Phenomena (1985)

A psychic girl with the superpower to summon swarms of icky bugs teams up with a revenge-seeking razor-wielding chimp to take down the mother of a deformed kid who both have been out and about in the the Swiss mountains killing people! Truly, this is the logline of the gods!  Fellow Italian Lucio Fucli was probably kicking himself that Dario Argento thought of it first! Continue reading “Phenomena (1985)”

Tenebre (1982)

Tenebre PosterI originally figured that since “tenebre” sounded a little like “tentacle” that maybe this movie was going to be about a giant squid. Then I discovered that it was an Italian flick so I figured that some giant squid was on the loose in Rome eating fashion models. It ended up being a fairly straight forward slasher flick where the murders were all related to a book that Anthony Franciosa’s character Peter Neal had written, called Tenebre.

Just because it was straight forward though doesn’t mean that it really makes a lot of sense. It’s another one of those Dario Argento flicks with a couple of shocking endings which exist because he again goes to the “there’s two murderers out there” gag that he used to better effect in The Bird With The Crystal Plumage. Continue reading “Tenebre (1982)”

Opera (1987)

All the good moments in this one belong to a bunch of noisy birds. And the birds, with their ear-rending squawking, are some of the most obnoxious members of the cast!

If their constant cacophony doesn’t completely put you off of this giallo from Dario Argento, the nauseatingly swirling camera shots he uses to show the birds’ point of view surely will. And if you can somehow manage to stomach all of that, there’s still the fact that this thing revolves around people screeching at the top of their lungs at an opera to run off whatever audience still remains. Continue reading “Opera (1987)”

The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (1970)

In Dario Argento’s first film, Tony Musante plays Sam, an American writer who is in Rome trying to find inspiration for a new work. Apparently all the inspiration he was able to muster up was a work-for-hire project about birds. He turns in that project and is getting ready to leave the country, when, wouldn’t you know it, he happens to be aimlessly walking the nighttime streets of Rome and sees an attempted murder going on!

To be fair, no one could have missed it because it was taking place in a modern (for 1969) art gallery where the entire storefront of the place is one giant, brightly lit picture window. Continue reading “The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (1970)”

Deep Red (1975)

Deep Red echoes Daro Argento’s earlier (and not as good) The Bird With The Crystal Plumage with its tale of a foreigner in Rome witnessing and getting himself mixed up in a murder (and getting everyone around him killed along the way). Don’t let the fact that this feels like an instance of a director remaking his own movie deter you from checking it out because Argento is able to play up his strengths (kinetic camera work, sudden vicious violence, a sense of isolation) and jettison all the barnacles that slow his other pictures down (pointless red herrings, lazy plotting, all the self-referential crap that helped to sink Tenebre). Continue reading “Deep Red (1975)”