The Bird with the Crystal Plumage
Directed by: Dario Argento
Run time: 98 minutes
The Lowdown: Dario Argento is a master of horror.
The Italian director, known for his wildly fantastic slate of hallucinatory thrillers in the 1970s and ‘80s, cemented his reputation in 1970 when he released The Bird with the Crystal Plumage.
The film, an iconic example of the giallo genre, would go on to inspire countless directors over the years, but none more so than Brian De Palma, who expertly mirrored the best qualities of Argento’s work in his own films like 1980’s Dressed to Kill and 1984’s pulpy, sex-drenched Body Double.
In fact, there’s one scene in Crystal Plumage that De Palma seemed to pay particular homage to in Body Double, and it’s a doozy.
The moment comes early in Argento’s masterpiece, when American writer Sam Dalmas is walking back to his hotel and he happens to look across the street to an art gallery where two figures appear to be struggling. As he steps closer for a better look, Dalmas sees a young woman violently stabbed by a mysterious figure dressed all in black.
As the woman crawls, bleeding, toward the front of the gallery, Dalmas races over to offer help but finds himself trapped inside a glass display area, unable to reach the woman, as the attacker rushes out a back door.
Argento makes perfect use of the set-up, allowing his camera to capture the claustrophobia of the moment when Dalmas realizes he is trapped himself, and he tries to scream for help but his cries are muffled by the glass.
It’s a perfect scene that effortlessly illustrates the horror and futility that both the victim and the witness feel.
Kudos to Arrow Video for delivering to fans a proper collector’s edition of a horror classic.
The Stuff You Care About:
Hot chicks – Yes.
Nudity – Yes.
Gore – Yes.
Drug use – No.
Bad Guys/Killers – Of course there’s a killer, but just try guessing who it is.
Buy/Rent – Buy it.
Not to be Overlooked:
Monster Hunt (MVD, 117 minutes, Unrated, DVD): First things first, Monster Hunt represents China’s highest-grossing movie of all time.
Let that sink in.
And there are likely plenty of U.S. fans who will go ga-ga over its cute and ferociously-cute squish-ball creatures, which resemble CGI versions of roly-poly Pokemon characters.
But that’s not to say that Monster Hunt is for everyone, or at least for anyone without small children looking for an afternoon viewing distraction.
The Zookeeper’s Wife