Dario Argento is an Italian film director, producer and screenwriter best known for horror films, and particularly the sub-genre of the Giallo (Giallo, meaning ‘yellow’, the Italian term for crime fiction, so called after the yellow covers of early thriller paperbacks), is synonymous with a series of stylised films detailing the fate of amateur detectives who find themselves compromised by their involvement in crime (usually sadistic murder), resulting in amateur sleuthing in order to prove their innocence.
Before becoming a screenwriter and later a director, Argento was a film critic. The highlight of his screenwriting career would be his collaboration with Bernardo Bertolucci, for Sergio Leone’s spaghetti western, Once Upon a Time in the West. In 1969, after the release of the western, he began his career as director, by making his directorial debut with the Giallo The Bird with the Crystal Plumage. It became a major hit in Italy and in 1971 Argento followed up with The Cat o’ Nine Tails and Four Flies on Grey Velvet. These three films would become known as Argento’s “animal” trilogy. After a short break from the genre, where he filmed two TV dramas and a period comedy, he returned to thrillers with 1975’s Deep Red, often referred to by many critics as the best Giallo ever made. The film made Argento famous internationally and inspired other directors greatly, John Carpenter has frequently referred to the influence it had on Halloween (1978).
Argento’s most well-known work, Suspiria was released in 1977. It became the first part of his The Three Mothers trilogy, with Inferno in 1980 and The Mother of Tears in 2007. Between Suspiria and Inferno, he collaborated on Dawn of the Dead, with George A. Romero.
Between the makings of Inferno and The Mother of Tears, he made a number of films, starting with a return to the Giallo with Tenebrae in 1982. In 1985, he combined Giallo and supernatural fantasy with Phenomena aka Creepers. After Phenomena, Argento took a break from directing in favour of writing for Lamberto Bava’s: Demons and Demons 2, released respectively in 1985 and 1986. He returned to directing films in 1987, with Opera, a film that became notorious for real-life misfortunes, which plagued the production. In 1990 he worked once again with George A Romero on Two Evil Eyes, with each directing a segment based on two stories by Edgar Allan Poe.
In 1993 he directed Trauma with the debut appearance of his daughter Asia in one of his films. During the early 1990’s, Argento and fellow Italian director Lucio Fulci were planning to make The Wax Mask. The project was postponed continually due to financial problems. However, Fulci died in March 1996. Sergio Stivaletti would later direct the film, with screenwriting credits given to both Argento and Fulci. In the same year, he made the first Italian film to make use of CGI effects, The Stendhal Syndrome. He finished the 90’s, with The Phantom of the Opera (1998).
He started the 2000’s with the film Sleepless in 2001 and continued with The Card Player in 2004. In 2005, he directed the TV film, Do You Like Hitchcock? A homage to the famous director Alfred Hitchcock. Later that year, he would make his first episode for anthology series Masters of Horror with Jenifer. The following year, he made his second episode, with Pelts. After Pelts, he finally finished his Three Mothers trilogy, with Mother of Tears, in 2007.
Biography courtesy of Senses of Cinema, IMDB & Wikipedia
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