Deep Red – New Release Blu-Ray Review

Considered Dario Argento’s masterpiece by many, this ambitious and unsettling giallo is arriving in two versions on Blu-Ray from Arrow Video.

Here’s our review:

The Film

Full of disconcertingly clever little touches, Deep Red’s whole atmosphere seems bathed in the deeply psychological macabre. The film is absent for the most part of big scare moments, though Argento isn’t above chucking in a creepy mannequin if that’s what it takes. For the most part, however, the effect comes from a sense of gathering dread, one of its best moments early on involving a psychic detecting the presence of a twisted mind inside the theatre in which she’s performing. The effect is helped along by dedicated performances, including the wonderful English actor David Hemmings, as well as a script unusually interested in its characters’ psychologies; not the operatic madness common to giallo, but a more subtle and human understanding. While not free of certain deficiencies seen across the board in the genre – an irresistible compulsion to shoot totally irrelevant scenes, a fairly nonsensical plot – Deep Red stands nonetheless as one of the best examples of its type.

Audio and Visuals

The film is famous for its haunting progressive rock score by Goblin, who scored several other Argento films as well as George A. Romero’s Zombi – Dawn of the Dead. The score still sounds good, but the restoration retains a slightly murky quality, and the same goes for the visuals.

Presentation

The box, with the customary reversible artwork, is bold and dramatic, and the menu features Goblin’s main theme over clips from the film.

Extras

Firstly, the film contains two cuts of the film: the unedited original, here confusingly called “The Director’s Cut”, and the shorter director’s cut, made for international distribution, labelled as “Export Version”. The Director’s Cut can be viewed in Italian with English subtitles, or in English, with Italian dialogue in those scenes which, due to being excised from the international version, were never dubbed in English, while the Export Version is available only in English. All of the extras are to be found on the Director’s Cut disc, the first being a really good, in-depth but never dry commentary on the film by Thomas Rostock. “Profondo Giallo” is a solid video essay by Michael Mackenzie. “Rosso Recollections” is an interview with Argento, the best moment coming when the flustered director denies any gay theme to the film, a claim baldly asserted by both Michael Mackenzie and Thomas Rostock elsewhere on the same disc. “The Lady in Red” is an interesting enough interview with actress Daria Nicolodi, and “Music to Murder For!” features Claudio Simonetti, of Goblin, discussing his work on the film’s score. “Profondo Rosso: From Celluloid to Shop” is a very interesting look inside the Profondo Rosso shop in Rome, guided by Argento collaborator Luigi Cozzi and featuring artefacts from the films of almost every member of the 70s Italian exploitation scene. The Export Version disc features only a trailer.

Overall

It’s a bit of a masterpiece and it’s packaged irresistibly. What more could you want?


Deep Red is available today (25th January) on Blu-Ray. Limited to 5,000 copies, this exclusive 3-disc release offers up a stunning new 4k transfer of both the international cut (105 mins) and the director’s cut (127 mins). Will you be getting your hands on a copy? Let us know in the comment box below!

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