Happy Birthday To Dario Argento!

We are very excited this month to celebrate the birthday of a true master of horror cinema, a master in the genre of Giallo, Dario Argento. He was the director that introduced me to wonders of foreign horror films via the darkly beautiful Phenomena (1985 – read our retro review here) and the surreal masterpiece that is Suspiria (1977). Now, let’s take a look back at the man himself as we celebrate Argento’s many years of greatness.

Dario Argento was born September 7, 1940 to Salvatore Argento, a Sicilian film producer, and Elda Luxardo, a Brazilian photographer. Argento started his career as a critic, writing for magazines and newspapers. He also worked as a screenwriter and even co-wrote the film, Once Upon a Time In The West (1968), with Bernardo Bertolucci.

His directorial debut in 1970 was the Giallo film, The Bird With The Crystal Plumage, soon followed by The Cat o’ Nine Tales (1971), and Four Files On Grey Velvet (1972). These three films are often referred to as The Animal Trilogy. His real breakthrough was his incredible thriller, Deep Red (1975), which is one of my favorite Giallo films ever. Argento used Deep Red as the film to showcase his unique brand of filmmaking – over the top, bloody kills mixed with kinetic, ever moving camera work and a pulse pounding soundtrack.

Argento would go on to make his career defining films, The Three Mother’s trilogy, consisting of the three films, Suspiria (1977), Inferno (1980), and The Mother of Tears (2007). The first two films are dazzling feats of filmmaking. Both are visually stunning, whether they show a girl facing down a coven of witches at a ballet school or a surreal, underwater ballroom scene. The Mother of Tears, while less successful, still remains a good, if not perfect, conclusion to the trilogy.



Argento’s later works would span an unusual variety of subjects, from poker to the Stendhal syndrome to Dracula to The Phantom of the Opera. While few of his works made in the 1990s and beyond have lived up to the fanfare of those from the heyday of 1970s Giallo, all of them have his unique style to them that Argento fans love. Word has it that he is at work now on a project for a streaming service that will be eight episodes and feature a female lead!

Dario Argento will always remain the of maestro of Italian Giallo cinema and one of the best horror directors of all time. Few filmmakers have developed such a talent for burning unsettling, yet beautiful, images into our minds and souls. Here’s to hoping that many years lay ahead for the master!

About Christine Burnham

When not writing, Christine Burnham is watching TV, Horror films, reading, cooking, and spending time with her menagerie of animals.

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