Five Favorite Films with Dario Argento

The legendary Italian horror director talks about his favorite filmmakers, his take on Dracula, and the changing world of film criticism.

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Dario Argento needs little introduction to horror movie fans. The former movie critic got his start collaborating on screenplays like Sergio Leone's towering Once Upon a Time in the West, before launching his career in the 1970s with a string of giallo hits like The Bird With the Crystal Plumage, The Cat o' Nine Tails and Deep Red, then crafting such cult horror classics as 1977's Suspiria -- a supernatural one-of-a-kind that cemented Argento's reputation and brought his avant garde soundtrack composers Goblin to enduring attention. In the years since Argento has followed his own particular path, working with George Romero on Dawn of the Dead, introducing the world to Jennifer Connelly in Phenomena, and directing daughter Asia, herself a writer-director, in many of his pictures. And while his critical fortunes may have waned, Argento continues to be a revered figure among cinephiles and horror fans alike. With his 3D take on Dracula currently in limited release, we spoke to Argento about his career, film criticism and his favorite movies -- which, faced with the rather daunting challenge, he instead turned into a discussion of his favorite filmmakers.

For me it's difficult to say five favorites, because I saw too many films. It's better to say five directors, and why I love the films by these directors. Alfred Hitchcock, you know, most of his films were a great influence on my old films, also. Sorry it's hard to pick individual films. It's very, very difficult.




Ingmar Bergman, from the beginning, was one of the most interesting directors in the world for me.




Luis Bu˝uel. This was a great, fantastic, marvelous director. His fantasy and surrealist work was so great, but also the period that was very interesting was the period when he was in Mexico. He did marvelous films in Mexico, too.




Michelangelo Antonioni inspired me with lots of his films. He inspired many of my films, with the style and the philosophy of his movies. They were important to my films.




And also, I don't want to forget Fritz Lang, one of my favorite directors. With Fritz Lang, there were lots of different periods, like when he was in Germany and the the was in the United States; they were very different periods, and very interesting. He was an Expressionist and then his films were very frightening when he was in the United States.





Next, Argento on why he made a Dracula movie, working with Goblin on Suspiria, and whether or not the critics understand his movies.

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