Deep Red (1975)

Deep Red (1975), written and directed by Dario Argento.

With my third title I begin to see the pattern of Argento films: a bystander witnesses a psycho-killer's crime, then hunts the psycho while the psycho hunts him. Because it's a psycho there is no "reason" behind the mysteries and the plot details are mostly irrelevant. Throw in some quirky comedy and absurd policemen plus various amounts of gore.

Don't you go breaking into long-sealed hidden rooms. What do you think you're going to find there?

This time we have David Hemmings and his gal-pal, a spunky reporter trying to get into his pants. Sort of a screwball comedy framework, now that I think about it. There is no doubting that Argento and his photographer have a fine eye for composition, and this time we have really strange extreme closeups of physical objects like keys and toys.

He has another eerie trick: for the fade to black between scenes he cuts the set lights while filming. I kept expecting someone to scream at each scene change.

The image quality seems better than I remember from The Bird With the Crystal Plumage (1970), also on Blu-ray.

The music is exceptional this time. It seems totally inappropriate for a slasher/thriller but I like it a lot: it adds another dimension of weirdness and unpredictability.

The gore level of the longer "Italian" cut is more than I like seeing.

Available on Blu-ray from Blue Underground, not available at Netflix. It has both the shorter cut (done by the director) with an English language track, and the longer cut with both English and Italian tracks. The English track reverts to Italian from time to time, but there are subtitles.