Deep Red (aka Profundo Rosso, aka The Hatchet Murders)
While Suspiria is considered by many people to be Argento's best film (and for the record, those people are one hundred percent right), Deep Red comes in pretty damn close. It's a truly mesmerizing thriller, perfectly paced, and directed by clearly one of filmdom's greatest technicians and artists. For us Australians, it's no big deal seeing the complete uncut version of Deep Red, as SBS (God bless them) has been screening it on a regular basis for some time now. But many others might find a deeper appreciation as the considerable amount of 'extra footage' adds a significant amount of character development and to be honest, very witty, almost screwball humour, between the film's two leads.
Now even though us lucky Aussie's have been gifted with the full version of Deep Red for a while now, I can honestly say that it never looked this good before. Jaw-dropping is the word for it. There is vitually no grain or film damage that one would normally expect from a film of its age. The anamorphic transfer is incredibly clear and sharp with virtually no 3:2 pulldown problems. Short of a PAL release of the same transfer, I can't imagine the picture being any better, therefore I've given it four and a half Bwanas - perfection for NTSC.
The audio is less impressive, but by no means lacking, being clear and generally free of distortion. The wonderful news is that the Italian version sounds every bit as good as the English track. This is a big relief, particularly given that the English track is incomplete, switching to Italian (with English subtitles) during the 'new footage'. With a movie like this, where the lead role was acted in English, it's hard to argue which is the more appropriate to listen to, but I definitely recommend the Italian track, if only for consistency. Rear speaker activity is kept to a bare, bare minimum.
The extras is where Deep Red does seem a little anemic. You get a US and a frickin' creepy Italian trailer. There's also a 25th Anniversary Featurette, featuring interviews with the likes of Argento and even the members of Goblin, but at a mere ten minutes, this is way too short and very moreish. It's a shame that Argento quit doing commentaries, as the one on Tenebre, and to a lesser extent Phenomena, was very interesting and entertaining. Hopefully we'll be pleasantly surprised when Anchor Bay's Suspiria disc is unveiled later this year.
Despite being light on in the extras department, Deep Red is a class act all the way, and features what is easily one of the best NTSC transfers that I've yet to see. A prime example of Argento's style, Deep Red is a must have for any collection.