Dario Argento is Italy’s most iconic horror director and normally labeled a master of horror. He is best known for his work in the giallo genre, a subgenre of horror that mixes in elements of murder mystery and thriller. To celebrate his legacy and the newly released remake of Suspiria, we have decided to make a look at his ten best films. This list will only contain films he directed so as awesome as the Demons films and The Church are, they will not be featured on this list.
The Stendhal Syndrome (1996)
The 90’s and onward weren’t so kind to Argento’s career as he has released mostly bad films since then. This 1996, giallo classic though, is a big exception. Localized by Troma,this films tells the story of a young detective (Asia Argento) who suffers from a disorder that cause he to mentally get lost in paintings. This film is more story driven than the norm and his one of his most trippy for sure.
Cat O Nine Tales (1971)
Part 2 of Argento’s “animal trilogy” the films title refers to the whip of the same name. Though this might be the least favorite of the director’s own films, it’s still a decent giallo with some fun kills.
Two Evil Eyes (1990)
This overlooked gem is an anthology film involving both Romero and Italian, legend Dario Argento. It features two stories, both based on the works of Edgar Allen Poe with Argento directing The Black Catand Romero directing The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar. While Romero’s skit is still good, Argento’s is by far the better one.
Bird with the Crystal Plumage (1970)
The first of the animal trilogy is also Argento’s first film as director. The film is very Hithcockian but you can also see the man’s style start to bleed in with this one.
This direct sequel to Suspiria is one of the masters best films. Exploring on the Three Mothers lore of the first film, this film my not be as good and artsy as Suspiria, but it’s still an amazing will that is better in the story and character department than most Argento films.
Consdiered by man to be Argento’s last good film, Opera is a very fun and tension filled ride. Many Hitchcock nodes can be seen here and the story is very good besides the ending.
One of his most bizarre films, Phenomena is seen as the main inspiration behind clocktower. Jennifer Connolly stars as a girl who finds out she has the ability to communicate with insects. She uses this ablity as well as help from a scientist played by Donald Pleasance to solve a murder(not making this up). As silly as the premise is it doesnt stop this from being an amazing horror film with a great score by Goblin and awesome songs by metal acts such as Maiden.
A return to more grounded in reality horror after dwelling in the supernatural subgenre for years. An American writer moves to Rome to promote his murder mystery book. He then later ends up having to stop a killer who is copying the murders from his book.
Deep Red (1975)
Also know as The Hatchet Murders, this flick is what started Argento’s signature style. This was also the first film to be scored by the prog rock band Goblin. With very creepy visuals, creative deaths, Deep Red is a masterpiece that should be seen by all horror lovers.
Seen as one of the best horror movies of all time and for good reason, Suspiria is a film whose influence is vast and endless to this day. A woman ( played by Jessica Harper) goes to a dance school in Germany. Things go south fast as people are murdered one by one and other bizarre occurrences such as strange sounds and maggots appearing everywhere start happening. The films use of color is very influential as it is nodded to in some modern films like The Neon Demon and Beyond the Black Rainbow. The score is both catchy and really creepy and remains a top horror score to this day. The Story while not deep is told in a very stylish manner that’s also loaded with tension,suspense and atmosphere. A remake was just released and lets hope it can hold up to this masterpiece of horror.