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Deep Red (Blu-ray Review)

Blue Underground continues to show mad love for Dario Argento on Blu-ray as do we in reviewing Dario Argento films on Why So Blu.  The latest offering from the Italian master of horror is his film Deep Red which is separate from his “Animal” trilogy and came before Suspiria. Argento was busy during the 70’s for sure!  Blue Underground has remastered and produced BOTH  versions of Deep Red. There is the 105 minute English version and the 126 minute Italian cut of the film.  The following review of Deep Red will contain information of what both cuts of the film have to offer as opposed to two separate reviews.  Come on in and take a stroll into darkness with Deep Red on Blu-ray!  

Film 

Deep Red is the story  of jazz pianist Marcus Daly (Hemmings) who is living in Rome and witnesses the brutal murder of a renowned psychic in his own apartment building.  He’s quickly sucked into a world where everything is not what it seems.  As he’s drawn further into the darkness he is joined by a tenacious reporter named Gianna Brezzi (Nicolodi) who is also eager to find out who is responsible for the murder.  As the bodies continue to pile up it will take their combined efforts and process of deduction to figure it all out before it’s too late.  The hunters will become the hunted.

Wow, does Deep Red ever impress!  Deep Red was released in 1975 and features techniques that are in common practice today.  Extended steadicam shots grace almost every frame of Deep Red. For a minute there I thought I was watching a John Carpenter or Brian De Palma film!  Deep Red came years before those two directors were even famous.  Even John Carpenter went on to say that the music theme of Deep Red inspired his Halloween music theme.  Blue Underground has included both uncensored cuts of Deep Red on this Blu-ray and the stark differences are that the 126 minute Italian cut features several comedic and chaotic subplots that do not move the story along at all.  The 105 minute cut of the film is nice and coherent and gets rid of those intrusive scenes that add nothing.

What also impressed me while watching Deep Red were the advanced techniques and mechanisms used to tell the story, such as using the art of “foreshadowing” and the more common “red herring” used by Alfred Hitchcock.  You have to remember that you’re watching a horror film, because the generalization is that horror films aren’t supposed use these creative techniques or devices.  It’s in that sense that Deep Red rises to the top.  Deep Red is a smart film without throwing it in your face;  it’s not pretentious.

Prior to watching Deep Red on Blu-ray, I had watched Dario Argento’s Inferno which didn’t blow me away with it’s story as it did with it’s colorful production design.  Deep Red is somewhat of a departure from the grand and colorful design of InfernoDeep Red’s main focus would have to be the cinematography.  Also, Inferno was the middle part of the “Three Mothers” trilogy.  Deep Red is a standalone horror film that doesn’t have anything to do with a previously established mythology. This is great, because the fans can just sit back and enjoy the film as is without having to play catch up.  Who knows, you may become an Argento fan after experiencing Deep Red for yourself.

Blue Underground have come though again with their release of Deep Red and here’s hoping that they continue releasing more of Dario Argento’s work on the Blu-ray format.  The horror community demands it!

Video 

Both versions of Deep Red are presented in 1080p 2.35:1 widescreen.  This is an absolutely lovely presentation of Deep Red. Skin tones appear natural and balanced except for the women who tend to over do it with the rouge on the face and lips, but those were the times.  The black levels are not crushed, and there is one scene that blew me away with it’s crisp and sharp black levels.  If that particular scene had not looked good it would have been ruined.  There are no signs of dirt or speckles, and a light layer of grain is present through out.  The only problem I had was right towards the end (in both cuts) where there was a light tint strobing effect.  When it would strobe it would turn into a tint of red and green.  Whether it was intentional or not I can’t be sure.  I can say that this anomaly or whatever it was knocked the score down a bit.  Other than that, Deep Red looks bellisimo!

Audio 

Deep Red is presented in English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1.  The Italian cut of Deep Red is also presented in DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1, but in Italian with English subtitles.  You have the option to switch to a lossy English track if you don’t want to watch it in Italian.  The Italian is a dubbed track, by the way.  The film was shot in most of actor’s native languages, only some where dubbed.  The audio track on Deep Red is an interesting one, because like some of the previous releases from Blue Underground go, the rear channels don’t really get a hefty workout.  They’re used for ambient tones, but even then, they’re lacking.  What is not lacking is the front soundfield or the LFE.  Goblin’s progressive music score is an auditory feast for the ears!  The bass is tight, the dialogue is clean with no clipping.  If you want to know what scenes were reinserted in the 126 minute cut I would suggest leaving the English subtitles on and switching the audio track to English 5.1 at 640kbps.  When a cut  scene appears it does not switch to English it just stays in Italian, but you can continue reading the English subtitles without missing anything.  That, and you can sometimes see the splice in the branching.

Special Features

Deep Red contains just a few tidbits of information none of which are mind blowing.  Some of these features, if not all of them were old ports from the previous release in 2000, I believe.  There is an interview with Dario Argento and his writing partner Bernardino Zapponi, and an interview with the band Goblin.  There are also a couple of music videos and a trailer.  That’s pretty much it.

  • Interviews with Co-Writer/Director Dario Argento Co-Writer Bernardino Zapponi and Goblin (Claudio Simonetti, Massimo Morante, Fabio Pignatelli & Agostino Marangolo)
  • Theatrical Trailers
  • Goblin Music Video – “Profondo Rosso” (2010) (Directed by Luigi Pastore)
  • Daemonia Music Video – “Profondo Rosso” (Directed by Sergio Stivaletti)

 

Final Thoughts 

Deep Red is a flat out masterpiece of horror.  There is no other way to say it.  Dario Argento went into his bag of horror tricks and utilized everything there was when he created Deep Red. Not only is Deep Red a masterpiece of horror it’s also a masterpiece in technical achievements.  You horror buffs or aspiring cinematographers need to study this film and see how these techniques are put to use.  I recommend watching the English cut of the film, because it omits lots of the humor and useless background characters that there are.  It flows much better than the Italian cut, and I usually go nuts for longer versions of films. Deep Red is a must buy Blu-ray for your horror film collection.

 

Order Deep Red on Blu-ray!

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Gerard Iribe is a writer/reviewer for Why So Blu?. He has also reviewed for other sites like DVD Talk, Project-Blu, and CHUD, but Why So Blu? is where the heart is. You can follow his incoherency on Twitter: @giribe

2 Responses to “Deep Red (Blu-ray Review)”


  1. Brian White

    I’m jealous! This looks like a must see! Sweet review g!

  2. Gerard Iribe

    It’s a great film, Brian.