Dario Argento (Italian: [ˈdaːrjo arˈdʒɛnto]; born 7 September 1940) is an Italian film director, producer, film critic and screenwriter. He is best known for his work in the horror film genre during the 1970s and 1980s, particularly in the subgenre known as giallo, and for his influence on modern horror films.
His movies include the "Animal Trilogy": The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (1969), The Cat o' Nine Tails (1971) and Four Flies on Grey Velvet (1972); Deep Red (1975); and the "Three Mothers" trilogy, consisting of Suspiria (1977), Inferno (1980) and The Mother of Tears (2007). Argento is an influential pioneer of the horror-film genre, and has been called the "Master of the Thrill" and "Master of Horror".
Argento at the Crossing Europe Film Festival, April 2014
|Born||7 September 1940|
|Other names||Sirio Bernadotte|
|Occupation||Film director, producer, screenwriter|
|Spouse(s)||Marisa Casale (1968–1972; divorced)|
|Partner(s)||Daria Nicolodi (1974–1985)|
|Children||2 (including Asia Argento)|
|Relatives||Claudio Argento (brother)|
Argento was born in Rome, the son of Sicilian film producer and executive Salvatore Argento and Brazilian photographer Elda Luxardo, who was of Italian ancestry. He began his career in film as a critic, writing for various magazines while still attending high school. Argento did not attend college, electing rather to take a job as a columnist at the newspaper Paese Sera. While working at the newspaper, Argento also began working as a screenwriter. His most notable work was for Sergio Leone; he and Bernardo Bertolucci collaborated on the story for the spaghetti western Once Upon a Time in the West.
Argento began work on his directorial debut, the giallo film The Bird with the Crystal Plumage, which was released in 1970 and was a major hit in Italy. Argento continued to concentrate largely on the giallo genre, directing two more successful thrillers, The Cat o' Nine Tails (1971) and Four Flies on Grey Velvet (1972). Along with The Bird with the Crystal Plumage, these three films are frequently referred to as Argento's "Animal Trilogy". The director then turned his attention away from giallo movies, filming two Italian TV dramas and a period comedy (The Five Days) in 1973. Argento returned to thrillers with 1975's Deep Red, frequently cited by many critics as the best giallo ever made. The film made Argento famous internationally and inspired a number of other directors to work in the genre (John Carpenter has frequently referred to the influence Argento's early work had on Halloween).
Argento's next film was Suspiria (1977), a supernatural thriller. Argento planned for Suspiria to be the first of a trilogy about "The Three Mothers", three ancient witches residing in three different modern cities. The second film of the trilogy was 1980's Inferno. The Mother of Tears (2007) concluded the trilogy.
In 1978, Argento collaborated with George A. Romero on Dawn of the Dead, earning a producer credit and also providing soundtrack work for the zombie film. Argento oversaw the European release of the film, where it was titled Zombi, which was much shorter and featured more of the score written and performed by Goblin.
After Inferno, Argento returned to the more conventional giallo style with Tenebrae (1982). He then attempted to combine giallo and supernatural fantasy in 1985's Phenomena, also known as Creepers, which was one of Jennifer Connelly's earliest movies. Phenomena also showed Argento's predilection for using new technology, as evidenced by the film's several prowling Steadicam shots. Both films received a lukewarm reception upon their release (although each has been positively reappraised since).
Opera followed in 1987. Set in Parma's Regio Theatre during a production of Verdi's Macbeth, the production was beset by real-life misfortunes that Argento suspected were caused by the supposed traditional "curse" on the Shakespearean play. Argento's father died during its production, Vanessa Redgrave quit the project before filming began, he had problems working with his former long-time girlfriend and collaborator Daria Nicolodi on-set and the cast and crew were plagued by several minor accidents and mishaps.
In 1987-88, Argento produced a TV series called Turno di Notte, which had 15 episodes. Nine of the shows were directed by Luigi Cozzi, the other 6 by Lamberto Bava. Daria Nicolodi and Asia Argento starred in several of the episodes.
