Director: Dario Argento
Cast: David Hemmings, Daria Nicolodi, Gabriele Lavia
Review by Brian M. Sammons
Arrow Video from over in the UK has been going on an Italian Horror tear lately. If you are a fan of creepy cinema from the land of creamy cannoli, Arrow is fast becoming your one stop shop. Their latest tasty treat is perhaps Dario Argento’s best giallo murder mystery movie, the legendary Deep Red.
The story, well like most of Argento’s films, is admittedly kind of weird. However you don’t watch one of Dario’s flicks for the story. No you’re there for the experience and trust me; Deep Red is one hell of a ride. This time out we have a German lady psychic who, while giving a lecture in a packed auditorium, says that she has just read the mind of someone in the crowd, someone who’s sick, who has killed before, and will kill again. Unfortunately she can’t tell whose mind she read. What’s really unfortunate for her is that the black gloved killer believes the psychic and takes a meat cleaver to her in short order.
Enter our heroes, out to solve the crime and stop the deranged killer before any more lives are lost. You have an English musician who witnessed the psychic’s murder first hand and is the new target of the killer, for he might have seen more than he knows. He teams up with a pretty and feisty female reporter to unravel the very twisted mystery behind the killer’s identity. Along the way there are several of Argento’s trademark murders that are beautiful in their brutality and gorgeous in their grotesqueness.
Deep Red was the movie right before Argento’s cinematic masterpiece, Susperia and it is obvious that the man was at the top of his game during this time. Very few filmmakers can hold a candle to Argento when it comes to visual storytelling and setting up memorable scenes that will stay with you for a long time.
I won’t say too much more about the story because I don’t want to spoil any of the surprises, and baby, there are surprises aplenty here. Not to mention, more than a few WTF moments. Case in point, when you see the creepy little doll, you’ll know exactly what I mean. Once again, this movie is an experience and words just won’t do it justice. Take my word for it, if you’ve never seen Deep Red then you’ve missed one of the great horror films of all time.
Luckily for all of us, Arrow Video has releases a great two disc set for this seminal film. Disc one has the Director’s cut of the film along with a couple of nice extras. There are the usual trailers, but in addition to those are three featurettes of note. There’s a 20 minute interview with actress Daria Nicolodi about her experience making Deep Red and Dario Argento films in general, a 15 minute doc on composer Claudio Simonetti of awesome Goblin fame who did the soundtrack for this and many other Argento films, and a 12 minute conversation with the maestro himself about his various film, Deep Red and otherwise. There is also an audio commentary track with Argento expert, Thomas Rostock.
Disc two has the international theatrical cut of the film and a short featurette on a groovy shop/museum devoted to all things horror. It’s called, appropriately enough, Profondo Rosso (Deep Red) and run by filmmaker and longtime Argento collaborator, Luigi Cozzi in Rome. But not only do you get two versions of the movie in this one package, but it is also stuffed with Arrow Video’s usual excellent extras and goodies. The BD sleeve art is reversible; giving you four cover options to choose from. There is a double-sided, fold-out wall poster. Last but not least, there’s a seven page collector’s booklet all about the film. As I always say, it’s these little things that really set Arrow Video’s releases above the rest.
This film is easy to recommend to all horror fans, just as this Blu-ray set is easy to recommend to all Deep Red fans. Do yourself a huge favor, get this flick and experience some amazing Argento weirdness firsthand. Even if you live outside the UK, pay the little extra for the shipping to get this Arrow release. You’ll be happy you did.