Today, September 7, is Dario Argento's birthday. For those unaware who he is, Dario Argento is perhaps the greatest Italian horror film director of all-time. Argento was born September 7, 1940, in Rome, the son of producer/executive Salvatore Argento and Brazilian photographer Elda Luxardo. Argento worked as a film critic to several magazines while still in high school, and skipped college to work for the newspaper. Later on, he began screenwriting, and even wrote Sergio Leone's clasc Once Upon a Time in the West. A short while after (in 1970, to be exact), Dario directed his first film, and called The Bird with the Crystal Plumage. From that moment on, the legend was born...
Deep Red 1975
An English pianist witnesses a murder and begins investigating. This is often regarded as Argento's masterpiece, and I must admit, this is the best giallo I have ever seen. It is very stylish, with great cinematography and some very brutal murders. The reveal of the killer is a complete surprise, and the plot is easy to follow. Nearly perfect in every way.
A young woman goes to Germany to attend an illustrious ballet school and finds it may be run by a coven of witches who brutally murder anyone who angers them. Ah, yes...Suspiria. This is the greatest Argento movie he made, and one of the scariest films I have ever seen. While the writing is bad at times, the entire film feels exactly like a nightmare. There's great blends of color lights and cinematography, and really feels like I'm watching something straight out of one of my nightmares. I viewed this by myself, late at night, and it really scared me. And I'm the guy who wasn't that scared when he watched The Exorcist. Great visuals, a terrifying score, and great direction make the film more than incredible.
A man travels to New York to vit his ster, who wrote him a letter saying a witch is in charge of her apartment complex. Like the witches in Suspiria, this witch kills anyone that angers her. As a follow-up to Suspiria I feel Inferno is really good! The score is really good, the acting is also nice, and the use of colors is back and in full force. The film is less scary, but the film is filled with all sorts of eye candy that makes it awesome.
A girl with a telepathic link to insects goes to an all-girls academy and discovers there's a killer murdering beautiful young women. She teams up with a crippled professor (Donald Pleasance!) and his chimp (yeah) to stop whoever it is. The main reason I love this movie is its amount of WTF moments. From the avenging monkey to the swarm of flies assaulting the school, the amount of moments that really come out of nowhere make for high entertainment.
A woman who witnessed the murder of her parents teams up with a reporter to find the killer known as "The Headhunter' who is decapitating people who are or used to be doctors involved in an experiment. While it's not all that bad, Trauma isn't exactly "clasc Argento." I feel the plot is choppy, some of the acting is horrendous (I felt Aa Argento was decent in it, though), and some events are just ridiculous. Brad Dourif and Piper Laurie appear, and Dourif has one of the most ridiculous movie deaths ever. I'd hetantly say it's worth watching, but you won't be enthralled.
Mother of Tears 2007
After an ancient urn is opened, a witch is released and plagues Rome with her evil. It is literally painful for me to talk about this awful, awful excuse for an Argento movie. Even if you look at it like it's not directed by Dario Argento, it's a steaming pile of manure. I mean, where do I start? The events that happen, which is quite posbly the worst sequence of events I have ever seen? The worst acting I have ever seen (even Troll 2 groaned)? It's just a miserable experience to watch, and could be the worst movie I have ever seen in my life. The only reason to buy this is the feeling of joy you get when you place a set of firecrackers on the disc.
There's always been a competition over who is the best Italian horror director: Dario Argento or Lucio Fulci? I personally say it's a tie. Argento's had his ups and downs, and I am actually looking forward to seeing his next spot in the director's chair, Dracula 3D. It also stars his daughter Aa, and I pray to the heavens she's not as bad as she was in *shudder* Mother of Tears. But don't dwell on his flops; concentrate on the amount of awesomeness he has made!
Happy birthday, Dario Argento!