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Dario Argento is an Italian filmmaker born in Rome on September 7th, 1940. Since a young age, Dario has always been attracted to film and has worked in nearly all elements of the industry including directing, producing, screenwriting and editing. He is considered a staple of the giallo sub-genre and is best known for directing films such as Deep Red, Suspiria, Trauma, and the 1998 remake of Phantom of the Opera. His daughter Asia Argento, born in 1975, is an actress and director as well and has appeared in such films as Demons 2, Trauma, The Stendhal Syndrome and Land of the Dead.

Dario's father, Salvatore Argento, was a movie production executive and his mother, Elda Luxardo, was a photographer from Brazil. Dario had no formal education as it relates to film and found work as a journalist, first as a movie critic and later as a columnist for the Paese Sera.

Career[edit | edit source]

Poster to the 1977 film Suspiria.

Dario's earliest known film work was the 1966 Italian comedy short Scusi, lei è favorevole o contrario?, which he co-wrote with Alberto Sordi. Through the late 1960s, he collaborated on several more movies including Every Man is My Enemy, Today We Kill, Tomorrow We Die, and Commandos. His first major studio work was on the 1968 spaghetti western Once Upon a Time in the West directed by noted filmmaker Sergio Leone.

In 1970, Dario Argento made his directorial debut with the mystery suspense-thriller The Bird With the Crystal Plumage, which was loosely based on the 1949 pulp novel The Screaming Mimi by Fredric Brown. The movie performed exceptionally well at the box office grossing 1,650,000,000 Italian Lira and has since become a signature piece of the giallo genre.

Dario followed this up in 1971 with The Cat o' Nine Tails, another suspense thriller, which he co-wrote with Luigi Collo. The film starred Karl Malden as Franco Arno, a blind retired journalist who becomes involved in a mystery involving bizarre scientific experiments.

Dario's penchant for directing ripping psycho-thrillers evolved into the macabre with dashes of the occult or supernatural beginning with 1975's Deep Red, which involved a psychic who foretold the events of his own murder.

Argento followed this up in 1977 with Suspiria, arguably his most well-known film to date. Suspiria starred former Dark Shadows star Joan Bennett as the head mistress of a girls' school that becomes the target of a witch. This was Argento's first "true" horror film. Suspiria was the first of three thematically connected, though otherwise unrelated films called "The Three Mothers" series. A quasi-sequel was produced in 1980 called Inferno, which involved two siblings investigating a string of bizarre murders. The final film in the arc, The Mother of Tears, was released in 2007. The concept behind "The Three Mothers" originated with Suspiria de Profundis, translated from Latin as "Sighs from the depths", which was a collection of short essays written by Thomas De Quincey and published in 1845. One of the pieces, "Levana and Our Ladies of Sorrow" introduces the notion of the Three Sorrows, which is represented in each of Argento's films in the trilogy. The Three Sorrows are identified as "Mater Lacrymarum, Our Lady of Tears," "Mater Suspiriorum, Our Lady of Sighs," and "Mater Tenebrarum, Our Lady of Darkness."

Dario Argento first earned the attention of mainstream American audiences when he collaborated on venerated "zombie" director George Romero on his 1978 sequel to Night of the Living Dead entitled Dawn of the Dead. Dario worked as a co-producer on the film.

Throughout the 1980s, Dario returned to more conventional giallo fare, directing such films as Tenebre (a slasher film) in 1982, Phenomena in 1985 and Opera in 1987.

In 1990, he directed "The Black Cat" segment in the anthology film Two Evil Eyes. In 1993 he directed Trauma, which co-starred his daughter Asia Argento. In 1996, he directed Stendhal Syndrome, which again starred daughter Asia and in 1998 he became the fifth director to film an adaptation of Gaston Leroux's Phantom of the Opera starring Julian Sands of the Warlock film series.

In the 2000s, he directed two episodes of Mick Garris' horror anthology series, Masters of Horror. He directed "Jenifer" in 2005 and "Pelts" in 2006.

In 2011, Dario Argento began pre-production on the film Dracula 3D starring Rutger Hauer. He was also tapped to co-produce a remake of his 1977 classic Suspiria. [1]

Body of work[edit | edit source]

Film[edit | edit source]

Television[edit | edit source]

Notes & Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • Also known by the name Sirio Bernadotte.
  • Dario Argento 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 from his movies. The store is managed by his long time collaborator and friend Luigi Cozzi.
  • Actress/screenwriter Daria Nicolodi has appeared in seven Dario Argento films.

External Links[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

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This article relates to the works of Dario Argento.
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