During the early 1990s, Argento was in the process of collaborating with Italian director Lucio Fulci on a horror film. Due to financial trouble, the project was continually postponed. In 1996, Argento was able to gather funding, but was unable to collaborate with Fulci, who died in March that year. The film was later directed by Sergio Stivaletti as The Wax Mask, with Argento and Fulci both receiving screenwriting credits.
His 1996 film The Stendhal Syndrome, in which a policewoman (played by Argento's daughter, Asia) who suffers from Stendhal syndrome is trapped by a serial killer in an abandoned warehouse, was the first Italian film to use computer-generated imagery (CGI). Moreover, the film's opening scene was shot in Florence at Italy's famed Uffizi Gallery. Argento is the only director ever granted permission to shoot there. The Stendhal Syndrome was distributed in the U.S. by cult B-movie distribution company Troma Entertainment. He later directed 1998's The Phantom of the Opera and 2001's Sleepless.
2004's The Card Player, a giallo about a killer whose murders are conducted during Internet poker matches with the Rome police, earned a mixed reception: some fans appreciated the techno music score composed by ex-Goblin member Claudio Simonetti, but felt the film was too mainstream, with little of Argento's usual flourish.
2005 saw the TV broadcast of Argento's Do You Like Hitchcock?, in which the director paid homage to Alfred Hitchcock after decades of being compared to him by critics. Later that year, he directed an episode of Masters of Horror, a Showtime television series, called "Jenifer". Soon afterwards, Argento directed an adaption of the F. Paul Wilson short story "Pelts" for season 2 of the same series.
In 2007, Argento finished the final film of his Three Mothers trilogy, The Mother of Tears, which is set in Rome and centers on the titular "third mother", Mater Lacrimarum. Argento and Jace Anderson share writing credits for the film. Asia Argento was cast as the lead player, along with her mother and frequent Argento collaborator Daria Nicolodi in a supporting role. Udo Kier, who appeared in Argento's Suspiria, and Coralina Cataldi-Tassoni, who appeared in three of his previous films, both have pivotal roles in the final Mothers chapter.
On 26 June 2009, Giallo premiered at the Edinburgh Film Festival. The following month he announced that he had started working on a 3D remake of Deep Red, but subsequently this project was shelved due to the commercial failure of Giallo in Italian cinemas. He then announced his decision to write a new screenplay . On 4 March 2011, it was announced that Rutger Hauer had signed on to play Van Helsing in Argento's Dracula 3D, which began shooting in Budapest later in the year. It was released on 19 May 2012.
Argento's most recent project was The Sandman, which had Iggy Pop attached to star and a script by David Tully. The film successfully raised over $195,000 from over 1,000 backers on Indiegogo in December 2014. However, filming has not commenced as of 2018 and the project producers have not updated the film's status to backers since August 2017.
Italian director Luca Guadagnino helmed Suspiria (2018), a remake of Argento's 1977 film. The American screenplay is based on the original script Argento wrote with Daria Nicolodi, his former long-term partner.
He is involved in a horror memorabilia store located at Via dei Gracchi 260 in Rome named Profondo Rosso, after his classic film Deep Red. In the cellar is a collection of his movies. The store is managed by his long-time collaborator and friend Luigi Cozzi.
He has contributed in the development of the survival horror video game Dead Space, and also in the dubbing of the Dr. Kyne character in the Italian version of the game.
Maitland McDonagh wrote about Argento in her book Broken Mirrors/Broken Minds: The Dark Dreams of Dario Argento (1991). Argento is also mentioned in Art of Darkness, a collection of promotional stills, poster art and critical essays edited by Chris Gallant. British journalist Alan Jones published Profondo Argento, a compendium of set reports, interviews and biographical detail. English sound designer, writer and musician Heather Emmett published Sounds to Die For: Speaking the Language of Horror Film Sound, which includes the first in-depth study of the use of sound in Argento's films.
