Deep Red (1975)
Starring: David Hemmings, Daria Nicolodi, Gabriele Lavia
released: 1976 (UK)
Directed by: Dario Argento
A pianist (Hemmings) investigates a number of brutal murders committed by a hatchet-wielding maniac who appears to be killing in order to hide a dark secret from the past….
My favourite Argento film and a real tour-de-force of the director’s skills.
The combination of the choppy editing, camerawork and all-round direction is something special indeed. Once you add in the awesome soundtrack from Goblin, you have a winner.
Argento was clearly at the peak of his powers and directing with more than a generous helping of panache: he laces the story with recurring images of dolls hanging awkwardly from ceilings, crushed mannequin skulls and child-like illustrations of graphic stabbings. These are unsettling and very effective images!
Furthermore, and unusually for many of Deep Red’s latter imitations, the film sets a great pace and keeps you guessing as to the killer’s identity throughout.
The other great touches I enjoyed in the film are:
- the use of the close-ups of the killer’s eyes, particularly in the scene where the killer is hiding in the closet.
- the setting up of a ritual the killer goes through each time a murder is about to take place.
- interjecting the opening credits with a flash-back murder scene.
- the side-story of the troubled pianist Carlo and his battle with his alcoholism/sexuality.
- Hemmings’s performance in the lead role.
- the eventual revelation surrounding the killer’s identity.
all in all, this is Argento’s best movie in my humble opinion. It’s scary, stylish and shocking. If you like this, you may wish to pick up his other works; commonly Suspiria (1977) is given as his masterpiece, so you may want to try that. Personally, I prefer Phenomena (1985).
hotdog rating: 8.5/10