he film opens with musician Marc Daly and his band in rehearsal, then with us as camera we hover into a red foyer, curtains open to a Conference on Parapsychology. We move in to the hall listening to Psychic Helga Ullman's verbal course flanked by professor Giordani and Academic Mario Bardi. There is unease here, a presence disturbs her, in her mind she sees death, murder, a childs nursery rhyme and fragmented visions of a house.
The camera rises up out of the seat and leaves abruptly. Soon after Helga is killed with the screams heard in real time by Marc and drunken pianist friend Carlo as they chat in a secluded piazza, "did you hear that"?
As Marc walks off alone he glances up and at that moment sees Helga crash into the glass of her apartment window. Inside, moving through strange corridors of mirrors and paintings he discovers the body.
Marc is soon following his own leads acting on the fringe of the case to investigate along with journalist Gianna Brezzi (Nicolodi).
Looking for Carlo he finds only his eccentric mother, who craves company and delights in mentioning her theatrical background. Then later finding him at friend Ricci's house, Marc leads him away and confides his morbid fascination with the murder.
Back at his own "Casa" the camera stalks the rooftop as Marc practices piano, the nursery rhyme echoes again, and hearing footsteps outside at ground level he just catches glimpse of a figure turning the corner of the street.
Tracking down the rhyme on vinyl he visits Giordani for advice, who, with Bardi offer details of what mindset the murderer may be in. They relay a story of folklore involving childhood memories, recurring nightmares connected to a tale of popular myth where an infants voice is heard and a House of Ghosts is implicated in literature.
Marc discovers in a library the book "La Villa del Bambino Urlante" The House of the Screaming Child" by Amanda Righetti and contacts Gianna for her help.
Meanwhile at the author's residence and after finding a macabre hanging doll, the tape is heard yet again, she too is murdered, this time by scolding bath water. Before she dies she tries to expose the assailant's identity on the mirrored glass in the bathroom. Marc arrives too late and discovers the body, and then after confiding the find to Giordani, follows the leads to the House.
He finds its location, chained gates and a sign, the house is up for letting, the caretaker tells him that the house has been empty for some time. The owner, a German, Carl Schwarz had died back in 68. He grants him the keys and his daughter, Olga, a macabre young girl who we see had tortured a small lizard shows him to the gates.
Once inside the building, he wanders looking for clues finding a bizarre child's drawing hidden behind a decaying plastered wall, returning later he discovers a mummified corpse, by torchlight the gruesome discovery shocks Marc who is then struck from behind.
He awakes to see flames engulf the house, Gianna has pulled him to safety however after receiving his message from earlier. The evidence found is not lost altogether as he finds that the caretaker's daughter owns an exact replica of the drawing seen on the wall. She tells him it was copied from the school archives.
We've already seen Giordani murdered viciously after discovering the written signal by Righetti on her bathroom wall, his teeth are systematically smashed onto tables, a large knife thrust in to his neck, a shocking set piece that sets up the tension nicely as our two detectives soon arrive at the school after dark.
They find the drawing in archived books but when whispers are heard in the corridors... Gianna phones the police, she is also silently killed and Marc begins to complete the jigsaw in his mind, he calls out to the killer "I know who you are ...don't hide". Aware a figure is behind him, he turns to face an emotional Carlo with pistol pointed, the police arrive on cue, yet Carlo escapes, as he flees his foot becomes hooked on to the lead from a tar truck seen earlier on Mars nocturnal car journey, dragged through the deserted moonlit streets his fate is sealed when oncoming headlights are seen, his body motionless stretched out in the road.
In an excellent last five minutes we see Marc wandering the familiar dark grey shades of the empty piazza. He pauses to recollect and as the camera circles he realises, Carlo was with him when the psychic was murdered, they were in this very place, "he was nothing to do with it" shaking his head "it couldn't have been him"...
In an attempt to recall what he saw when he entered Helga's apartment, he returns through taped doors to take a last glimpse inside.
The mirrored walls and reflecting pictures had created an illusion, he initially thought he saw a painting showing four faces as he sped through on route to finding the body.
The camouflaged identity of the murderer is exposed with the final clue presenting an alternative illusion to what he thought he saw initially.
A class outing that is both cruel and undeniably brilliant, visualised by the eye of an extraordinary filmmaker at the first phase of his true success in this decade.
