A newspaper reporter and a retired, blind journalist try to solve a series of killings connected to a pharmaceutical company's experimental, top-secret research projects and in so doing, both become targets of the killer.
A young man tries to help a teenage European girl who escaped from a clinic hospital after witnessing the murder of her parents by a serial killer and they try to find the killer before the killer finds them.
A psychic who can read minds picks up the thoughts of a murderer in the audience and soon becomes a victim. An English pianist gets involved in solving the murders, but finds many of his avenues of inquiry cut off by new murders, and he begins to wonder how the murderer can track his movements so closely.Written by
Ed Sutton <email@example.com>
The main female character is played by director Dario Argento's then-partner, Daria Nicolodi - mother of his daughter, Asia (who also later appeared in his films, most notably, 'The Stendahl Syndrome') - who went on to co-write/influence his next two films, which focused on supernatural/witchcraft themes ('Suspira' especially) as she had local (Italian) knowledge of these subjects. In this film, Argento gives her, for the times, an uncharacteristically independent, strong-willed woman role. This is made most clearly in her arm wrestling scene with co-star David Hemmings, in which she consistently "wins" the battle, as well as in the placement of Hemmings at a lower level to her in the dilapidated Fiat 500 she drives, and in the scene where she pulls a young colleague's hair to get his attention. See more »
The wires controlling the bird are visible when it flies into the knitting needle. See more »
The opening credits are interrupted halfway through by a murder scene See more »
A full screen Italian language version with American Subtitles contains the credits scene with David Hemmings reacting to the death of the killer in a pool of blood. The last few frames pause the image finally. See more »
After witnessing the brutal murder of his psychic neighbor (Macha Meril) by person or persons unknown, a British musician in Rome (David Hemmings) obsesses over details of the crime and uncovers a series of clues which lead to further bloodshed and horror.
Released in Italy at 126 minutes, Dario Argento's seminal psycho-thriller was edited down to 105 minutes for European exhibition and further curtailed to 100 minutes for the American market, where it was dismissed by critics as an incoherent mess. In fact, this was Argento's return to the giallo format following a brief - and unlikely - detour into comedy (FIVE DAYS OF MILAN), and the first time he was allowed to 'cut loose' and indulge his unique sensibilities. All the elements of a classic Argento thriller are here: Eccentric characterizations, outlandish plot twists, and a series of Grand Guignol set-pieces that would revolutionize the genre. Using the wide, w-i-d-e screen to create a bold visual tapestry, Argento's film thrives on offbeat sounds and images: The child's song which pre-empts the shocking murders; the heart-stopping moment when Hemmings glimpses Meril at her apartment window as the killer lunges at her from behind (a shot which is both horrific and profoundly humane, all at the same time); the crazy-surreal mannikin which appears from nowhere and 'confronts' a potential victim; and the climactic revelation of the killer's identity as Hemmings finds damning evidence literally staring him in the face. Hemmings is the heart and soul of the entire picture, an innocent abroad whose inquisitive nature fails to mask his essential cowardice, and there are fine supporting performances by Daria Nicolodi, Gabriele Lavia and Clara Calamai in pivotal roles.
The European print which played outside Italy is a tightly-controlled whirlwind of horror and suspense, incorporating character development and violence cut from the American variant. However, the complete Italian version is another matter altogether: Except for the extra material added to Hemmings' search of 'The House of the Screaming Child' (where an important clue is literally concealed in the brickwork), the additional footage simply pads proceedings to breaking point. Whereas the characters were once defined by their experiences, the longer print includes lengthy dialogue exchanges which ramble well beyond their relevance to the plot. Still a masterpiece, the movie works best at 105 minutes, though the flawed Italian edition is no less sumptuous and invigorating.
Sadly, DEEP RED contains one of the most dubious images in Argento's entire filmography: A shot of a lizard impaled on a needle, done for real. This monstrous act of cruelty is inexcusable, given that Argento had hired ace effects technician Carlo Rambaldi, previously responsible for *simulated* animal carnage in Lucio Fulci's A LIZARD IN A WOMAN'S SKIN (1971) which was so realistic, it landed the director in court!
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