A Complex of Carnage: Dario Argento: Beneath the Surface

Overview

Dario Argento is the visionary Italian giallo director whose films such as Bird With The Crystal Plumage, Four Flies On Grey Velvet, Deep Red, Suspiria, and Inferno have shocked and disturbed audiences since the 1970s. Argento's films assault the eye with incredible colour schemes, transgressive twists, and bloody human carnage - but that is merely the surface.

In-depth analysis of Argento's narratives reveals an occult undercurrent seething with abjection, compulsion, paranoia,...

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Overview

Dario Argento is the visionary Italian giallo director whose films such as Bird With The Crystal Plumage, Four Flies On Grey Velvet, Deep Red, Suspiria, and Inferno have shocked and disturbed audiences since the 1970s. Argento's films assault the eye with incredible colour schemes, transgressive twists, and bloody human carnage - but that is merely the surface.

In-depth analysis of Argento's narratives reveals an occult undercurrent seething with abjection, compulsion, paranoia, schizophrenia and sexual psychosis; A COMPLEX OF CARNAGE reveals and explores this buried syndrome of manias in four separate essays, and is illustrated with over 80 illuminating photographic images, including 40 in stunning full colour.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781902588230
  • Publisher: Glitter Books
  • Publication date: 7/28/2012
  • Pages: 139
  • Product dimensions: 6.80 (w) x 5.00 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Jack Hunter is author and editor of over 20 previous books on cinema, including EROS IN HELL and MOONCHILD, as well as the popular book on Japanese art, DREAM SPECTRES, and the counter-culture classic FREAK BABYLON.
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Read an Excerpt

Whether crawling along a floor or tracking up the sides of a building, Dario Argento's sinister and ever restless camera draws fervent devotees. To accompany his wandering eye, Argento also provides rich, idyllic scenes in which to view. Well known motifs include: the ever famous black leather gloves, resplendent red hues of blood, glistening knife blades, masked killers, eerie aggressive soundtracks, tortured eyes, and of course murder. His quarter century of film directing partly locates itself neatly into a horror "sub-genre” known as the giallo. This term, first made famous by Italian director Mario Bava, literally means "yellow” and stems from Italian crime books which were traditionally bound in yellow covers. Whereas traditional horror and mystery films emphasise a struggling yet surviving protagonist who overcomes tragedies or solves the horrific conundrum, the giallo places equal (if not more) importance on the actual method of killing as well as solving the crime. Argento has however, imbued the giallo with a distinctive aura all his own.
His characters usually suffer from a repressed libido. They grow twisted and deranged, leading to total immersion into madness. Male characters are ill-suited to traditional notions of the phallocentric hero. That is, they lack the power and the authority commonly associated with men in horror films. Female characters also defy simple categorisation. Both genders partake in killing, both become victims. And in some cases, the murderer's gender is revealed during the closing minutes of the narrative. When a crime is dissolved, a sense of unsettlement lingers because Argento denies the sense of emotional release associated with horror films. Boundaries between good and evil are so unclearly demarcated that one is left to wonder which position has really been conquered while the films' protagonists are frequently left both mentally and physically scarred. Finally, by means of recurring motifs and a dynamic gaze, Argento's giallo builds intricate webs of subjectivity between the characters and spectators of his films.
I choose here to discuss Profondo Rosso and Opera in relation to psychoanalysis and feminist film theory because these two fascinating texts most clearly illustrate the relationship of subjectivity to "fetishisation” and the gaze. As briefly mentioned earlier, Argento uses his camera to a dynamic end. The use of point of view shots (I-camera) have virtually become a trade mark of "slasher” films ....
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