In 2012, Argento was highlighted in the retrospective Argento: Il Cinema Nel Sangue at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City. The retrospective celebrated the influence of the Argento family on filmmaking in Italy and around the world. It highlighted Dario's contribution as well as that of his father (Salvatore), brother (Claudio), ex-wife (Daria Nicolodi) and daughter (Asia).
With the exceptions of The Stendhal Syndrome and Sleepless, all of Argento's films since the "golden age" of the 70s and 80s have been generally poorly received by critics and fans alike, including Argento scholars such as Maitland McDonagh. Fangoria wrote in 2010, "over the last decade, standards have slipped. For a filmmaker who was always so precise in his construction and cutting, his later films such as The Phantom of the Opera and The Card Player are sloppy, stitched together so carelessly that they leak vital fluid. Gradually, the kaleidoscopic style that once characterized his films has slowly blanched away."
|Scusi, lei è favorevole o contrario?
English title: Pardon, Are You For or Against?
|Qualcuno ha tradito
English title: Someone's a Traitor
|Oggi a me... domani a te! (Today It's Me... Tomorrow You!)
English title: Today We Kill... Tomorrow We Die!
|Comandamenti per un gangster||Yes|
|La rivoluzione sessuale||Yes|
|C'era una volta il West
English title: Once Upon a Time in the West
|Une corde, un Colt... (The Rope and the Colt...)
aka Cemetery Without Crosses
|Metti, una sera a cena (One Night at Dinner)
English title: The Love Circle
|La legione dei dannati (Legion of the Damned)
English title: Battle of the Commandos
|Un esercito di cinque uomini
English title: The Five Man Army
|La stagione dei sensi
English title: The Season of the Senses
|L'uccello dalle piume di cristallo
English title: The Bird with the Crystal Plumage
a.k.a. The Gallery Murders
|1970||Yes||Yes||Yes||Murderer's Hands (uncredited)|
|Il gatto a nove code
English title: The Cat o' Nine Tails
|4 mosche di velluto grigio
English title: Four Flies on Grey Velvet
|Così sia (So Be It)
English title: Man Called Amen
|Le cinque giornate
English title: The Five Days of Milan
|Yes||Yes||Yes||Bandaged man with Tranzunto (uncredited)|
English title: Deep Red
|1975||Yes||Yes||Yes||Murderer's Hands (uncredited)|
|Suspiria||1977||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Narrator (voice; uncredited)|
English title: Dawn of the Dead
|1978||(Uncredited, European Cut)||Yes|
English title: Martin
|1978||(Uncredited, European Cut)||Yes|
|Inferno||1980||Yes||Yes||Yes||Narrator (voice; uncredited)|
English title: Tenebrae, a.k.a. Unsane
|1982||Yes||Yes||Yes||Narrator; Murderer's Hands (voice; uncredited)|
English title: Creepers
|1985||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Narrator (voice; uncredited)|
English title: Demons
English title: Demons 2: The Nightmare Begins
English title: Terror at the Opera
|1987||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Narrator (voice; uncredited)|
English title: The Church, a.k.a. Demons III
|Due occhi diabolici (The Black Cat episode only)
English title: Two Evil Eyes
|La Setta (The Sect)
English title: The Devil's Daughter
English title: Dario Argento's Trauma
|La sindrome di Stendhal
English title: The Stendhal Syndrome
|Il cielo è sempre più blu (The Sky is Always Bluer)
English title: Bits and Pieces
|Yes||Man Confessing To Franciscan Monk|
|M.D.C. - Maschera di cera
English title: Wax Mask
|Il fantasma dell'opera
English title: The Phantom of the Opera
|Non ho sonno (I Can't Sleep)
English title: Sleepless
English title: The Card Player
|La Terza madre (The Third Mother)
English title: Mother of Tears
|Door into Darkness
Episodes: Il tram and Testimone oculare
|Turno di Notte||1987||Yes|
|Ti piace Hitchcock?
