THE EVENING IS BROUGHT TO YOU BY GUY ASTIC,
DIRECTOR OF ÉDITIONS ROUGE PROFOND, WHO RECENTLY PUBLISHED THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF DARIO ARGENTO ENTITLED FEAR.
The first in the “Three Mothers” witch trilogy, “Suspiria” (followed by “Inferno” and “The Mother of Tears”), whisks us onto the dance floor of a ballet academy for a hellish spin in the arms of Evil at the epitome of cruelty and perversion. For Olivier Père, “Dario Argento unveils his gory take of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs on acid, or more precisely, a bloody tale with surrealistic lighting and paroxysmal scenes of violence, bringing strangely to mind a convoluted cross between the Grand Guignol and a Voodoo transe. The filmmaker’s deliberate decision to break away from narrative logic, coupled with the unprecedented aggressiveness of the film’s images, puts “Suspiria” down in the record books as being one of the closest resemblances to a nightmare in motion-picture photography history. It is more like a psychedelic Rock opera than a classic horror film.”
Horror at its absolute best, the signature piece of Dario Argento’s filmmaking career, “Profondo rosso” (“Deep Red”), in its fully restored version is nothing other than sensory overload, leaving spectators shell-shocked. Filmed in the city of Turin whose already mystical dimension takes on terrifying proportions, the story unravels in a mazelike manner. The literally breathtaking use of the camera with its angles and images sets the harrowing pace for this brutally-baroque creation haunted by the masterfully-arranged and ominous soundtrack by Italian Progressive Rock band Goblin. The Argento-Goblin duo ends up being a very well-oiled and profitable machine for years to come. Italy’s long-standing Giallo tradition undergoes a full revamp following this force majeure film in which Dario Argento makes it very clear not only who is in charge, but also to what extent he is prepared to demonstrate just how warped the fantastic can be as seen in “Suspiria” released two years later.
For half a century, Italian film director Dario Argento has fascinated audiences around the world, and is, hands down, the master when it comes to Giallo, whose baroque- and expressionism-infused thriller genre fuels a growing dimension of fear on the fringe of fantasy and horror. Calling upon the infinite tricks up his sleeve to send shivers down the spines of movie-goers, the filmmaker takes terror to new levels by jabbing his works with esthetically-profuse references directly inspired from the entrails of psychoanalysis, eroticism and fetichism.
Fully aware that they will not emerge from the experience unscathed, fans the world over voluntarily, time and time again, agree to be sucked up into a feast for sore eyes, not to mention ears, given the images and score, the latter ranging from hard rock to hypnotic techno, as appropriate. The audiovisual cocktail blurs evermore the fine line between the real and fantastic, ultimately propelling audiences into a realm that goes well beyond both better known as the supernatural. The releases of six of his iconic films (“L’uccello dalle piume di cristallo” or “The Bird with the Crystal Plumage”, “Il gatto a nove code” or “The Cat O’ Nine Tails”, “Profondo rosso” or “Deep Red”, “Suspiria”, “Phenomena” or “Creepers” and “Opera” or “Terror at the Opera”) send us plummeting into the frenzied yet futile search for a truth defying all comprehension, plummeting into the spellbinding universe all too familiar to his mentors, Freud and Hitchcock, coined “the uncanny”.