Should Dario Argento just stop making films already? It’s sad, really, that the guy who once made gems such as Suspiria and Deep Red has devolved into somebody who, just today, was referred to as a “bad Uwe Boll” by an Ain’t It Cool News contributor. Which, essentially, is equivalent to saying “shitty feces.” Glimmers of hope that Argento could bumrush skepticism and deliver another balls-out murder mystery poked through when word came that his next one, the no-frills-titled Giallo, would be in the vein of his past gore-shows, and even star an Academy Award nominee (Adrien Brody). It may not be a slam dunk, but surely it’d be better in actual quality than his last, the awful-yet-tough-to-look-away-from Mother of Tears. If not, somebody please take the man’s camera away from him.
Well, as that “bad Uwe Boll” comment alludes to, word on Giallo is that its a steaming pile. Laughable for all the wrong reasons. Full of poor acting and overall ineptitude. The film recently screened at Frightfest out in TKTK, and the bad reviews are trickling in at a growing clip. What a shame, because at one time (way before MY time, mind you, though I can revisit it thanks to DVD) Argento was one of the most exciting horror filmmakers around. Last week, I gave his 1971 “lost movie” 4 mosche di velluto grigio (Four Flies on Grey Velvet) another spin—-certainly not his best film, but definitely one of his most overlooked. It’s part of the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s upcoming Agrento retrospective series, and since I won’t be able to attend I set up my own personal viewing.
Four Flies on Grey Velvet has everything you’d want from vintage Argento—drawn-out, elaborate kill sequences that erupt in geysers of visually-stunning, almost radiant bloodshed; random occurrences and small touches that make no sense yet work due to their sheer insanity (a baby-faced mask and usage of flies as jewelry-dressing here); and classic Argento murder setpieces, including one great offing that employs a backward tracking shot down a flight of stairs that’s pure Psycho/Arbogast. There’s also a final “killer reveal” that is obvious all along, but is resolved so crazily that the laziness of the twist is forgiven. That last point leads to today’s Scene of Mine: the final shot of this film, which you’ll find at the end of the Spoiler-Heavy Youtube clip linked here. Out of context, the five minutes leading up the last shot will be an utter mess of confusion and overdone melodrama, I’m sure, but bare with it. The way that Argento sends off the killer in such a out-of-left-field manner is worth the time spent watching the entire film alone. Especially the unnecessarily-slow-and-long You’re About To Die POV he uses, which—I’m guessing—was an inspiration for Quentin Tarantino’s four-perspective crash sequence in Death Proof.
Here it is, the final shot of Four Flies on Grey Velvet. Check it out while mourning the once-unbeatable anarchy that was a Dario Argento-staged on-screen death: Youtube — Four Flies on Grey Velvet (Final Seven Minutes)