By Eric Polk-
By the time Dario Argento got to the movie Deep Red in 1975, he was playing in the genres of comedy(Five Days in Milian) and Italian tv dramas, a bit of a departure from his earlier work which includes his directoral debut with the wonderful Bird with the Crystal Plummage, Cat O'Nine Tails and Four Flies on Grey Velvet. With Deep Red, Argento returned to the giallo with a huge splash.
Music teacher Marcus Daly investigates the violent murder of psychic medium Helga Ulmann which he witnesses in an apartment building. Other major characters are introduced early, including Daly’s gay friend Carlo ), Ulmann’s associate Dr. Giordani and reporter Gianna Brezzi with whom Daly begins an affair.
After his attempt to rescue the medium fails, Daly realises he could have seen the killer’s face among a group of portraits on the wall of the victim’s apartment but is unable to find or recognize it when the police arrive. Later in the film, he also initially overlooks another clue that causes him to discover a mouldering corpse walled up in a derelict house. In typical Argento fashion, one murder leads to a series of others as Daly’s obsession with this vital clue that he fails to understand endangers his life and that of everyone with whom he comes into contact.
With this film, we see the hallmarks of Argento's greatness. The beauty of the scenery. The suspense ripe with haut tension. The blood and other graphic violence superb. Deep Red was influential in a little movie that came out two years later known as Halloween, thus partially being responsible for ushering in the slasher movies own Golden Age.
Next week, we will take a look at what is considered to be not only Argento's, but also one of horror's greatest works of art.