There’s this constant debate between horror fans, which one is better Lucio Fulci or Dario Argento? And if you are an avid reader of this blog, you may be wondering why I've neglected to review any of the works of Argento and consistently praised Fulci? I just think that his work is overly reviewed and overanalyzed, however don't get the wrong idea, I am a huge fan of his but feel strange reviewing these films without a new perspective! So in this entry I will put in my two cents about Dario Argento!
I have to admit that I prefer the visceral horror, schlockiness and abundance of rotten maggot infested corpses that Fulci brings to the spectrum over Argento’s hyperstylized, overly violent high tech goth also with a heavy dose of maggots. There is a lot more to poke fun of in Fulci's work then the professionalism of Argento.
Now that I think about it, I like both of them a lot, but Argento’s films are so highly regarded by film scholars and critics that Fulci comes off like the punching bag that needs more support and I’ve always found his films more watchable repeatedly then Argentos. I'll wait to re-watch Argento films in the theater or in pristine condition (on a Blue-underground DVD), because its is all about the quality and subtext. Deep Red is one of my all time favorites. Fulci has that cheesiness, combined with the supernatural and I find the ineptness more compelling.
I first learned about Argento through Fangoria and Suspiria in the US in the early 80’s there was an epidemic of butchered videotapes and you were deprived of the artist's original vision and only left with these shitty censored versions, that is if you could find them at all! When I ordered Deep Red from Chas Balun it was from a Japanese laserdisc under the title Suspiria 2 and it’s completely unrelated, as it turns out Inferno is actually Suspiria 2 sort of. Almost all of Balun's collection was duped from laserdiscs and thankfully all of Argento's work has been restored on DVD.
Argento is a testament to the work of Edgar Allen Poe and H.P. Lovecraft, the use of creative lighting and frightening imagry is incredibly captivating, I love and respect his work, I just have more to say as a critic in regards to Lucio Fulci. Then again I just wrote a long assed essay on Argento, I am a huge fan of both directors. As for his recent efforts they have all been disappointing to me and don’t get me started on his recent popularity with the hipster crowd (Bleaccchhhh)!! And as the total film snob that I am, I have to count Opera (from 1987) as his last good film, even with its flaws.