dario argento
photo by Carlo Ontal
Film Threat, 1992
Dario Argento

Links/Further Reading

"Argento's imagery is bizarre, almost surreal; he thrives on aggressively inappropriate juxtapositions. A lightbulb glows until its glass skin is shattered by a straight razor; a puff of smoke and then the darkness. A man's drawn face is reflected in a pool of blood; a young woman reaches into a shallow puddle where her keys have fallen only to see her arm vanish into the water upto her elbow. A woman's shiny red high heel in a boy's screaming mouth, the blue sky above, the white sand below."

- Maitland McDonagh
Broken Mirrors/Broken Dreams, 1991

**DVD - highly recommended, *DVD - worth buying, DVD - available, but . . . .
Date Movie Title USA UK
1969 The Bird with the Crystal Plumage VHS - *DVD VHS - DVD
1971 The Cat O'Nine Tails VHS - *DVD VHS - DVD
1972 Four Flies on Grey Velvet VHS - DVD VHS - DVD
1975 Deep Red/Profondo Rosso VHS - **DVD VHS - DVD
1977 Suspiria VHS - **DVD VHS - DVD
1980 Inferno VHS - *DVD VHS - DVD
1982 Tenebrae VHS - *DVD VHS - DVD
1984 Phenomena VHS - *DVD VHS - DVD
1985 Dario Argento's World of Horror VHS - DVD VHS - DVD
1987 Opera VHS - **DVD VHS - DVD
1990 Two Evil Eyes VHS - DVD VHS - DVD
1993 Trauma VHS - DVD VHS - DVD
1996 The Stendahl Syndrome VHS - *DVD VHS - DVD
1998 Phantom of the Opera VHS - DVD VHS - DVD
2001 Sleepless aka Non ho sonno VHS - DVD VHS - DVD
For a complete filmography go to the IMDB

Born: September 7, 1940, Rome, Italy

Purveyor of stylish horror films who began writing and directing at the age of 24. His distinctive directorial flair and fascination with voyeurism certainly owe a nod to the likes of Alfred Hitchcock, but story development often takes second place to his cinematic flamboyance. After writing screenplays for other Italian directors, including a collaboration with Bernardo Bertolucci for Sergio Leone's ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST, Argento made an impressive directorial debut with THE BIRD WITH THE CRYSTAL PLUMAGE, for which he also wrote the screenplay. About an American writer who witnesses a murder and becomes caught up in the investigation, the film is now considered a precursor to the slasher genre of the 1980s. In CAT O'NINE TAILS, FOUR FLIES ON GREY VELVET and DEEP RED, Argento once again used a murder mystery format to experiment with the limits of the horror genre, employing special effects and music to heighten tension.

While the first two installments of a proposed trilogy, SUSPIRIA and INFERNO, had confusing plot devices, Argento's visual sense nonetheless managed to make the films compelling, even as the story lines became increasingly inconsequential. Once again employing a routine murder mystery plotting device in TENEBRAE, he used the narrative structure as a departure point for a series of visually arresting murder sequences.

Argento's first English-language feature was a European box office success under the title PHENOMENA, which New Line Cinema retitled CREEPERS and edited for US release. The story of a teenager with telepathic abilities who becomes involved in the hunt for a psychotic killer, its sometimes confusing plot was supplanted by an engaging visual style which included eccentric camera angles, slow motion sequences, arresting lighting and energetic editing.

Argento joined forces with cult director George Romero on DAWN OF THE DEAD in several technical capacities, and then directed "The Black Cat" segment in the episodic TWO EVIL EYES. One of Argento's most baroque films came from this period as well, the Italian-made TERROR AT THE OPERA/OPERA. Here he explicitly drew upon Alfred Hitchcock in a technical tour de force which revamped THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (1925). Argento made a rare acting appearance in John Landis' INNOCENT BLOOD before directing his first American feature, TRAUMA, a campy orgy of bloodletting which featured a hooded killer who sawed off the heads of his victims. His daughter Asia played the female lead.
- Baselines Encylopedia of Film/Cinemania, 1996