Deep Red (1975)

APRIL 15, 2007


As I said way back in my Opera review, I am certainly no scholar of Italian horror. I remain very impressed with each one I see, but they are few and far between, and I fear that the more I see, the less I’ll enjoy them. But should the day come where I downright hate one, at least this blog will be the better for it. It’s more fun to write bad reviews.

Anyway, Deep Red (Italian: Profondo Rosso) is considered Argento’s best film by many, though not by me. I prefer Suspiria, Opera, and Phenomena to this. While those films are near flawless to me, this one seemed very uneven at times. Some scenes go on far too long (do we need to see Hemmings scratch away every bit of wallpaper covering the drawing on the wall?) and many of the “light” scenes with Daria Nicolodi could have been trimmed or removed entirely (apparently, the US version does just that, so maybe I should seek it out). Also, though it’s no fault of anyone involved as far as you know, the dubbing is incredibly lazy. Half the time they are still speaking Italian. Normally with a foreign film I would watch the original language with subtitles, but this, like many of Argento’s films, half the people are speaking English anyway, so there’s gonna be dubbing either way. You might as well watch in English as much as possible so you can actually focus on the images.

However, for whatever faults it has, the robot puppet alone makes the film worth watching. There’s also a character who toasts the possibility of someone being raped. Nice.

Coincidence – much like yesterday’s Dracula II, this film features wire-based beheadings (whip in Dracula, a necklace here). Do these characters not have skeletons? Here, the necklace severs a head like butter. I would expect the SPINE to give it some trouble but nope, goes right through it (why the necklace doesn’t just break entirely is beyond me). But it doesn’t matter, the film has follows dream logic and thus things like this are common. And nothing will ever be as incoherent as the helicopter in Demons (a film Argento produced, for the record) so it’s fine.

What say you?


  1. I find the misogynistic attitudes and violence against women in Argento films to be troubling. Still, I keep coming back to his work for the beautiful images and effectively creepy atmosphere.

    I agree that DEEP RED is terribly uneven, but for me the parts that work are better executed than those in any other Argento film. I thought the revelation of the killer was especially well done. This film truly gave me the creeps.

  2. I agree with garv. There's something about this movie that seems darker than Argento's other movies.

  3. I also found it kind of strange that a necklace could decapitate someone...and I completely agree about some parts of the movie being slow. However, a lot of the slow parts do show their importance later on in the film.


  4. I watched it on Netflix instant streaming. It is the 104 minute version, and there is no Italian speaking. From what I read, the cuts for the US version were made before the dubbing, so there is no English sound for the scenes that were trimmed and then restored for the director's cut/original European version (126 min). By the way, Netflix says the rental DVD is 2h 6min long, so they have both alternatives. Why don't you watch it on streaming and make an update to say if you liked it better? It definitely doesn't drag, but one feels something missing at times.


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