BIRD WITH THE CRYSTAL PLUMAGE
L’UCCELLO DALLE PIUME DI CRISTALLO
1970, AGFA, 96 min, Italy/West Germany, Dir: Dario Argento

Director Dario Argento’s debut feature film was a huge success all over the world and served to codify the classic giallo thriller formula like no picture before or since. Visiting American writer Sam Dalmas (Tony Musante) witnesses an attempted murder when he becomes trapped in the foyer of a small art gallery. Although our hero has failed to glimpse the assailant’s face, the black-clad killer nevertheless starts dogging his trail when not busy dispatching beautiful young women. Suzy Kendall, as Musante’s girl, is stupendous as always, and a great catalogue of character actors joins in the fun, including disturbed gallery owner Eva Renzi, hitman Reggie Nalder and itinerant, cat-loving painter Mario Adorf. A pure giallo lover’s delight from beginning to end, with perhaps Ennio Morricone’s all-time greatest giallo score.


OPERA
aka TERROR AT THE OPERA
1987, 100 min, Italy, Dir: Dario Argento

One of director Dario Argento’s greatest masterpieces, OPERA is a tour-de-force of deliriously cinematic setpieces surrounding the murderous production of an operatic version of "Macbeth." (The script was inspired by Argento’s attempt to mount "Rigoletto"!) Argento’s camera moves like a thing possessed: swooping, gliding, tracking a bullet through a peephole and, in one mind-bending shot, whirling around the opera house on raven’s wings. When a prominent opera star suffers a non-fatal car accident, her understudy Betty (Cristina Marsillach) must take on the role of Lady Macbeth. Coincidentally, a deranged madman goes on a homicidal rampage. Co-starring Ian Charleson and Daria Nicolodi (DEEP RED). “A violent aria of memory, bad luck, the artistic drive and the horror of the stare. … If you've pinpointed the identity of the film's killer, it's of little consequence - the genius of the film lies not in such details but in Argento's operatic attention to death and the way in which the film's killer forces Betty's gaze.” – Ed Gonzalez, SlantMagazine.com.


DEMONS
DEMONI
1985, 88 min, Italy, Dir: Lamberto Bava

Director Lamberto Bava and producer Dario Argento engage in a bit of SCREAM-style self-consciousness in this gory delight, in which theatergoers attending a zombie movie find themselves under attack by real zombies.


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