Dario Argento interview: “There is a magic around murder and I try to use my imagination to explore it”

BBCC: Let’s go back to the beginning of your debut track The Bird with the Crystal Plumage. The film was played live in Milan for several years. Why do you think it was so popular?

DA: I think it was because it was the first time that psychology and psychoanalysis were included in a Giallo film, and it went beyond the usual Giallo films of the time. Most of them didn’t have many layers. I added psychological depth. This is probably why it was so popular, and why it was so imitated by other directors afterwards.

In this regard, I was greatly influenced by the American films of the 1950s and 60s, especially those made by Val Lewton. He used to make very low budget films. Distribution companies used to screen them as B-movies or second films on a double bill. But Lewton allowed directors such as Jacques Tourneur, Mark Robson and Robert Wise to make low-budget films with incredible psychological stories.

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BBCC: The music for the movie The Bird with the Crystal Feather was written by the famous Ennio Morricone. You are known for your detailed relationship with soundtracks, especially with the experimental rock band Goblin [who scored Suspiria and a number of others], and you also play a role in it. How is working with a unique composer and a band different?

DA: It’s completely different. With Morricone, he had to create a symphony for long scenes and long takes to create atmosphere. A band like Goblin has the freedom to go crazy, really crazy. The score that the orchestra makes for a single scene has to be immediately explosive, so the relationship to the composition is different.

BBCC: With the thriller Deep Red [1975], a more supernatural element was introduced to cinema, as opposed to more straightforward murder-driven thrillers and Giallo films. Distinguishes the straighter Gialló from his more supernatural films like Suspiria and Phenomemen [1985]?

DA: I myself do not make such a distinction, as inspiration does not come from my mind, but from my soul. I can never predict which movie will have more supernatural elements than thriller or vice versa.

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BBCC: Architecture is important in your films. How do you choose your buildings and locations?

DA: Sometimes I have cities in my head that would fit in my films, so I go around them and look for buildings. Sometimes I already know buildings that can work well in certain places. I really like driving around and looking for the right vibe until I know the city and its buildings well enough to decide.

BBCC: Suspiria, your tale of witches haunting a German dance school, is arguably your most famous film. It is also one of the most striking films ever made. How did you achieve the striking color selection?

DA: This required a long study by myself and cinematographer Luciano Tovoli. We wanted to achieve the same colors as early Western films shot in Technicolor. Thus, finding the coloring and the color palette was our first joint decision; the red sunsets, the blue uniforms, etc. inspired by its colors in those early westerns. We also looked at the colors of early Disney animations such as Cinderella [1950]. This was so that we could get the right colors.

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Source: https://www.bbc.com/culture/article/20230517-dario-argento-interview-there-is-a-fascination-surrounding-murder-and-i-try-to-use-my-fantasy-to-explore-it?ocid=global_culture_rss