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

"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."

-- - Broken Mirrors/Broken Dreams, 1991 - Maitland McDonagh

Date Title Source IMDB DVD Reviews
1969 The Bird with the Crystal Plumage DVD IMDB B
1971 The Cat O'Nine Tails DVD IMDB B
1972 Four Flies on Grey Velvet IMDB
1975 Deep Red/Profondo Rosso DVD IMDB B
1977 Suspiria DVD IMDB A B C D E G H I
1980 Inferno DVD IMDB B
1982 Tenebrae DVD IMDB B
1984 Phenomena DVD IMDB B
1985 Dario Argento's World of Horror DVD IMDB B
1987 Opera DVD IMDB B
1990 Two Evil Eyes DVD IMDB
1993 Trauma VHS IMDB Review
1996 The Stendahl Syndrome DVD IMDB
1998 Phantom of the Opera DVD IMDB B
2001 Sleepless aka Non ho sonno DVD IMDB B
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

Dark Dreams - the films of Dario Argento - "A UK site dedicated to Dario Argento. There are all sorts of cool things within these pages; reviews, filmographies, biographies, interviews, slideshows, video/audio downloads and a forum".

A Fistful of Dario - Extensive site, excellently arranged. Includes a biography and a list of credits. Each film is listed in detail (go to Giallo section), with photos, cast and crew and brief synopsis. Also Video information. Site also contains a large Books, Articles and Links list.

Dario Argento - Master of Colors - Another excellent site with interviews, images, posters, movie info. Well worth a visit.

Art of Darkness, the cinema of Dario Argento edt by Chris Gallant. This is book 2 in FABPRESS Director Series (see Mario Bava for book 3, "The Haunted World of Mario Bava"). 302 pages, many in colour. If it is not available at, try

Broken Mirrors/Broken Dreams by Maitland McDonagh, 1991, 1994. Citadel Press, Carol Publishing Books, NY

Necronomicon Book One, edt by Andy Black, 1996, Creation Books, London

Necronomicon 2 - Jounal of Horror and Erotic Cinema - edt. Andy Black, 1998.