Sunday night I sat through the 30th anniversary screening of DEEP RED at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood — part of the American Cinematheque’s annual Festival of Fantasy, Horror & Science Fiction Films.
If you’re a horror fan who’s never seen this movie, you really should make the effort to track it down on video or DVD. It’s a 1975 “giallo” thriller from Italian director Dario Argento, whom John Carpenter cited as a major influence; in fact, many elements of HALLOWEEN can be seen in DEEP RED, including the title music and the use of the hand-held moving camera to represent the point-of-view of the unseen killer.
(In case you don’t know, “giallo” is the Italian word for “yellow.” It came to be used to signify violent psycho-thrillers, apparently because murder-mystery books in Italy were printed on cheap paper that turned yellow with age.)
Unfortunately, the print screened was a truncated version with the cheesy title HATCHET MURDERS tacked on (the same print the Cinematheque showed ten years ago for an Argento retrospective). It was a little faded and beat up; nevertheless, it was fun to see the film again on a big screen with an appreciative audience.
Of all of Argento’s films, this is the one that went through the most re-editing before being distributed internationally. For a rundown of the various versions (including a look at the extra footage on Anchor Bay’s 2000 “director’s cut” DVD) check our our review on the main Hollywood Gothique website.
By the way, director Dario Argento is the father of actress Asia Argento, most recently seen in George Romero’s LAND OF THE DEAD. This is not a complete coincidence. Dario helped Romero get partial financing for the 1979 version of DAWN OF THE DEAD, in exchange for European distribution rights. Dario also had his favorite rock band, Goblin (who scored DEEP RED) provide music for DAWN.