Dario Argento was born on 7 September, 1940 in Rome, Italy. The son of acclaimed film producer Salvatore Argento, Dario began his career in the movie industry as a film critic for various magazines. His love of movies led to him finding work as a screenwriter, after which he wrote several screenplays for a number of films. His most notable was Once Upon a Time in the West, directed by the legendary Sergio Leone. However, once Argento began directing his own films, his popularity soared.
His directorial debut came in the form of giallo flick The Bird with the Crystal Plumage. After achieving critical acclaim, Argento went on to direct The Cat o’ Nine Tails and Four Flies on Grey Velvet; often referred to as his ‘Animal Trilogy’. After a break from the thriller/horror scene, Argento returned in 1975 with his masterpiece Deep Red. Frequently cited as the ‘best giallo ever made’, the movie is often credited as the inspiration behind many iconic horror flicks. John Carpenter has stated on many occasions that Argento’s early work is what inspired fan-favourite Halloween (1978).
Following the birth of his daughter, Asia Argento, Dario continued his critical success with the spellbinding hit Suspiria (1977). He originally intended this to be the first of a trio of movies surrounding “The Three Mothers“. However, the trilogy was not complete until after the turn of the century. Inferno (1980) came first, eventually followed by Mother of Tears (2007).
The 1980’s brought us Tenebrae (1982) and Phenomena (1985), after which, Argento took a break from directing. He wrote the screenplays for Lamberto Bava‘s Demons (Demoni) and its sequel before getting back into the director’s chair for his next movie Opera. The ill-fated flick was ravaged by real-life misfortunes, which Argento suspected were caused by the supposed “curse” of the Shakespearean play. The initial lead in the movie, Vanessa Redgrave, quit the project, Argento’s long-time girlfriend and collaborator ended their relationship, and his father, Salvatore, passed away. There were also a number of minor accidents involving the cast and crew throughout the filming of the movie.
90’s – Present day
In the beginning of the 90’s, Argento teamed up with Romero once again on the two-part horror-thriller Two Evil Eyes (1990). He then went on to direct Trauma (1993), The Stendhal Syndrome (1996) and The Phantom of the Opera (1998). Following this he returned to the giallo flicks, giving us Sleepless (2001), The Card Player (2004) and Do You Like Hitchcock? (2005), as well as two gory, supernatural-themed episodes of the USA TV cable anthology series Masters of Horror (2005).
Did you know?
He is involved in a horror memorabilia store in Rome named Profondo Rosso, after his classic film Deep Red. In the cellar is a collection of his movies. The store is managed by his long-time collaborator and friend Luigi Cozzi.
He has contributed in the development of the survival horror video game Dead Space, and also in the dubbing of the Dr. Kyne character in the Italian version of the game.
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