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Theme Tuesday - Dario Argento - Deep Red

For the month of October, the master of Giallo, Dario Argento, will be my focus, a director whose filmography I have only grazed the surface of.


Deep Red is the film in which Argento comes into his own as a director. His previous films, making up an informal “Animal trilogy,” all were promising, demonstrating Argento’s keen eye for striking images. He gives us some of his most vivid and gorgeous imagery yet with the bright, Technicolor reds and the even more profound blacks. Even if you don’t remember what this film was about, the images stick with you. Deep Red is also the most narratively coherent of Argento’s films so far with the plot working with Hitchcockian precision. While the psychology behind the killer’s motives is just as shaky as it was in Hitchcock’s Psycho, it does not distract from the spirit of the film, which seeks to make the truly horrible fantastical. The gore is definitely excessive, but it’s also over the top and beautifully staged and shot. Seeing Deep Red makes one understand De Palma or Tarantino more who both sought to create vast emotional canvases with violence as the messy medium. Just like in those two directors’ films, this film has no redeeming social value, and it very definitely does not even try to look for one. One of the flaws that persists in this film is that we still don’t care much about the characters. They are more reactive rather than active, and many of them are at the mercy of the mysterious killer. Still, in terms of visual evocativeness, Argento has not really done better than Deep Red.

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