Paperback, 432 pages
This book covers the films of Dario Argento, Italy's acknowledged master of horror and suspense, has made a career out of exploring the macabre poetry of images of violent death. He did not, however, set out to be a filmmaker. He established himself early on as a progressive voice in film criticism-lavishing praise on directors like Sergio Leone, who had yet to receive their due from the Italian critical establishment. His efforts attracted the attention of Leone himself, who invited the young critic to help develop the story for his next feature. The end result, Once Upon a Time in the West, is often cited as a masterpiece-and from there, Argento went on to enjoy success as a screenwriter before making the all-important switch to directing. His directorial debut, The Bird with the Crystal Plumage, became a major hit and helped to popularize the floundering genre of Italian thrillers, also known as gialli.
In the years since, Argento has established a high profile as one of Italian cinema's most commercially successful artists, earning a level of celebrity which is almost unheard of among film directors. His filmography includes such beloved gems as Deep Red, Suspiria, Inferno, and Phenomena, as well as more hotly-debated titles like The Stendhal Syndrome, The Phantom of the Opera, Sleepless, and Mother of Tears.
Murder by Design: The Unsane Cinema of Dario Argento explores the full scope of his work as a writer, a producer, and a director. Lavishly illustrated and with newly conducted interviews with Dario Argento, as well as such colleagues as actress (and daughter) Fiore Argento, actress Sally Kirkland, actress Irene Miracle, composer Claudio Simonetti, and cinematographer Luciano Tovoli, the book provides a comprehensive overview of Argento's life, career, and rich cinematic legacy.