Deep Red (1975)
Director: Dario Argento
Hot shot pianist Marcus (Hemmings) witnesses a murder and launches his own investigation that leads him in a maze of clues, creepy settings and lots of dead bodies.
Argento puts some blood in the soup. This flick marks Argento first foray into gore and we thank him for it. This film is a fascinating whodunit with enough creepy images to fill in a year worth of bad dreams. Here, Argento sticks to themes that have to do with childhood, a theme that's very prominent in many of his pictures. We get a creepy child song, a doll hanging from the ceiling, violent childish drawings and wait till you see that crazy robot puppet…brrr.
Argento does his "you've seen something but it's not what it seems" trick and it works here again. Amidst all the mayhem there's also a good dose of humor that lightens the grim tone and a strong mystery. My only qualm with the film is that it lags on occasion. But it's worth it when you consider the reward : an original, stylish, creepy, bloody flick with enough plot twists to keep your horror loving butt on your toes. Where's my hatchet?
How do you like your steak, Mr. Argento? Bloody. I saw the un-rated version and it's pretty gruesome. Hatchet attacks, bloody stabbing but my fav is the guy that gets his teeth knocked in on a desk corner…ouch…The boiling water bit is also pretty harsh.
David Hemmings (Marcus) looks like Paul McCartney and is one charming dude. Daria Nicolodi (Gianna) kept me guessing and her bantering with Hemmings is a treat to watch. Gabriele Lavia (Carlo) does great as the drunk but Macha Meril (Helga) is laughable as the psychic…over acting anyone?
T & A
Nothing but Macha Meril looks great….with a hatchet buried in her back….
Argento is a visual genius. I loved the close perspective shots of the killer's belongings, groovy, all of the kill scenes are highly stylized and Argento handles the "normal" scenes with equal panache. One word…wow.
Chilling music by Georgio Gaslini and Goblin and that kid's song is one for the books.
Distributor: Anchor Bay Entertainment
IMAGE: Deep Red is shown in letterboxed, Widescreen 2.35:1 format in a 16x9 transfer for TV .The image here is impeccable and we get to appreciate Argento's visual flair to its fullest.
SOUND: The sound is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 and just like the image, it is flawless. The disc also sports an Italian Dolby Digital 5.1 option and a Dolby Digital, 2.0 option is also on the menu in both English and Italian.
EXTRAS: We don't get a director commentary (why not?) but we get a few other treats.
Interview: We get a pleasant 10-minute featurette with Dario Argento talking about making "Deep Red" and what it means to him. Bernardino Zapponi talks about his writing duties on "Deep Red" and his relationship with Argento. The band "Goblin" also shows up for good measure.
Italian Trailer: The Italian trailer looks sharper than the US one and we can view it with English subtitles.
U.S. Trailer: The U.S. trailer has a poor image but it's still enjoyable.
Overall, this is a must-have for any Argento junkie. It gets my "Arrow" seal of approval.
It's nice to see Argento's first masterpiece in an uncut version. It's the only way to see it. Elegant images, brutal murders, clever whodunit, fantastic score….this is Argento at his best. See it.
Original Italian version is 120 minutes long. Most US versions remove 22 minutes worth of footage, including most graphic violence, all humorous scenes, almost all of the romantic scenes between David Hemmings and Daria Nicolodi and part of the subplot regarding the house of the screaming child.