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The Three Mothers (Le Tre madri in Italian) is a trilogy of supernatural horror films by Italian film director Dario Argento. It consists of “Suspiria”, “Inferno” and “The Mother of Tears”. Each film deals with one of the titular “Mothers”, a triumvirate of ancient and evil witches whose powerful magic allows them to manipulate world events on a global scale.

The story of the Three Mothers begins at the dawn of the 11th century, when three sisters created the pernicious art of witchcraft on the coast of the Black Sea. In the years that followed, they wandered the world and amassed great personal wealth and power, leaving only death in their wake. Both Mater Suspiriorum and Tenebrarum have claimed that the Mothers are Death personified.

In the late 19th century the women commissioned E. Varelli, an Italian architect based in London, to design and construct three stately buildings. From these enchanted, bastion-like homes the Three Mothers “rule the world”. According to Varelli’s memoirs, entitled The Three Mothers by an anonymous colleague, the architect learned too late of the women’s evil nature. (At least six copies of the book are known to have existed. Four may have been destroyed at the end of “Inferno”.) The residences he designed will become so corrupted that eventually the land they were built on will become pestilential.

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