The perfect place to start for any horror fan, or for that matter, any film fan wanting to get an understanding of the reasoning why Argento is credited as one of the leading directors in the field. This is where it all begins, a classic giallo, totally inspired by Bava, but totally Argento from start to finish.
Sam, (Tony Musante) an American writer working in Italy witnesses an attempted murder through a huge glass frontage of an Art Gallery. But something is not right and the situation keeps playing in the back of his mind. Meanwhile, he’s stalked by the killer and questioned by the police. He decides to undertake some investigations himself.
Beautifully shot, this film is crisp, sharp and perfect in execution which in some way differentiates away from the Bava feel which is far more of an artistic one, Argento’s is more clinical. The lighting is also perfect and a toned down imitation of Bava which can be a good thing which can bring a bit more of a balance to the film. The actors can step up to the mark, rather than fade into the arty direction and become part of the overall image. The plot is also very solid and intriguing, the whole idea of Sam having something in his mind, a missing clue to the murder attempt which he witnesses with flash back visions of that night. That whole scene is outstanding too. The structure of the gallery window, through which Sam watches the crime is like a huge cinema screen that Sam is trying to climb through.
Something else to point out, the opening scene totally reshot by Tarantino in Death Proof, frame for frame as a voyeurist takes photographs from a distance of his target. Tarentino also adds the original score from Bird with the Crystal Plumage, adding another little clue as to his chosen homage.
As I say, this is a great place to start. Over the next few days, we’ll see Argento’s direction change and move into a more vivid style, and pull back to this original look and feel as he’s been trying to recapture his original magic, not of the Suspiria and Inferno, but of ‘Bird’, Deep Red and Tenebre.