DEEP RED (1975) reviews and overview of Argento’s seminal Giallo


Deep Red – original title: Profondo rosso; also known as The Hatchet Murders – is a 1975 Italian giallo horror thriller feature film, directed by Dario Argento from a screenplay co-written with Bernardino Zapponi. It was produced by Claudio and Salvatore Argento, and the film’s score was composed and performed by prog rock band Goblin.


Music teacher Marcus Daly (David Hemmings) investigates the violent murder of psychic medium Helga Ulmann (Macha Meril), a violent act he witnesses in an apartment building. Other major characters are introduced early, including Daly’s friend Carlo (Gabriele Lavia), Ulmann’s associate Doctor Giordani (Glauco Mauri) and reporter Gianna Brezzi (Daria Nicolodi).

After his attempt to rescue the medium fails, Daly realizes he has seen a certain painting among a group of portraits on the wall of the victim’s apartment, but it seems to have disappeared when the police arrive. Later in the film, he also initially overlooks another clue that causes him to discover a mouldering corpse walled up in a derelict house.

One murder leads to a series of others as Daly’s obsession with this vital clue that he fails to understand endangers his life and that of everyone with whom he comes into contact…




The film has a soundtrack that hammers away relentlessly (it’s Goblin at full prog rock flow) and the visuals – looking wonderful here – often match, with weird angles, tight close-ups and vivid colours bleeding out of the screen.

The violence is intense – the killings still seem pretty strong even today – and the plot, while unlikely to stand up to detailed scrutiny, will keep you guessing, as Argento piles on the misleading hints and red herrings leading up to the revelation as to whom is the unlikely killer.

David Flint, MOVIES & MANIA

Other reviews:

“Deep Red gets an amazing hi-def release by Arrow Video on not just one, but two Blu-rays in a set that is comprised of the two official cuts of the film (both hi-def) and a slew of documentaries and interviews. On top of this, I’d have to say that this is hands-down the best looking Argento transfer I’ve had the pleasure of watching from Arrow Video. Very highly recommended.” Video Tape Swap Shop

“Though there’s some clunker dialogue (“There’s somebody in the house…g…uh… a-absolutely trying to kill me, ya know?”) and it lags a bit here and there, it more than makes up for that with impressive horror / suspense set pieces, which are stylish, imaginatively shot, sometimes pretty startling (two words: creepy doll) and range from good to downright brilliant.” The Bloody Pit of Horror





Cast and characters:

  • David Hemmings as Marcus Daly
  • Daria Nicolodi as Gianna Brezzi
  • Gabriele Lavia as Carlo
  • Macha Méril as Helga Ulmann
  • Eros Pagni as Supt. Calcabrini
  • Giuliana Calandra as Amanda Righetti
  • Piero Mazzinghi as Bardi
  • Glauco Mauri as Prof. Giordani
  • Clara Calamai as Martha (originally credited as playing “Carlo’s mother”)
  • Aldo Bonamano as Carlo’s father
  • Liana Del Balzo as Elvira
  • Vittorio Fanfoni as Cop taking notes
  • Dante Fioretti as Police photographer
  • Geraldine Hooper as Massimo Ricci
  • Jacopo Mariani as Young Carlo (as Iacopo Mariani)
  • Nicoletta Elmi as Olga