I first discovered Dario Argento at age 13. While flipping through channels I came across this beautiful old film, drenched in red lights and red blood. It was Dario Argento’s Suspiria, and I was hooked. Argento sparked my love of Italian film.
So it was with great admiration - and some trepidation (because I knew his English wasn’t very good and I failed out of college Italian) - that I set about to interview Argento for his newest film, Dracula 3D. Despite the language barrier, I got some interesting info from one of my idols - and bragging rights for the rest of my life.
Why was now the right time for you to take on Dracula?
The idea for Dracula came many years ago. To do a film about the undead man... it was interesting. I thought about it a long time ago, but I didn’t find a good way to explore the story. The new technology of 3D is very good. When I discovered this new technology, I thought it was a way to see Dracula in a new dimension, something different.
How do you go about adapting such an infamous piece of work?
I don’t follow the book. I follow the movies, I am inspired by the movies, especially the Hammer films with Christopher Lee. That inspiration was very important to me.
I was going to say, your film seems very much inspired by the Hammer films. So that was on purpose?
Did you enjoy working in 3D?
Yes. It is the first time in my life I was able to see the character and the character behind him and the character behind him. I don’t do the obvious effects, like an object coming through the screen. I use 3D to explore the depth.
Will you do another film in 3D?
Of course, it is an experiment, but maybe I will again, I don’t know. If I find another story good for 3D, maybe I will do it again.
There seems to be a resurgence in giallo-style films, things like Eugenio Mira’s Grand Piano and Cattet and Forzani’s Strange Color Of Your Body’s Tears. Do you take it as a compliment?
Yes, it is a compliment. I like to do giallo films, and it is important to my career. Maybe my next film will be a giallo. I think I am an expert in this, because I did many giallo films in my long career.
What are some of the biggest changes you have seen in the industry?
The technology and electronics... many things change in the stories. Everything changes. I think the inspirations don’t change any. They are still the same. I am inspired by myself, my dreams, my nightmares. This never changes.
Do you miss shooting on film stock?
No, digital is important. I think the audience understands [that] when they see the digital. You must use it delicately, or else films become unbelievable, a joke.
It is important to [focus on] the psychology. I appreciate the films from the Orient: South Korea, Japan, Taiwan. All the films are very good, very interesting. They follow the character and the psychology. They are so deep, so pure. You must follow the purity of your soul in the film.
Are there any new Italian directors you like?
In Italy, with these kind of films [horror and giallo] there are no directors except me who do film like this. At the moment, films in Italy are very weak. I don’t know why.
What are you working on now?
At the moment I just finished the direction of an opera, Macbeth from Verdi. I just finished two days ago. It was very good, with new technology from movies. It was very interesting, very good.
Have you worked on the stage before?
No, this is the first I have done. I enjoyed it. It was different working with the voices, the singers. It was something marvelous.
Any thoughts on adapting one of your films for the stage?
No. No. At the moment no.
Any thoughts on the potential Suspiria remake?
Suspiria is good, but I hope nobody else will do a film again with this.