B-Movie Corner: Deep Red

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First Posted: 1/12/2015

Deep Red was released in 1975 under its Italian name Profondo Rosso and in some American markets under the title The Hatchet Murders. The film was a commercial success internationally and met with critical acclaim, something that it still maintains to this day.

The movie begins with two shadowy figures struggling until one of them is stabbed to death while we hear a child’s scream. This immediately draws you into the film due to the confusion and mystery around this opening scene.

Next, we are taken to a lecture held by psychic Helga Ulmann in a theatre where she suddenly senses there is someone with a perverse and violent mind in the audience that she cannot clearly identify. She begins to have a breakdown on stage due to the visions.

Later that night, while Ulmann is in her apartment taking notes about the incident in the theatre, someone kicks the door in and attacks her with a meat cleaver. The killer also destroys her notes. Marcus, a jazz pianist who lives in the same apartment building, is walking home when he sees the woman being attacked through the window. He rushes into her apartment only to find the woman bleeding to death.

The murder is very violent and stylized and may not be for the faint of heart, which can be said about the film in general. However, it is done not simply to glorify violence but to portray this image as real life.

The film follows Marcus as he attempts to solve the murder of Helga Ulmann by piecing together the events that unfolded. This search leads Marcus on a winding path of murder, research, dead ends and overall confusion.

Deep Red plays almost like a Hitchcock film with more visceral violence, something Hitchcock was unable to portray during his directing years.

Throughout the film there are a series of murders and red herrings in a whodunit plotline that is full of twists and turns. The murders are not pretty and when you are expecting a cut away from the gruesome scene Dario Argento instead ratchets up the violence.

This violence does not take away anything from the film and by the time the plot is revealed and the killer is unmasked you will be blown away that nearly two hours have gone by.

Deep Red has not only held up well for a film made in 1975, but is still a film that can unsettle even modern viewers. It is an absolute must see film for fans of horror, thriller, and mystery films alike.

Final Verdict: Deep Red is a nearly perfect film in every way possible. The story is intriguing, the visual flare is breathtaking, the horror elements are flawlessly done, and the score by Goblin is mesmerizing. While many critics have issues with many Italian horror films very few have negative comments about on Deep Red. While Dario Argento’s recent film output is not nearly as enjoyable, Deep Red finds him at his peak as a director and is a must see film for horror/thriller fans!