Considered by many to be Dario Argento's first masterpiece, Deep Red recalls his first hit, The Bird with the Crystal Plumage. British star David Hemmings (Blow-Up) plays an American jazz pianist who witnesses a brutal, bl... more »oody murder from afar and turns detective to find the killer. Kooky Italian journalist Daria Nicolodi (Argento's wife and cowriter on Suspiria) joins him as comic relief and tepid romantic interest, but the real costar is Argento's high style: gliding camera, razor-sharp editing, and gorgeous but gruesome set pieces. The story is convoluted, to say the least--plotting was never Argento's strong suit and the unnecessary exposition often drags the film down--but his vivid, horrific imagery is perfect for a thriller driven by haunting memories. Deep Red was originally released in the U.S. in a severely cut version retitled The Hatchet Murders (odd since the killer uses a butcher's knife). Producer Bill Lustig has restored the film to its original two-hour-plus running time, though some scenes exist only with Italian-language soundtracks (which are subtitled). It's a bit jarring at first (it makes for an unintended joke when a man suddenly checks his hearing aid after a language switch), but it's the only way to see Argento's original cut. There's also a brief 25th anniversary documentary with Argento and cowriter Bernardino Zapponi, and the DVD offers a choice of English and Italian language versions. --Sean Axmaker« less
""Deep Red" is without a doubt Dario Argento's masterpiece. With a very clear (for Argento) storyline, absolutely dazzling camerawork and an unforgettable score by Goblin (which is bound to sound incredible in 5.1), "Deep Red" is a must for the horror aficionado, especially those with an interest in films that are historically relevant. "Deep Red" is the "Psycho" of Italian cinema. Back in 1975, when it came out, graphic gore was mostly relegated to ultra low-budget movies where carnage was the only point of the movie. With "Deep Red", Argento took gore in a completely new direction, mixing it with classy cinematography and a complex story, and unleashing it upon unsuspecting stars of the Italian stage and screen, people so prestigious in their own way you would never expect them to get it the way they do in a movie. The uncut widescreen version of this film, which has been long overdue in America, will reveal to those who have only seen it in pan-and-scan form the artistry and complexity of Argento's Technovision images. The previously unreleased footage, which I have seen and which was truncated from the version that has been in circulation in this country for decades, adds depth to the characters and the story. In my opinion, you should preferably watch this in Italian with English subtitles -- the English dubbing is atrocious and the Italian original is far more poetic-sounding and apropriate to the story and, besides, Anchor Bay is releasing the added footage in Italian because there is no English dub of those scenes, so you might as well watch it all in its original language. At any rate, this is a must for everyone who appreciates good scary movies, for anyone with an eye for truly spectacular filmmaking and especially for anyone who thinks European movies means Truffaut. An absolute must-have!"
An amazing movie
Charles Christopher | Austin, TX United States | 04/06/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Unlike many who have posted here, I HAVE seen the full 126minute version of Deep Red, on a badly copied conversion inpan-and-scan - and let me tell you, even in this form it was still one of the most exciting movies I think I've ever seen. Although a couple of decades of film has probably blunted the shock and gore elements, and all those character moments might make it seem slow, I promise you that this movie will freak you in ways few horror movies will. Dario Argento's reputation rests entirely on this film and Suspiria, but this one is the superior. All the best elements of his previous films are combined here - the protagonist who's seen something important he can't identify, killers with a fetish for black gloves, vague hints of the supernatural, gender transgression..... and of coursre the gore. Believe me, you'll think twice about checking the door locks after dark when you see what happens to Helga the psychic. Argento was never this suspenseful again, probably because Mark (the protagonist), like the audience, knows he has to solve the mystery before the killer will ever leave him alone. The DVD release of DEEP RED is a real event, and Goblin's score presented in Dolby Digital would be worth it all by itself! I can't wait until release day..........."
Where Death holds Full Dominion
Dark Mechanicus JSG | Fortified Bunker, USSA | 02/01/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Let's talk about fear for a moment, shall we? Come, sit with me here on this cold bench, beneath the white, buzzing, utilitarian fluourescents---there's no one in this entire building tonight, so we'll have plenty of time to talk.
I don't mean the giddy, cozy shivers you get that makes you want to watch the cheap and banal slasher flick through your fingers, giggling like a fool the whole time. No, I mean Fear: Fear that comes floating into your brain at 3 in the morning, as you lie in your suddenly cold and vast bed, listening to the house creak and groan, wondering---well, God, it's silly, but still---didn't that creak, that shifting floorboard you heard just now, close to your bedroom door---well didn't it sound just a little too *stealthy*?
The fear that creeps over you and brands your naked back with a flotilla of goosebumps while you're taking that early morning shower, the outdoor blackness pressed close up to the house windows: the conviction that when the water and your fumbling hands wipe away the soap and lather, someone---something---else will have joined you in the shower. Something that wants to play and giggle and roll in your blood.
Yes. Now we're talking Fear, aren't we? Now you're with me: good.
