Dario Argento

 

 


                                           "The Italian Hitchcock"
 
"The process of writing and directing drives you to such extremes that it's
natural to feel an affinity with insanity. I approach the madness as
something dangerous and I'm afraid but I also want to go to it, to see
what's there, to embrace it. I don't know why but I am drawn." -Dario
Argento
 
I  remember watching 'Suspiria' with my Brother when I was about 17 and he  was 10. He just wanted to hang
out with me, steal my popcorn and get  to stay up late. What really
ended up happening that night was us BOTH  getting hooked on Dario
Argento movies. Never in my life had I ever seen my brother so scared.
Sometimes I think that the movie was more enjoyable because of his
reactions to the images on the screen. Don't get me wrong, we were both
shocked by what were seeing and but I was the older sister trying to
play it cool, like I wasn't scared too. Poor Clayton couldn't sleep for a week. I on the other hand would rent this amazing film twice more the
same week. Lucky for me, the video store clerk was amused and knew a lot about Horror and was able to fill me in on some of his other movies. He kinda took me under his wing and opened the door to Italian Horror for
me. He would even get movies specifically for me and call me when they
came in. I soon became obsessed with Dario Argento's work, as did my
brother and we would live for the weekends so that we could watch these
movies while Mom and Dad were out. You name it, we watched it. And
usually more than once! Watching all these films with Clayton are some
of the fondest memories I have of him. I wish we could have seen
Argento's newest release 'Giallo' together. He would have loved it!
 
 
I was enthralled with Argento's ability to bring me to edge of my seat
and his ability to always keep me guessing. One thing I really loved
about his movies is that I would think I had figured out who the villain was about 5 times per film only to find I was wrong in the end. The
suspense and creepiness in this master's films was second to none for
me. And of course there is always the violence and gore of which I am a
huge fan. It is hard for me to pick a favorite out of his films as they
seem to always change for me. For instance, today I would have to say my favorite is 'Opera' (aka 'Terror at the Opera'). I remember the first
time I watched it and being absolutely horrified at the prospect of
having needles taped to my eyelids and being forced to watch all the
people around me killed off like the ill-fated Opera Diva. Two weeks ago it was 'The Bird with the Crystal Plumage' and I found myself still
holding my breath even though I had already seen it a dozen times. 3
months ago it was 'Deep Red' (aka 'Profondo Rosso') and that maniacally
laughing mechanical doll still gave me goosebumps.  A month before that, I was totally infatuated with the 'Three Mothers' Trilogy ( 'Suspiria', 'Inferno' and 'Mother of Tears') and prior to that it was a toss-up
between 'Do You Like Hitchcock?' and 'The Stendhal Syndrome' or maybe
even "Phenomena' (aka 'Creepers'). See what I mean? Too hard to choose
just one.  I love this all these films for different reasons and every
time I watch one I find new reasons to appreciate this man's work. I am a huge fan of the bright colors, the lighting, the cinematography, weird
angles, sound and many other of the signature Argento trademarks. Yes
Ladies and Gentleman, when it comes to this man's cinematic genius, I am a total self proclaimed nerd!
 
 
Dario Argento is a director, producer, and screenwriter best known for his
work in the horror genre (and the sub-genre known as Giallo) and for his influence on horror and slasher films. He started his writing career
working for various film journal magazines while still in his teens in
High School. After graduation he took a job as a columnist at the
newspaper 'Paese Sera'. While working for the paper he also began
working as a screenwriter. His most notable work was for Sergio Leone on the spaghetti western classic 'Once Upon A Time In The West'. Soon
after that film's release in 1969 he began work on his directorial debut 'The Bird With the Crystal Plumage' which was released in 1970 and was a huge hit in
Italy.  He then went on to direct' Cat O Nine Tails' in
1971 and 'Four Flies On Grey Velvet' in 1972. These three films would
become known as the 'animal trilogy'. Early in his career he continued
to focus mostly on the Giallo genre but after the animal trilogy, he
turned away from Giallo movies, filming 2 Italian dramas and a period
comedy before turning back to Giallo's with 1975's 'Deep Red', which has been hailed by many critics as the best Giallo ever made. It was also
responsible for giving Argento international fame and has been said to
give other horror directors inspiration to work in the genre.
 
 
Along with scary bedtime stories told to him by his Aunt, he was also
inspired by Ingmar Bergman, The Brothers Grimm, Edgar Allen Poe, and
Hans Christian Anderson. He has always had an intense interest in films, even as a child. Argento always took an interest in all aspects of film making to make sure that the end result was as close to his original
vision for the film as possible. He was one of the first directors to
see the possibilities of the steadicam and lumacrane and used them both
to their full potential. He is known for practicing elaborate use of
camera work, lighting, and musical score. Many of his films main
characters are usually involved in an artistic profession, are usually
English foreigners who witness a violent crime in the beginning of film
and then continue to be threatened by the killer. Many of his later
films star his daughter, Asia Argento. He has a huge reputation as 'The
Italian Hitchcock' and 'Master of the Macabre' because he is willing to
push on screen violence to it's limits. Since 1970 he has directed 20
films, 2 'Masters of Horror' episodes 'Pelts' and 'Jenifer' and is
slated to helm the upcoming 'Dracula 3D' (2011). His work has been
equally praised and condemned by many. It seems that people either love
his films or hate them. Many of his films were very controversial when
first released and while some were major hits, some did not get any type of critical acclaim until years later and some even wish him harm for
the visions he brings to life. I for one hope that we will continue to
be brought to the edges of our seats by this man's work for many years
to come.
 
 
In addition to his work directing films, he has also had some high profile roles as a script consultant/producer on awesome Gore classics such as
George A. Romero's 'Dawn Of The Dead' in 1978 (They also worked together on 1990's 'Two Evil Eyes'), And Lamberto Bava's 'Demons' in 1986 and
'Demons 2' in 1987 as well as writer of Lucio Fulci's posthumously
completed project 'The Wax Mask' in 1997.
 
 As well as all
his film work and a run for political office in
Rome in 1997, He also
has a museum/store called 'Profondo Rosso' in which he has memorabilia
from many Horror, Sci-Fi, and Fantasy movies. In the basement of the
store are many special effect pieces from some of his films. Can you
imagine what that must look like?! This is something that I HAVE to see
before I die!
 
 
 
"Is it wrong to be obsessed with looking at terrible things and sharing them with other people?" -Dario Argento