Deep Red (1975)

“Sometimes what you actually see and what you imagine get mixed up in your memory like a cocktail from which you can no longer distinguish one flavor from another.” A great stylish and suspenseful horror film/thriller (a “giallo” film if you want to be pretentious!) from legendary Italian horror master Dario Argento, Deep Red (original title: Profondo rosso) stars David Hemmings (Blow-Up) as English pianist “Marcus Daly,” who witnesses the brutal murder of famous German psychic “Helga Ulmann” (Macha Meril). Ullmann had previously freaked out in one of her lectures when she sensed a murderous presence in the audience. Daly starts his own obsessive investigation into the murder accompanied by a rather aggressive, free-spirited reporter, “Gianna Brezzi” (Daria Nicolodi), who actually defeats him in arm wrestling in one scene! After uncovering a number of clues (a missing portrait, a creepy children’s tune, a child’s disturbing painting, a supposedly haunted house, etc.) and with dead bodies cropping up everywhere they go, the amateur sleuths eventually uncover a dark secret from the past. The cast includes Gabriele Lavia as “Carlo,” Clara Calamai (who starred in Luchino Visconti’s classic 1943 film Ossessione) as Carlo’s mother “Martha,” Glauco Mauri as “Dr. Giordani” and Giuliana Calandra as “Amanda Righetti.” Italian progressive rock band Goblin provided the haunting score for Deep Red (also known as The Hatchet Murders). Carlo Rambaldi (1925-2012), who created the film’s special effects, later designed the title characters for both Alien (1979) and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982).

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