Cinephile and film lecturer Laura Shearer takes a look at Arrow Video’s new collector’s Blu-ray of Dario Argento’s giallo classic Deep Red which features both the shorter international version and longer, bloodier “director’s cut”…
Giallo horror master Dario Argento’s fifth feature gets the anniversary treatment 40 years after its original release. Collectors will adore the limited edition Blu-ray set thanks to the inclusion of the original director’s cut that shocked Europe all those years ago and the seemingly tamer export (sometimes labelled “international” cut) version that made America flinch.
Between the two versions there is little that takes away from the feature as a standalone film. Notably the main difference lies in the editing, where shorter cuts are added to the international version, the slightly longer takes of the brutal violence are saved for the director’s cut. Reportedly, the international version skips out 32 scenes in total, leaving it short by 20 minutes roughly.
I think the beauty of this release lies in the restoration. The director’s cut is taken from the original 35mm film negative with around £4,000 sunk into the project. In Blu-ray, of course, this leads to more detail, higher definition, and let’s be honest, “how red can you make that stage blood?” factors highly when it comes to Giallo. It’s worth a revisit for more than just a jolly jaunt down horror memory lane.
Being the fan of the modelling and electronics of horror and fantasy creatures that I am, Deep Red has an edge on this element. The terrifying dolls and grotesque models were brought to life by Carlo Rambaldi, none other than the Oscar-winning father of Spielberg’s E.T. alien. It’s always a pleasure to see props made with care and affection, albeit used for the most brilliantly creepy reasons.
In true Giallo spirit Deep Red is a classic murder mystery narrative that intertwines some of the darkest recesses of human desire and curiosity. Marcus, our musical protagonist swept into a whirlwind of tragedy is the infamous David Hemmings, known most notably for his role in Antonioni’s Blow Up. Marcus by chance becomes witness to a violent and inexplicable murder and thus becomes tangled in a web of secrets and the occult that so often lead Argento’s characters astray.
It’s the perfect combination of colourful gore ridiculousness, blood-curdling soundtrack and twists to keep you entertained. Argento’s skill as a Giallo horror director is surely his puppet-master ability to make his audience jump, I’d say even the most seasoned horror fanatic will appreciate how the tension dips and troughs. Deemed the “ultimate Giallo movie” by the distributors of the Blu-ray, Arrow Films, that’s as simple a reason as you need to add it to your horror film collection, or at least give it a test spin if your Giallo-curious.
Written by Laura Shearer
Directed by: Dario Argento
Written by: Dario Argento, Bernardino Zapponi
Starring: Macha Meril, David Hemmings, Daria Nicolodi, Gabriele Lavia, Giuliana Calandra
Released: 1975 / Genre: Italian Thriller/Giallo / Country: Italy / IMDB / More reviews: Latest | Archive
Discover More: Top 10 Giallo Films for the Beginner
Arrow Video’s Deep Red Collector’s Edition is out now