Find out what one of the masters of horror has to say about the genre.
Dario Argento is responsible for an immense amount of nightmares. The Italian director has been scaring and marking audiences for a generation. His influential work in the horror genre during the 1970s and 1980s, particularly in the subgenre known as gialloearned him the nicknames “Master of Thrill” and “Master of Horror”.
Recently, he attended a retrospective of his films and gave an enlightening testimony interview where he spoke about his career and the responsibility of film and television to affect you deeply.
Regarding horror movies, Argento said, “I think people like horror movies because they cause such strong feelings that they don’t understand. I have friendship and solidarity with these horrible stories—[I receive] a feeling of great pleasure from these terrible ceremonies.
After facing the fear of his films, Argento said: “No, I’m not afraid of my own films. These are stories that I tell that come from deep within me, I know them well. So once they’re done, I don’t see them. I rarely see them, if ever, because once they’re done, I want to work on the next project and look ahead.
Argento also confronted the very idea of cinema. We tend to think of it as something personal and intuitive, but Argento disagrees.
“No. No. Film is not therapy. It’s a very important job, but it’s focused on the story. It would be too easy if film was a form of therapy, because everyone, rather than going to a psychoanalyst, would go to the cinema. Cinema does not heal or cure anything. What cinema is is telling the story of something that comes impulsively from within you, of your soul. In my case, it’s something that is suggested from deep within me. I start with a very small idea, and around that idea, I build the puzzle, and I add to it until that I have the whole film. It’s a small but very important idea. So why am I making films? Maybe because in reality, I want to be liked by the public.
Regarding his life before being a director, Argento talked about how his past life helped him in his directing. There were no wasted days or years. All of this became information he would use to make movies later.
” I learned a lot. Before becoming a director, I was a journalist, and in my work I interviewed many famous directors, for example, Fritz Lang and John Huston. I particularly remember an interview with Jean-Luc Godard which was very strange and bizarre. There were many more, many that I don’t remember. But what I learned from them is what cinema is. It’s different from literature or painting. It’s very mysterious. He was born inside of you. You have to say it not on the page, but through images.
Argento finished describing what he considers to be the most important elements of movies by saying, “The camera is the most important element of cinema.”
What do you think of all this? I feel like it’s a great window into the soul of one of our greatest and most terrifying minds.
Let us know your thoughts in the comments.