Italian film director Dario Argento produced some of the most influential works in the horror genre during the 1970s and 1980s. His expert style belongs to the subgenre known as giallo, which is characterized by slashers or psychological horror that explore sexploitation and the supernatural.
His most iconic film is 1977’s The Supernatural suspiracy, starring Jessica Harper as a ballet dancer plagued by imagery of witchcraft after entering a pristine school. This film, among others including inferno and phenomenahas led to Argento being dubbed the “Master of the Thrill” and one of the “Masters of Horror” alongside Wes Craven and John Carpenter.
Argento has also worked with another master of horror, George A. Romero, as he served as Romero’s script consultant for Dawn of the Dead late 70s. Argento’s most recent releases include Dracula 3Dand last Occhiali Neri/Black glasses. He also appeared in an acting role in the 2021 psychodrama whirl.
Looking at his creative work in the horror genre, it’s no surprise that Argento’s favorite films are horror and thrillers. He sat down Rotten tomatoes to share his top five films of all time, which resulted in a ranking of his filmmakers with examples and what they meant to him.
First on the director’s list is a classic filmmaker who made a mark in horror. Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho tells the story of a young woman who disappears after stealing money from her employer. Her lover and sister try to find her, her quest leads her to the notorious Bates Motel, where they meet Norman Bates, a rather unorthodox personality.
Argento says, “It’s difficult to pick five favorites because I’ve seen too many films.” Instead, he compromises with, “It’s better to say five directors and why I love those directors’ films.” He talks about Alfred Hitchcock: “Most of his films also had a big influence on my old films. Sorry, it’s hard to select individual films. It’s very, very difficult.”
Swedish filmmaker Ingmar Bergman will direct next hour of the wolf. This film follows the disappearance of fictional painter Johan Borg, who lived on an island with his wife Alma while struggling with frightening visions and insomnia.
The Italian director talks about Bergman with an admirable tone. He reveals that this director, best known for his deeply personal meditations on the myriad struggles of the psyche and spirit, “was one of the most interesting directors in the world to me from the start”.
Luis Buñuel is third on Argento’s list. This Hispanic-Mexican filmmaker is considered by many to be one of the greatest and most influential filmmakers of all time. This is an example in Un Chein Andalou, a surreal and silent description of events presented in a dreamlike flow. This short film serves as a direct case study of classical film studies.
Argento calls Buneul a “fantastic, wonderful director”. For him, “His fantastical and surrealistic works were so great, but also the time that was very interesting was when he was in Mexico. He also made wonderful films in Mexico.”
The director continues his list with fellow Italian filmmaker Michelangelo Antonioni, best known for commenting on modernism through his films. Antonioni directed the 1966 film explosionwhich follows a successful London photographer living an ordinary life until he suddenly realizes he may have been filming a murder.
That suspiracy Director reveals that as a filmmaker, Antonioni “has inspired me with a lot of his films. He inspired many of my films with the style and philosophy of his films. They were important for my films.”
Fritz Lang completes Argento’s list. The Austrian filmmaker is one of the most famous faces of the German School of Expressionism and was named “Master of Darkness” by the BFI. This status is evident in his film Mwhere a serial killer who hunts children becomes the focus of a massive manhunt by Berlin police.
Argento considers Lang “one of my favorite directors”. He says: “With Fritz Lang there were many different periods, like when he was in Germany and then in the United States; they were very different periods and very interesting.”
The director also references Lang’s signature creative movement: “He was an expressionist, and then his films were very scary when he was in the United States.”
Dario Argento’s five favorite filmmakers and their best film
- Alfred Hitchcock and Psycho (1960)
- Ingmar Bergmann and hour of the wolf (1968)
- Luis Bunuel and Un Chein Andalou/An Andalusian Dog (1929)
- Michelangelo Antonioni and explosion (1966)
- Fritz Lang and M (1931)