Commanding a cult following among horror fans, Italian film director Dario Argento is best known for his work in two closely related genres, the crime thriller and supernatural horror. In his four decades of filmmaking, Argento has displayed a commitment to innovation, from his directorial debut with 1970's suspense thriller The Bird with the Crystal Plumage to 2009's Giallo. His films, like the lurid yellow-covered murder-mystery novels they are inspired by, follow the suspense tradition of hard-boiled American detective fiction while incorporating baroque scenes of violence and excess. L. Andrew Cooper uses controversies and theories about the films' reflections on sadism, gender, sexuality, psychoanalysis, aestheticism, and genre to declare the anti-rational logic of Argento's oeuvre. Approaching the films as rhetorical statements made through extremes of sound and vision, Cooper places Argento in a tradition of aestheticized horror that includes De Sade, De Quincey, Poe, and Hitchcock.
He reveals how the director's stylistic excesses, often condemned for glorifying misogyny and other forms of violence, offer productive resistance to the cinema's visual, narrative, and political norms. L. Andrew Cooper is an assistant professor of film and digital media at the University of Louisville and the author of Gothic Realities: The Impact of Horror Fiction on Modern Culture. A volume in the series Contemporary Film Directors, edited by James Naremore
Inside the shocking cinema of Dario Argento
"A novel and interesting approach to Argento's oeuvre. Cooper's interrogation of authorial style and theoretical readings of the films are thorough, insightful, and astute." Brigid Cherry, co-editor of Twenty-first-century Gothic