Don't forget that Deep Red is now available to order on Widescreen DVD using our special 70s search device... [See DVD section or click here for more details]
By: Nik Allen
Argentos sublime conundrum was a notable progression in style and diversity from the earlier so-called Animal trilogy of Bird with the Crystal Plumage (Lucello) Cat O Nine Tails (IL Gatto) and Four Flies on Grey Velvet (Quatrro Mosche) and also to his little known departure into period war parody Five Days in Milan (Le Cinque).
The above were successful and inventive enough for sure, but seemed rather limited stylistically in comparison to his mid and later 70s cinema, these served as preludes to the films that followed, his fifth film in 1975 was to be a pivotal turning point of sorts.
Marking his first collaboration with progressive rock outfit Goblin, Argento began to control and manipulate his audience further with Deep Red, known more widely as Profondo Rosso. His visions were to become even more abstract, the bluffs and contradictions still present were enhanced with a fresh stylistic that would complicate but fortify the twisted experience.
Opening to screaming keyboards not unlike Tangerine Dreams soundtrack for Freidkins 77 film Sorcerer, the film at once seems to offer something new, for not only had Morricones Hitchcockian overtures been rested , the stop start motions of titles an images and the odd extreme close ups of childs playthings amid those of knives, lent something fresh and equally unsettling as the film began.
Scenes of a boy witnessing a murder, the score replaced by chimes, which were to be repeated in later work, nursery rhymes chanted with a certain cruelty, then, back to the main themes. Already the director is breaking up any possible patterns of convention, his games have begun.
A central figure in a studio calls halt to a music session in practice, this is our first look at Marc Daly music teacher, a beige slacked David Hemmings, fresh from Antonionis Blow out, again the unlikely sleuth...and our first scene as we close in, his abrupt call . ..."stop... too precise" Is this Argento giving us a clue as to the puzzling structure of what follows?
What we see here is a continuous arrangement of false realities, hazed clues, red herrings, camera viewpoints alter, our senses are confused, the multi-layers present a degree of hypocrisy, and the film insists that we be constantly on our guard.
The perception of "seeing" is of major importance, and as privileged voyeur's in this film, we can follow the process of visibility through Argento's camera lens, an enlightening and unusual experience that confirms the process of cinema at its most effective level.
The initial murder, witnessed by Daly, the clues that lead to the house of ghosts and the little girl who seems gentle but is seen torturing animals.
The twisted chalk drawing found by our protagonist, the close ups of a single eye and running water early on, evoking Hitchcocks Psycho.
Simonettis excellent music, right on cue to the set-pieces that defy realism but somehow confirm it, Marc's mind, scrutinised by self in the empty square as the fragments come together in realisation. And too the excellent quickfire abrupt finale leading ultimately to a metaphoric reflection of his own vision of Deep Red.
Superior stuff... Not without its flaws, but stylish, extravagant and intelligent, this exceptional film gets better and strangely more infuriating with every viewing.
Watch it three times ...then youll see,...or you might not?
Also known as "Profondo Rosso" and "The Hatchet Murders".
know some Deep Red trivia that we could add? [Please
send it in]
Rome, Italy and Torino, Italy [Thanks to Kasia]
90% of the film was shot in Turin (Argento loves our town: he shot here also for "Il Gatto a Nove Code" "Quattro mosche di velluto grigio" and "Non ho sonno"). Turin has been Italy's capital since 1860 (the year in which Italy was formed and unified) and hosts the Holy Shroud.
The surroundings of Rome were only used for the country scene (the one where the victim is boiled to death)
The infamous gothic villa is on the hills district of the town. (and it hosted a religious order when the movie was shot. Now it's abandoned, even if it is one of the best examples of Liberty in Italy)
The square that appears at the beginning of the film is the central Piazza CLN [Thanks to Enrico Sola]
Can you help? Do you know any of the Turin, Italy filming locations used for Deep Red? [Please send them in]
Profondo Rosso's soundtrack was the first collaboration the director had with Goblin, the pumping electronica summed up the various seventies themes on show in this Italian masterpiece of bizarro. Claudio Simonetti, Fabio Pignatelli and Elsa Morantes create a brooding keyboard crescendo that was the inspiration for many films.
Notably Carpenters Halloween which whilst more memorable and seemingly more fitting took from this tracks themes.
Goblin went on to score many of Argento's films, including Suspiria 1977 and Tenebre 1980, he reverted back to maestro Morriconne occasionally before collaborating once more with the synth outfit to outstanding effect in Nonhosonno 2000.
Soundtrack Available: Used On CD
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|Witness to a crime.|
|Meeting of minds|
|The detective's roving eye leaves no stone unturned|
|Broken Minds|| |