Back to IndieWire

Dario Argento’s 7 Best Horror Films, from ‘Suspiria’ to ‘Tenebrae’ to ‘Opera’

The Italian writer-director's masterful "Suspiria" is turning 45. But with flicks like "Deep Red" and "Opera" in the mix, is it his best film?

Dario Argento's Best Movies, Ranked

Dario Argento’s Best Movies, Ranked.

Everett Collection

It’s a sign of a career well spent when a filmmaker’s body of work is so screamingly impressive that just their name is synonymous with a certain type of cinematic excellence. So, what do you think of when you read the name Dario Argento?

Whether you’re among the writer-director’s legion of horror-loving fans or know Argento’s filmography through a more educational lens, then your mind has probably been inundated with supersaturated reds and blues, nightmarish contortions of cinematography, and more likely than not a splattering or two of prop blood.

If Alfred Hitchcock owned American suspense films, then Argento was the master of Italian-born terror. He cut his teeth as a screenwriter on various titles including the comedy “Pardon, Are You For or Against?” and Spaghetti Western “The Rope and the Colt” in the late ‘60s, before making his director debut with “The Bird with the Crystal Plumage” in 1970.

The undeniably sensational thriller kicked off Argento’s well-loved “Animal Trilogy”: a triad of giallo films credited with popularizing the genre. For the unfamiliar, “giallo” movies or “gialli” are traditionally stylish Italian features characterized by a central murder mystery and outrageous violence. Argento would follow his “Animal” series up with his “Three Mothers” trilogy, which famously kicked off with the supernatural giallo “Suspiria” and its terrifying tale of a ballet student ensnared in a witches’ coven.

The best Dario Argento movies combine the filmmaker’s acute understanding of tension and whodunnits with his immediately recognizable artistic eye. From the excellence of “Deep Red” to the underwhelming silliness of “The Stendhal Syndrome,” Argento’s films don’t always appease audiences and critics, but they never fail to feel like they are from the iconic director.

In honor of “Suspiria” celebrating its 45th anniversary, and Argento’s newest flick “Dark Glasses” final getting a release date (October 13 on Shudder), here are the writer-director’s seven best movies to date.

Note: For the purposes of this ranking, Argento’s acting and producing credits have not been considered. His collaboration with zombie aficionado George A. Romero in the 1990 anthology film “Two Evil Eyes” has also been disqualified from consideration.

Sign Up: Stay on top of the latest breaking film and TV news! Sign up for our Email Newsletters here.

This Article is related to: Film and tagged , , ,

Get The Latest IndieWire Alerts And Newsletters Delivered Directly To Your Inbox