English title: Do You Like Hitchcock?
|Masters of Horror
Episodes: Jenifer and Pelts
|Tutti pazzi per amore||2010||Yes||Ugo, presidente commissione d'esame|
|100 Bullets D'Argento||2012||Yes||D'Argento|
1993 - The King of Ads (director)
|Actor||The Bird with the Crystal Plumage||Cat O'Nine Tails||Four Flies on Gray Velvet||Le cinque giornate||Deep Red||Suspiria||Inferno||Tenebre||Phenomena||Opera||Two Evil Eyes||Trauma||The Stendhal Syndrome||Phantom of the Opera||Sleepless||The Card Player||The Third Mother||Giallo||Dracula 3D|
|Giovanni Di Benedetto|
|Gildo Di Marco|
Il Mondo dell'orrore di Dario Argento (Dario Argento's World of Horror) is a 1985 Italian documentary film, which chronicles the career of the Italian horror and suspense movie director, Dario Argento. It was the directorial debut of Michele Soavi, who later went on to direct the cult classic Dellamorte Dellamore in 1994.
The documentary features candid interviews with Argento and various stars from films he has directed, as well as extensive clips and behind-the-scenes footage of his films. The film includes segments focused on subjects as the soundtrack work, coloring and color filtering, and camerawork in Suspiria, the soundtrack for Inferno, the camerawork and insect effects in Phenomena, Tom Savini's make-up work in Dawn of the Dead, and the special effects, make-up and robotics in Dèmoni as well as interviews with Argento on a variety of esoteric subjects. Because most of Argento's films were only available at the time in heavily edited form, Dario Argento's World of Horror was sought after by many fans of the director's work because it contained numerous clips of footage removed from the released films, most notably the opening double murder sequence from Suspiria.Deep Red
Deep Red (original title Profondo rosso; also known as The Hatchet Murders) is a 1975 Italian giallo film, directed by Dario Argento and co-written by Argento and Bernardino Zapponi. It was released on 7 March 1975. It was produced by Claudio and Salvatore Argento, and the film's score was composed and performed by Goblin. It stars Macha Meril as a medium and David Hemmings as a pianist who investigates a series of murders performed by a mysterious figure wearing black leather gloves.Dracula 3D
Dracula 3D is a 2012 vampire horror film co-written and directed by Dario Argento and starring Thomas Kretschmann, Rutger Hauer, Marta Gastini, and Unax Ugalde. An Italian-Spanish-French co-production, the film is Argento's first 3D film. Kretschmann took the role of Dracula; he later played Abraham van Helsing in the Budapest-shot television series Dracula.Four Flies on Grey Velvet
Four Flies on Grey Velvet (Italian: 4 mosche di velluto grigio) is a 1971 Italian giallo film written and directed by Dario Argento, from a story by Luigi Cozzi (who also served as assistant director). The film is the third in director Argento's "Animal Trilogy", having been preceded by The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (1970) and The Cat o' Nine Tails (1971).Giallo (film)
Giallo is a 2009 Italian horror giallo film co-written and directed by Dario Argento and starring Adrien Brody, Emmanuelle Seigner and Elsa Pataky.
The film was poorly received at the time of its release, and is arguably most-known for Brody's lawsuit against the film for not having been paid.Inferno (1980 film)
Inferno is a 1980 Italian supernatural horror film, written and directed by Dario Argento. The film stars Irene Miracle, Leigh McCloskey, Eleonora Giorgi, Daria Nicolodi and Alida Valli. The cinematography was by Romano Albani and Keith Emerson composed the film's musical score. The story concerns a young man's investigation into the disappearance of his sister, who had been living in a New York City apartment building that also served as a home for a powerful, centuries-old witch.
A thematic sequel to Suspiria (1977), the film is the second part of Argento's Three Mothers trilogy. The long-delayed concluding entry, The Mother of Tears, was released in 2007. All three films are partially derived from the concept of "Our Ladies of Sorrow" (Mater Lachrymarum, Mater Suspiriorum and Mater Tenebrarum) originally devised by Thomas de Quincey in his book Suspiria de Profundis (1845).
