Deep Red (1975)
The ten year span from 1975 to 1985, for me represents the height of Argento’s craft. This is not to say he has not done things on either end of this period but this is my favorite period of Argento’s films.
The first Argento film I saw “Deep Red”. I saw it in the late eighties under the title “The Hatchet Murders” on VHS. Though now I know the version I saw was itself butchered, I fell for this film’s stunning atmosphere immediately.
“Suspiria” followed shortly after and that movie just delivered the type of eerie gore soaked pop art which has fascinated me for most of my life. I recall someone referring to the first death in “Suspiria” as being as iconic as the famous shower scene in “Psycho”. And I back this claim a 100 percent.
Fueled by mentions in various horror film guides, I sought a copy of “Inferno” for many years before I actually saw it. Certainly not a movie for the Argento novice, I can not fully express my attraction to this film. That such a flawed non-linear film can keep drawing me back for another pass is a source of amazement. I have wanted to write a piece about it but it just falls apart into a bunch of deliriously colorful fragments. Just like the movie itself.
“Tenebrae” was the first Argento film I owned. I watched it numerous times; marveling at the virtuoso camera work and giallo plot that holds together better than many entries in this most robust of Italian genres. I will be the first to admit that the dialog has wooden moments but I am intrigued everytime I give it a spin. I am waiting for my first DVD copy to come in the post as we speak.
“Phenomena” is probably the third Argento movie I saw. That was when it was released under the title “Creepers”. It was a decent enough movie but nothing that really stuck around too long in my brain. But in the last several years, I had a chance to watch it again. This transitional film feels like a more personal flick in alot of ways. It is full of these shifts in tone and content which work as much as they don’t. While not a great Argento movie, it is a pretty entertaining Italian splatter film. Much like Inferno I have alot to say about this movie. I will be getting my copy real soon!