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Saturday, October 2, 2010

October Horror Movie of the Day #2 - The Bird with the Crystal Plumage

The Film: The Bird with the Crystal Plumage
The Director: Dario Argento (Suspiria, Tenebre, Deep Red)
The Cast: Tony Musante, Suzy Kendall, Eva Renzi
Release Date: February 19, 1970

Anyone worth their weight in horror knowledge will tell you that Dario Argento is one of the most groundbreaking filmmakers to ever pick up a camera.  Billed as "The Italian Hitchcock" by many, Argento has made a 40-year career out of thrilling audiences while harnessing luscious colors, featuring gorgeous women in various states of peril, and providing a sense of mystery that often resembles our worst dreams.

Such is the case in his directorial debut, The Bird with the Crystal Plumage, in which a young man witnesses the murder of a beautiful redheaded girl (get it?) and struggles to unravel the mystery while avoiding those who know what he knows.  Argento, who had cut his teeth working with the great Sergio Leone on films like Once Upon a Time in the West, shows a natural talent for creating tension and framing terror; highlighted by a wonderful sequence where a woman on a seemingly normal stairwell is terrorized in both complete darkness and brightest light.  Argento would go on to make many giallo classics (giallo = the Italian slasher/mystery genre) throughout his career, and The Bird with the Crystal Plumage is a great starting point for anyone interested in his other works. 

(And yes, I know. Suspiria is the Argento film that anyone who's even remotely interested in horror MUST see.  But everyone else is gonna love that this month.  I'm being diff, don't harsh my mellow.)