Profondo rosso

Jazz pianist Marcus Daly (Blow Up's David Hemmings) and a wisecracking journalist are pulled into a complex web of mystery after the former witnesses the brutal murder of a psychic.


You have been watching DEEP RED, directed by Dario Argento

End credit of the film


“I came back to the giallo with all my love, with all my being, with all my desire and it sublimated itself in the form of the most complex story I’ve ever written.”

Dario Argento1


“‘Deep’ / ‘profondo’ suggests a cry from the pit, de profundus, out of the darkest night of the soul.”

Maitland McDonagh2


Deep Red may appear to be a more violent and bloodier film, but this is not true because the film was a nightmare, so all the facts were exaggerated; all these facts were present in my other films.”

Dario Argento3


“I used to study the sequences of death in detail even in my previous films (...) I have just refined my style. In Deep Red, I experimented with everything: rhythm, colour, music, new issues, unusual shots, and humorous acting. It is a film containing some personal ideas which are very different from the traditional gialli. I have conceived of geometric murders, seeking an unsustainable ‘growth’. I have spectacularized and enriched them with highly improbable details that derive more from dreams than from reality.”

Dario Argento4


“It is not just to scare, but rather to impress. It is like in the Aztec rituals, where they sacrificed human lives. They forced these people to do amazing things by making them climb to the top of the pyramid, where they were killed. They urged them to get to the top. The heart was pumping, so at the first stab there was a fountain of blood. From below, everyone could see it. It was a spectacle of death. These were savage moments. There was a very intense relationship between the victim and the executioner.”

Dario Argento5


“Even today, I still hear that the music of Deep Red has stayed in people's minds as the music that scared everyone. It's enough to hear the fist notes to get scared.”

Goblin's keyboardist Claudio Simonetti6


“For example, if someone gets shot by a gun, there are very few people that can relate to that sensation or experience. But if we stick someone's head in the middle of boiling water it's a sensation that everyone had; almost everyone has burnt themselves with hot water. Or when someone bumps into a sharp corner, it's a sensation that everyone has experienced. As a matter of fact, Lari dies getting slammed onto a sharp corner.”

Co-screenwriter and Fellini collaborator Bernardino Zapponi7


“Whereas Argento’s earlier films provide verbal answers undermined by images, Deep Red provides only images, and the total abandonment of the verbal in favor of the visual completes Argento’s transition to a rhetoric of aesthetic authority. (...) Deep Red ends with a freeze-frame on a spectacle: a pool of blood in which Marcus sees his own reflection. Credits roll over the image, beginning with a note to the audience, ‘You have been watching DEEP RED, directed by Dario Argento,’ a closing self-reference that is a hallmark of some of Argento’s greatest films. The note reflects the audience’s activity in the same way that the pool of blood, a metaphor for the entire film as a bloody spectacle, reflects Marcus. Deep Red foregoes end-of-film explanation entirely, emphasizing instead what for Argento is far more important than sense-making: the act of looking at a spectacle of violence.”

L. Andrew Cooper8

  • 1. Interview in Alan Jones, Profondo Argento: The Man, the Myths & the Magic (Guilford: FAB Press, 2004), 61.
  • 2. Maitland McDonagh, Broken Mirrors/Broken Minds: The Dark Dreams of Dario Argento (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2010), 246.
  • 3. Interview with Dario Argento on the 2011 Blue Underground blu-ray of the film.
  • 4. Dario Argento in Fabio Maiello, Dario Argento: confessioni di un maestro dell’horror (Milan: Alacrán Edizioni, 2007), 92.
  • 5. Dario Argento in Gabrielle Lucantonio, “Il cinema secondo Argento,” Giulia Carluccio, Giacomo Manzoli & Roy Menarini (eds.), L’eccesso della visione: il cinema di Dario Argento (Turin: Lindau, 2003), 19.
  • 6. Interview with Italian prog rock band Goblin on the 2011 Blue Underground blu-ray of the film.
  • 7. Interview with Bernardino Zapponi on the 2011 Blue Underground blu-ray of the film.
  • 8. L. Andrew Cooper, Dario Argento (Contemporary Film Directors series) (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2012), 60.