Deep Red / Hatchet Murders, The (1975)

Deep Red / Hatchet Murders, The (1975)

“Seriously, I have to admit I don’t know what’s going on right now.”

When a jazz pianist (David Hemmings) witnesses the murder of a psychic (Macha Meril), he enlists help from a feisty reporter (Daria Nicolodi) in tracking down the mysterious serial killer.

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Amateur Sleuths
  • Dario Argento Films
  • Horror Films
  • Serial Killers

Response to Peary’s Review:
Peary writes that this “imaginatively directed” horror film by Dario Argento “is extremely exciting,” with “the mystery itself” interesting given “there is an abundance of clues [and] the murders are suspenseful and properly gruesome.” He argues this “may be Argento’s most stylish film: his music is loud; his colors are bright, but he also makes use of shadows and darkness”, and “he makes great use of a fluid camera… but also gives you chills with extreme close-ups of eyeballs:

… weird props, etc.” He adds that Argento “gives class to what could have been another sleazy slasher movie by having: Hemmings play classical music:

… the mystery center on a painting” (as was the case in Argento’s The Bird With the Crystal Plumage [1970]), “his characters… educated, and his scenes set in art schools, libraries, and large rooms with tasteful decor.”

Finally, Peary notes that the film features “excellent use of props (paintings, mirrors, dolls, knives, clothes, etc.)”:

… as well as “striking nocturnal shots of deserted streets”.

While giallo films aren’t a personal favorite, I can appreciate Argento’s artistry here, and consider this a must-see simply for its cult status.

Note: For me, part of being a film fanatic is trying to understand why others deeply enjoy a certain genre of film that doesn’t necessarily appeal to me. To that end, I highly recommend The Maniac’s clear and thorough video overview of this film, contextualizing it within the history of giallo films.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Striking cinematography and sets
  • Many memorable scenes

Must See?
Yes, for its cult status.


  • Cult Movie


3 thoughts on “Deep Red / Hatchet Murders, The (1975)

  1. First viewing (11/26/20). Skip it (imo).

    More pretentious (and over-long) Argento bullshit, with a particularly bad performance by Nicolodi. Hemmings must have really needed the money.

    For me, being a film fanatic can (at times) also be a matter of (not just trying to but) understanding “why others deeply enjoy a certain genre of film that doesn’t necessarily appeal to me”. But understanding doesn’t necessarily mean I have to personally recommend something I simply find little real value in. Ultimately – for all film fanatics – recommendations tend to be rooted in personal taste combined with (or sometimes not combined with) a recognition of commendable merit.

  2. Personal taste must never enter into it when recommending films as must see or not must see. There are plenty of films that I love but they’re not must see when recommending to FF and conversely, many films that are must see that I’m not keen on.

    Deep Red is a significant film in European horror, in Italian cinema, Giallo cinema and obviously in Argento’s oeuvre. I love this film and do think that for the reasons above it is must see for FF (only in the full 127 minute version) and one of only three Argento films that are; the others being Bird with the Crystal Plumage and Suspiria. The rest can be skipped.

    Nicolodi and Hemmings are both excellent in this one giving the story two sympathetic leads which helps enormously; Nicolodi is especially charming and empathic.

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