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Dario Argento's Bloody October

MUBI Special

With his first features hitting the big screen in the early 1970s, maverick auteur Dario Argento steadily made his way to become the pioneer of the giallo genre he’s regarded as today. Glove-handed serial-killers, vertiginous camera angles, over-the-top oneiric deaths, alluringly eerie scores: these are just some of the ingredients that make up his unsettling, hallucinatory body of work. With a trademark style deeply influenced by “Master of Suspense” Alfred Hitchcock and a directorial vision daringly unbound by the rules of logic, Argento’s cinema experiments with the rules of the erotic thriller to frightening yet entertaining results.

We celebrate the season of horror cinema that is October with five of the maestro’s finest, most terrifying works. Starting with The Cat o’ Nine Tails, which builds itself around a tense detective story fueled by unusual staging and knotty plot-lines, through to the unfathomable terrors of The Stendhal Syndrome—there is ceaseless dread to be found in between. Happy Halloween!

Deep Red

Dario Argento Italy, 1975

We close out Dario Argento’s Bloody October with this eerie yet unspeakably beautiful thriller steeped in unsettling architecture, ominous camera movement, and David Hemmings’s baffled investigation, all set to Goblin’s unforgettable score. Brace yourself for what might be the master’s finest hour.

The Stendhal Syndrome

Dario Argento Italy, 1996

Dario Argento united with his daughter for this unusual family giallo collaboration which finds Asia as a young policewoman afflicted by the titular disease: art’s masterpieces have a mesmeric, transportive effect on her. A rabbit hole of total ruin and horror ensues. Not for the faint of heart!


Dario Argento Italy, 1987

Cinema has seen its share of Phantom of the Opera adaptations, and yet Dario Argento’s cacophonous telling entirely renews the veracity of a classic tale. Released in the U.S. as Terror at the Opera, this revision moves to beyond the rules of 1980s horror to a realm of pure, ecstatic terror.


Dario Argento Italy, 1980

Following Suspiria, Argento invoked the power of witches once more with this loose continuation (and part of the “Three Mothers” trilogy)—a fever dream crosscut between haunting synchronicities in New York City and Rome. Like its illustrious predecessor, Inferno is another irresistible nightmare.

The Cat o' Nine Tails

Dario Argento Italy, 1971

This October delve into the thrills and horror of maestro Dario Argento. A deeply influential disciple of Hitchcock, Argento’s run of gory, ingeniously orchestrated genre films in the 70s through early 90s capture the devilishly nightmarish side of cinema. His second film is giallo at its best.

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