Unlike Suspiria, Inferno received a very limited theatrical release and the film was unable to match the box office success of its predecessor. While initial critical response was mostly negative, its reputation has improved considerably over the years. Kim Newman has called it "perhaps the most underrated horror movie of the 1980s." In 2005, the magazine Total Film named Inferno one of the 50 greatest horror films of all time.Jenifer (Masters of Horror)
"Jenifer" is the fourth episode of the first season of Masters of Horror. It originally aired in North America on November 18, 2005. It was directed by Dario Argento and written by and starring Steven Weber. "Jenifer" is adapted from a 10-page black-and-white comic book story, written by Bruce Jones and illustrated by Berni Wrightson, that originally appeared in issue #63 (July 1974) of the horror anthology title Creepy.Opera (film)
Opera (also known and released as Terror at the Opera) is a 1987 Italian giallo film co-written and directed by Dario Argento, with music composed and performed by Brian Eno, Claudio Simonetti, and Bill Wyman. Starring Cristina Marsillach, Urbano Barberini, and Ian Charleson, the plot focuses on a young soprano (Marsillach) involved in a series of murders being committed inside an opera house by a masked assailant.
The film was one of Argento's most commercially successful, seeing 1,363,912 ticket sales in his native country of Italy. This is the second Dario Argento horror film to have THX audio certified and picture quality.Phenomena (film)
Phenomena is a 1985 Italian horror giallo film directed by Dario Argento and starring Jennifer Connelly, Daria Nicolodi, and Donald Pleasence. Its plot focuses on a girl at a remote Swiss boarding school who discovers she has psychic powers that allow her to communicate with insects and uses them to pursue a serial killer who is butchering young women at and around the school.
After its release in Italy, Phenomena was purchased for distribution in the United States by New Line Cinema, who cut over twenty minutes and released it under the title Creepers.Sleepless (2001 film)
Sleepless (Italian: Non ho sonno) is a 2001 Italian giallo film directed by Dario Argento. The film stars Max von Sydow and Stefano Dionisi and marks Argento's return to the giallo subgenre. The film was another box office success when it opened in Italy, taking in over $5,019,733,505 lira ($3,280,080 US) by the end of its theatrical run.Suspiria
Suspiria (Latin: [sʊsˈpɪria]) is a 1977 Italian supernatural horror film directed by Dario Argento, co-written by Argento and Daria Nicolodi, partially based on Thomas De Quincey's 1845 essay Suspiria de Profundis (Sighs from the Depths) and co-produced by Claudio and Salvatore Argento. The film stars Jessica Harper as an American ballet student who transfers to a prestigious dance academy in Germany but realizes, after a series of brutal murders, that the academy is a front for a supernatural conspiracy. It also features Stefania Casini, Flavio Bucci, Miguel Bosé, Alida Valli, Udo Kier and Joan Bennett, in her final film role.
The film is the first of the trilogy Argento refers to as The Three Mothers, which also comprises Inferno (1980) and The Mother of Tears (2007). Suspiria has become one of Argento's most successful feature films, receiving critical acclaim for its visual and stylistic flair, use of vibrant colors and its score by the prog-rock band Goblin.
Suspiria was nominated for two Saturn Awards: Best Supporting Actress for Bennett in 1978, and Best DVD Classic Film Release, in 2002. It has become a cult classic, and is recognised as an influential film in the horror genre. It served as the inspiration for a 2018 film of the same title, directed by Luca Guadagnino.The Bird with the Crystal Plumage
The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (Italian: L'uccello dalle piume di cristallo) is a 1970 giallo film directed by Dario Argento, in his directorial debut. The film is considered a landmark in the Italian giallo genre. It is the first installment in the Animal Trilogy, and was followed by The Cat o' Nine Tails (1971) and Four Flies on Grey Velvet (1972).
