In Italy the European Congress on Parapsychology is taking place. One of the features is a lecture by Professor Giordani (Glauco Mauri) and an exhibition by a psychic medium named Helga Ulmann (Macha Meril). Helga’ specialty is seeing things as they are happening. She can also read thoughts from people. During her performance Helga has a violent reaction to the thoughts of someone in the audience. Helga talks about a murder. She says the murderer will kill again. After the lecture Helga tells Giordani that during the vision she also heard a children’s song. She thinks that she may be able to identify the person whose thoughts she read.
Later that night Marcus Daly (David Hemmings) is on a plaza talking to his alcoholic friend Carlo Manganiello (Gabriele Lavia) when they hear a scream. Not thinking much of it Carlo wanders away. Marcus looks up at his apartment building and sees his downstairs neighbor being murdered. His neighbor is Helga Ulmann. Racing upstairs he finds Helga dead. Outside the window he sees someone in a brown raincoat walking away and disappearing around a corner. Reporter Gianna Brezzi (Daria Nicolodi) shows up at the crime scene. She reports in the paper that Marcus could identify the killer. The next night someone tries to get into Marcus’ apartment. Now spooked Marcus is on a crusade to find out who killed Helga and is stalking him.
At Helga’s funeral Gianna points out Professor Giordani and a man named Bardi (Piero Mazzinghi), both of who are well acquainted with Helga. Later Marcus and Gianna interview both Giordani and Bardi to glean whatever they know about the strange event at the lecture.
With the help of Giordani, Bardi and Gianna, Marcus’ investigation takes him to an abandoned house of which tales are told of a ghost child singing a children’s song and of murder. Along the way Marcus is being stalked and anyone who knows anything about the case are being murdered in violent and grotesque ways.
“Deep Red” or “Profondo Rosso” AKA “The Hatchet Murders” was released in 1975 and was directed by Dario Argento. It is an Italian giallo and a mystery thriller. The film is really an artistic slaher film. I’ve seen a few Dario Argento movies and they have all been really good. “Deep Red”, however, is more than really good. This movie had the coolest soundtrack, the grossest murders and the most awesome ending ever. So far it is my favorite Argento film. Some of the murder scenes in the film reminded me a little of the intricate scenes in the “Final Destination” films only in “Deep Red” they are less intricate but more arty.
The role of Carlo's male transvestite lover, Massimo Ricci, was played by actress Geraldine Hooper. The close-up shots of the killer's hands in black leather gloves were performed by director Dario Argento himself. Argento usually used his own hands in close-up shots of the killer’s hands in his movies. This way he had total control over the movements in the scene.
The house used in the film, which is referred to as “The house of the screaming child”, was Villa Scott in Turin, Italy. Built in 1902 by Fenoglio for Alfonso Scott it is an historical villa that, during shooting, was owned by nuns and was used as a college. The house provides the center of the mystery to Deep Red’s plot.
The Italian version of the film is about twenty minutes longer than the English version. There is an updated version of the film where the cut sequences are restored but are in Italian with English subtitles. This version runs about 126 minutes.