When you discuss great Horror Directors, those are the names that tend to come up first. From there, the list moves on to names like Cronenberg, Raimi, Hitchcock, and the like, but it's those first six names that are pretty much the top of the heap. They're all guys whose work was so prolific, that you only need to refer to them by last name for people to recognize them.
It's fitting that Dario Argento is at the head of that list, even if only alphabetically.
Black-gloved killers; crazy, beautiful gore and violence; elaborate camerawork; his bold use of colors; dreamlike narratives that abandon reality, and make little sense overall; and chilling music that accented it all; these are the elements that make up the typical Argento film. His visual style was unique and brilliant, and often times mind-blowing.
In addition to his own films, he's produced movies for Michele Soavi and Lamberto Bava, and he worked with George Romero on Dawn of the Dead, consulting on the script, working on the music, and overseeing the European Cut, which was shorter, and utilized the music of the band Goblin far more.
He also co-wrote Once Upon A Time In The West.
The guy has had a prolific career, and even though his later works have lacked the bite and technical brilliance of his 70's and 80's efforts, he will always be one of the true Masters of Horror.
A few notes about this list:
- Tenebre is only available as a Region B Import at this time.
- Synapse is working on new Blu-ray versions of Suspiria, Phenomena, and Tenebre, all three of which SHOULD see release in 2016.
- Of all of Dario Argento's movies, Phenomena is our sentimental fave. It was the first of his movies that we saw as kids, and it has always held a special place in our hearts.
- The Argento-produced Demons is a excellent.
- The Dario Argento European Cut of Dawn of the Dead is very different from Romero's original, and some would say that it's not a good.
If you're going to start anywhere with Dario Argento's work, we recommend that you start with the movies that make up the Top Six. Suspiria and Deep Red are the first places that you should visit on your trip through Argento Land, but you really can't go wrong with any of them. Outside of the Top Six, Cat o' Nine Tails, Four Flies on Grey Velvet, and Opera make for solid starting points too.
IMDB, because they simply aren't available to stream or purchase.