Written by Argento, the film is an uncredited adaptation of Fredric Brown's novel The Screaming Mimi, which had previously been made into a Hollywood film, Screaming Mimi (1958), directed by Gerd Oswald.The film was nominated for an Edgar Allan Poe award for best motion picture in 1971. The film was originally cut by 20 seconds for its US release and received a 'GP' rating, though it was later re-classified as 'PG'. It has since been released in the US uncut. Upon its release the film was a huge box office hit, grossing 1,650,000,000 Italian lira (roughly about $1 million US), twice the production cost of $500,000. The film was also a success outside of Italy, gaining €1,366,884 admissions in Spain.The Card Player
The Card Player (Italian: Il cartaio) is a 2004 giallo film directed by Dario Argento. The film stars Stefania Rocca and Liam Cunningham and is Argento's second giallo feature of the decade (following Sleepless).
The film features a brief role by Fiore Argento, the director's eldest daughter. She had previously appeared in her father's films Phenomena and Demons.The Cat o' Nine Tails
The Cat o' Nine Tails (Italian: Il gatto a nove code) is a 1971 giallo film written and directed by Dario Argento, adapted from a story by Dardano Sacchetti, Luigi Cozzi, and an uncredited Bryan Edgar Wallace. It stars Karl Malden, James Franciscus, and Catherine Spaak.Although it is the middle entry in Argento's so-called "Animal Trilogy" (along with The Bird with the Crystal Plumage and Four Flies on Grey Velvet), the titular "cat o' nine tails" does not directly refer to a literal cat, nor to a literal multi-tailed whip; rather, it refers to the number of leads that the protagonists follow in the attempt to solve a murder. Though, there is a particular scene that takes place in a cemetery, in which a literal cat is referred to by the characters.
Though successful in Europe, it was dismissed in the United States. Argento admitted in the book Broken Mirrors, Broken Minds: The Dark Dreams of Dario Argento that he was less than pleased with the film, and has repeatedly cited it as his least favorite of all of his films.The Five Days
The Five Days (Italian: Le cinque giornate; also known as The Five Days of Milan) is a 1973 comedy-drama film directed by Dario Argento.The Mother of Tears
The Mother of Tears (Italian: La Terza madre, literally The Third Mother) is a 2007 Italian-American cult mystery horror film written and directed by Dario Argento, and starring Asia Argento, Daria Nicolodi, Moran Atias, Udo Kier and Coralina Cataldi-Tassoni. The film has also been billed in English-speaking media as Mater Lachrymarum, The Third Mother (English translation of the film's original Italian title) and Mother of Tears: The Third Mother.
Written by Argento, Jace Anderson, Walter Fasano, Adam Gierasch and Simona Simonetti, the film is the concluding installment of Argento's supernatural horror trilogy The Three Mothers, which began with Suspiria (1977) and succeeded by Inferno (1980). The film depicts the confrontation with the final "Mother" witch, known as Mater Lachrymarum.The Phantom of the Opera (1998 film)
The Phantom of the Opera (Italian: Il fantasma dell'opera) is a 1998 Italian horror film directed by Dario Argento, adapted from the novel Le Fantôme de l'Opéra by Gaston Leroux. However, there are many differences between the book and the film (the biggest being that the Phantom is not disfigured).Trauma (1993 film)
Trauma is a 1993 giallo horror film directed by Dario Argento and starring Asia Argento, Christopher Rydell, Piper Laurie, and Frederic Forrest.
It was one of two films Argento directed in the United States outside of his native Italy, the other being the 1990 anthology film Two Evil Eyes.Two Evil Eyes
Two Evil Eyes (Italian: Due occhi diabolici) is a 1990 Italian-American horror film written and directed by Dario Argento and George A. Romero. The two filmmakers had previously worked together on the immensely popular Dawn of the Dead in 1978.
The film is split into two separate tales, both based largely on the works of Edgar Allan Poe: "The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar", directed by Romero and starring Adrienne Barbeau, showcases his traditional mix of horror with social commentary, especially capitalism; and "The Black Cat", directed by Argento and starring Harvey Keitel, which blends a number of Poe references into a new narrative. Both of the tales were filmed and take place in contemporary Pittsburgh.