"Deep Red" (the Italian 'Profondo Rosso') is Italian Grandmaster of Horror Dario Argento's masterwork of sick, revulsive, shudder-inducing Fear: it is gorgeous, jaw-dropping, ambitiously brutal, leeringly primal, as if Argento had furiously shoved a syringe straight into the pulsing, fevered brain of a serial killer, and drained the nightmares out of the creature's gibbering mind.
"Deep Red" is Nightmare made Flesh, and Flesh made Film.
American jazz musician Marcus Daly (the late, incomparable David Hemmings)is working in Rome: he composes, performs, dallies, drinks, and engages in bibulous battinage with sexually confused, angst-ridden friend Carlo (Gabriele Lavia, channeling a little of Fellini's "Satyricon" for our amusement).
All of this is brought to a halt when Daly witnesses a woman---a Ukrainian psychic (Macha Meril, insanely overracting---and oddly, it works)---slaughtered in her home by a black-gloved maniac, butchered like a pig or a cow. He witnesses this rapine from a Roman courtyard, and arrives to late to save her---but soon enough to glimpse a portrait, forgotten in the insanity of theo moment, but recalled after events lose their immediacy and begin to gel.
Oh---and after the Maniac demonstrates its interest in Marcus Daly. It enters his Roman apartment, while he composes on his piano; he is saved by noting those stealthy noises typically heard by nervous insomniacs at 3 in the morning, and watching a long shadow fall across the threshold of his study. He manages to leap up and close the study door, even as the Thing whispers its hellish ambitions through impenetrable wood.
Argento is a wizard. He conjures up his necromantic magic through high style: watch the camera in the opening sequences, as it arcs down like a vicious, hungry bird of prey over the audience, summoned to hear the psychic: watch as it glimpses the Killer in a dingy, begrimed, fog-sooted restroom mirror; recoil as it follows---faithfully,like a staid documentarian---the brutal slaughter of a girl in an isolated country cottage, her death prescribed by immersion in boiling water.
Or, for sheer gut-clenching shrill terror, try out the lonely death of Professor Giordani (Glauco Mauri), who dies a dog's death, death too easily imagined by those who have fallen against a sharp surface---a death pilloried, lampooned, by the twisted, robotic, dwarf creature that enters through the Professor's study door (anticipating, and doubtless inspiring, James Wan's nightmarish tricycle puppet in "Saw").
"Deep Red" is undeniably Argento's dark lodestone, a treasure gleaming and glimmering and seducing the unwary in the darkness, a brilliant accomplishment he rarely approached, even as his capacity for the craft grew. "Suspiria", perhaps, is as close as the Master came to this dark, poisonous, armor-piercing bullet of pure horror.
The delirious, dark delight of "Deep Red" is the intense, nearly sexual beauty, and intensity, of death and its Soldiers: the remastered deluxe edition merely underscores a movie astonishingly vivid in color and brutally ambitious in scope. From the moment the blood-red velvet opera-house curtains are parted, through the night-haunted cobblestones of haunted modern Rome, "Deep Red" is murderous---and glorious in its bloodthirsty frenzy.
Evil is whispering on the other side of the door. Escape---or talk to it. Flee the madness, or engage it: this is Argento's legacy in "Deep Red". Tremble.
Charles Christopher | 02/24/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is one of Argento's most brilliant films, and needs to be viewed in widescreen for its full impact. David Hemmings witnesses the gruesome murder of a medium who has previously sensed the presence of a psychopath at one of her sessions. Later on, like many a typical Argento hero, he thinks he has seen an important clue to the murder, but can't quite put his finger on what it is. There are further murders - a particularly nasty business involving someone's teeth, and a horrible scalding which leaves another clue. The trail eventually leads to a spooky old house, a deserted school and an extraordinary final showdown with the killer. The gruesome set-pieces are quite spectacular, the plot will keep you guessing, and the entire film is a splendid bravura example of Italian "giallo" cinema at its finest, with a great soundtrack by Goblin. I can't wait to see it on DVD."
Stanley Runk | Camp North Pines | 10/24/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Deep Red-Dario Argento's masterpiece. Though it's not my personal favorite of his, I can really see why it's regarded at his best. Deep Red is a 2+ hour giallo epic. Argento has found his style now , so you can imagine the look and sound of this film(it was the first to use Goblin's music). It's not quite as wild, colorful and violent as Suspiria, but I really wouldn't suggest watching it on a first date. We got an English pianist living in Rome who's only friends seem to be another pianist and his mother(the prototype for the whole "engineer" joke that runs throughout Michele Soavi's Cemetery Man). He witnesses a gruesome murder by a guy in a hat and raincoat(of course), becomes obsessed and launches his own investigation(of course), and winds up pursued by the killer himself(of course). I still can't get over how Argento can keep using this plotline and give it enough twists and turns so that it never once seems tired or repetitive. It's all in the storytelling, people! Anchor Bay has done their best to restore this film. The picture is fantastic, but some of the english dialogue couldn't be saved, so be prepared to be reading subtitles practically midsentence when a character is speaking. You'll get used to this very fast though. I could say more, but if you're an Argento fan(which most likely you are), I'd just be preaching to the converted. If you're wondering, "what's the big deal with this Dario guy?", then Deep Red and Suspiria would both be excellent starting points for you. You don't like either of those, then Argento's probably not your bag, baby."