Dario Argento at the Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival in 2007

 "I like women, especially beautiful ones. If they have a good face and figure, I would much prefer to watch them being murdered than an ugly girl or man. I certainly don't have to justify myself to anyone about this. I don't care what anybody thinks or reads into it."

An Italian horror director, producer and screenwriter best known for his unique visual style and seminal work in the Giallo sub-genre. Though never particularly coherent or well-written, his films remain quite frightening and very cool to look at when he's at the top of his game. Widely considered to be at his peak during the seventies and eighties, with Deep Red and Suspiria usually cited as his best work and Opera as the last really watchable film he made.

His daughter Asia Argento has appeared in many of his films.

His filmography includes:

He also directed two episodes for the TV series Masters of Horror: Jenifer in season one, Pelts in season two.

Tropes commonly associated with this director include:

  • Acquitted Too Late: The Bird with the Crystal Plumage, Deep Red, Tenebre.
  • Bizarrchitecture: Argento's films might best be described as a series of set-pieces designed to spotlight strange architecture and colors.
  • Boarding School of Horrors: Suspiria, Phenomena.
  • Body Horror: Even aside from all the mutilations, there are a number of disfigured or otherwise weird-looking people in these movies.
  • Creator Cameo: Several of Argento's films feature an opening narration. In the original Italian, the narrator is Argento himself.
  • Crowning Music of Awesome: Most of his films feature outstanding and bizarre (in the best sense of the word) scores by Italian prog rock band Goblin, and later on by their ex-member Claudio Simonetti.
  • Dull Surprise: Someone in just about every movie, though the protagonist of Opera may be the worst offender.

 Betty: "I should never have taken that part. Why why did I do it."

  • Executive Meddling: Argento's reputation as the most censored man in films; the bulk of his films have been heavily cut for US release, most notably Suspiria (most of the major murder scenes are hacked up to remove just about all of the gore) and Tenebre (released as Unsane) not only lost about ten minutes of key scenes (including the film's two big set piece scenes and the series of flashbacks that explain the killer's motives) but also tact on a disco song over the end credits...
    • Similarly, Inferno was sat on for nearly six years before being dumped onto the US market via a video release, Opera was denied a theatrical release when Argento refused to cut an epilogue scene/gratuitous Shout-Out to "The Sound of Music", and Paramount ruthlessly kept "Four Flies on Grey Velvet" from ever seeing the light of day on home video or DVD, and was considered by many to be his only "lost" film until it was finally made available on an official DVD release for the first time, uncut, by MYA Communication Company... in 2009, more than 30 years after after its original release.
    • Some footage was actually missing in the MYA DVD release (to their credit, it wasn't censorship, but print damage) and, once again, where thought to be definitely lost for good. Known known amongst Argento fans as the legendary “missing forty seconds”, in 2012 Shameless Screen Entertainment announced their DVD and Blu-Ray release (in order to celebrate the film's 40th anniversary) will have this missing forty seconds.
  • Gainax Ending
  • Gorn
  • Hand of Death: The creepy thing is that Argento used to do all his "black gloves" insert shots himself, standing in for the killer.
    • Even odder given the fact that the killer often turns out to be the character played by his wife, Daria Nicolodi.
      • Not quite. Daria Nicolodi's character is the killer in only one of six Argento films she's appeared in, Phenomena..
      • And Inferno, though it was anyone's guess as to what was going on at the end of that movie anyway.
      • Not even that. Her character is killed about 3/4 of the way through the movie by cats. The killer was played by Veronica Lazar.
  • High Octane Nightmare Fuel: Invoked Trope. He is a horror director, after all.
  • Kensington Gore
  • Meaningful Background Event: One trademark of the giallo genre, especially Argento's pictures; the characters -- and the audience too -- only get a brief glimpse of something that they don't realize was important until later, and are stuck trying to remember it for the rest of the film.
  • Mind Screw
  • Rule of Scary: This, as opposed to logic, is what dictates the course of an Argento plot.
  • Stuffed Into the Fridge: This and Bizarrchitecture constitute about 90% of any given Argento film.
  • Too Dumb to Live: The reason so many people get killed in your average Argento movie is because the protagonists are so goddamn slow figuring everything out.
  • Twist Ending
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