Continuing the countdown of my favourite 11 horror films
#4 “Profondo Rosso” (1975) (aka ‘Deep Red’, ‘The Hatchet Murders)
I first saw ‘Profondo Rosso’ via an imported NTSC VHS tape under the title ‘The Hatchet Murders’ in the mid 1980’s. The tape was a blurry pan and scan edition which completely obliterated Argento’s careful composition. A few years later I bought the Anchor Bay region 1 DVD of the film and it was like watching it for the first time.
Unlike many of Argento’s films ‘Profondo Rosso’ is probably his most linear film. It has a beginning, a middle and an end. The script is witty and clever and the cast are superb. The chemistry between Hemmings and Nicolodi is wonderful. What I love about the film most (and what was completely lost on the VHS tape I watched) is that the answer to who the murderer is is there all along…As long as you were paying attention. And I’ve never come across anyone who has noticed it in their first viewing.
The Goblin score, although borrowing quite heavily from Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells in places, is their best in my opinion and works extremely well with the film. Everything about the film is polished and Argento has never been better than ‘Profondo Rosso’.
If you wish to watch the film today there are two options. For the best presentation of the film I recommend the Blue Underground blu ray disc which includes the director’s cut and the shorter export cut with many Italian only scenes exorcised. Personally I prefer the director’s cut. The Blue Underground disc is region free. The other option is Arrow Video’s presentation. The presentation of the film has some issues, which if you are interested can be found out easily enough with a google search. The extras on the Arrow discs are far superior than the Blue Underground disc and for that reason, and the fact that it’s a superb film, I recommend double dipping and getting both. Those of you reading this from outside the UK be aware that the Arrow package is region B locked.
Argento was on top form when he made ‘Profondo Rosso’. It’s a shame to see how far he has fallen from his pedestal with films like ‘Argento’s Dracula’ but don’t let that take anything away from his work here. It truly is a work of art.