Though I’m a huge fan of the Giallo sub-genre of Italian film, I’ve spent relatively little time writing about it.Mainly due to the films being intensely plot driven with shocking murder sequences and a lot of times a surprise twist ending.I feel breaking down the plot bit by bit like I have with some of my other reviews would be somewhat pointless.I see it as the equivalent of handing someone a murder mystery by Agatha Christie and telling them weather or not the butler did it right off the bat.
Awhile back I wrote a very in depth review of Dario Argento’s 1982 film Tenebrae.I broke down much of the plot and spoiled the film for anyone who read the review without watching the film first.Although the previously mentioned film I consider my favorite Giallo picture, It’s Argento’s 1975 film Deep Red, that is hailed by many as his definitive Giallo film.Inspiring many American directors such as John Carpenter and Bill Lustig.I feel this film is somewhat of a turning point for the maestro’s work as Italy’s most recognizable horror director.
Much like a lot of Giallo film from around the same time, a lot of familiar elements are all there.The blade wielding black leather gloves,the ordinary person swept up into a murder mystery where the police seem to be at a loss for a solution, and women falling victim and coming to a tragic and shocking end.This particular film however, has somewhat of a unique feel to it.That wasn’t present in Argento’s earlier Giallo releases.
First and foremost, this was the first collaboration with progressive rock group Goblin.The score they provided for the film was upbeat and really flowed with an almost perfect rhythm for each scene.It was also the first time Argento would cast actress Daria Nicolodi as the female lead.On the set of red, They would begin a collaboration in their personal life as well, until their seperation in 1987.She plays a feisty head strong female reporter. Opposite British actor David Hemmings, who plays a frail posh concert pianist.A big part of the enjoyment for this film is the way they play off of one another.The battle of the sexes was never so much fun to watch, as she clearly is the stronger of the two.
The death scenes, which are essential to any Giallo picture.Are creative and definitely set the tone for some of his future pictures that would come out in later years.Choosing to focus on scenes that the audience could relate to such as boiling water give the film that much more of a relatable feeling.It also showcases some of Argento’s camerawork that he would continuously improve upon with each film he released.Wide tracking shots with continuous movement and creative zooms reminiscent of Alfred Hitchcock.Once more, he also showed us the underbelly of Rome, the dark alleyways and shady characters we might not have expected to see.
As his next film would be his magnum opus Suspiria, released two years later in 1977.It’s quite easy to see how this is the film were Argento came into his own unique style that he had first begun to develop on Four Flies On Grey Velvet.Successfully making the transition from Giallo to horror in a smooth and fluid motion.