Deep Red (1975)

Genres - Thriller, Mystery  |   Sub-Genres - Giallo, Psychological Thriller  |   Run Time - 127 min.  |   Countries - Italy  |   MPAA Rating - R
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Finally available in a fully uncut version, Dario Argento's Deep Red is a first-rate slasher film and one that would be an inspiration in style, direction, and music for such later films as Halloween and Friday the 13th. As with most of Argento's pictures, the murder sequences prove to be the highlight of Deep Red, but the script for this one is significantly stronger and the actors much better. As John Carpenter later did in Halloween, Argento keeps the body count to a minimum, but more than makes up for the low number by heaping on the style. Each of the murders is perfectly choreographed with particular praise going to Glauco Mauri's killing. In the scene, Mauri stands in his living room holding a knife, awaiting the killer he knows is there. Instead, a menacing puppet comes through a doorway at the shocked man, and that's when the killer strikes, smashing the man's face into several sharp corners before finishing him off with a knife. Another strong image is that of a victim being dispatched by drowning in scalding water (a scene that inspired a similar murder in Halloween II). The cast, led by David Hemmings and Argento regular Daria Nicolodi (who has two children with the director), is very strong, and features some exceptional background characters such as a little girl who likes spearing lizards. Technically, the film is another example of Argento's expertise with cameras, special effects, and sound effects. The director's use of widescreen lensing is exceptional and the film should never be watched unless letterboxed. The final reel wraps the film up in a thrilling manner and features two extremely graphic deaths that leave the viewer stunned as the credits roll. The newly restored version is nearly 30 minutes longer than the previous American tape, but much of the footage is playful dialogue between Hemmings and Nicolodi that only slows the picture down.