curb Stomp Battle: Sarah vs Katerina, Sarah vs Mater Lachrymarum.
- Curiosity Killed the Cast: Giselle
- Dress-Coded for Your Convenience: The Mother's witches
- Dug Too Deep
- Fan Service: The title character spends most of the film either bottomless or completely naked. Also, the lesbian sex scene.
- Gorn: A lot of it.
- The Hecate Sisters: The Three Mothers. Also, the trope's use in mythology is lampshaded.
- Infant Immortality: Subverted at least three times. A mother throws her baby off a bridge for no discernable reason (though narm in the form of a Special Effects Failure keeps it from being too brutal). A posessed woman chops her toddler in half with a kitchen knife, and Michael's son is kidnapped and never heard from again, though arguably the body being eaten by the witches late in the film is his.
- Informed Attribute: Sarah had no idea that her mother was a witch, or that she herself had any dormant powers. Apart from going invisible a couple of times, said powers serve no purpose whatsoever.
- I Am a Humanitarian: "Who wants to eat the girl?"
- Kensington Gore: Sadly averted.
- Monster Misogyny: Certain elements of the film may lend fuel to the fire that Argento has issues with women.
- Noodle Implements: An urn contains artifacts sacred to the Mother of Tears, but except for her tunic, they're forgotten about immediately after the first murder.
- Nothing Can Stop Us Now: Played straight, and almost word for word. Guess what happens the second it's said.
- Papa Wolf: Michael, who goes after the witches on his own when his son is kidnapped. He fails.
- Scenery Porn: Averted in comparison to its predecessors.
- Shout-Out: To Star Wars, oddly enough. Sarah's mother instructing her from beyond the grave has a very "use the force, Luke," feel to it. Also, Helena Markos' haggard appearance being retconned as resulting from a battle with Sarah's mother paralells a simular retcon in Revenge of the Sith.