“Right! Bring in the perverts” They always make for a good police lineup. Join your faithful Grue Crew – Doc Rotten, Chad Hunt, Bill Mulligan, and Jeff Mohr – as they get their Giallo on with Dario Argento’s first shot at directing, The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (1970).
Decades of Horror 1970s
Episode 190 – The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (1970)
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An American expatriate in Rome attempts to unmask a serial killer he witnessed in the act of attempted murder – and is now hunting him and his girlfriend.
- Director: Dario Argento
- Writers: Dario Argento; Fredric Brown (novel, The Screaming Mimi, 1949) (uncredited)
- Produced by: Salvatore Argento (producer); Artur Brauner (executive producer: CCC Filmkunst) (uncredited)
- Music by: Ennio Morricone
- Cinematography by: Vittorio Storaro (director of photography)
- Film Editing by: Franco Fraticelli
- Selected Cast:
- Tony Musante as Sam Dalmas
- Suzy Kendall as Julia
- Enrico Maria Salerno as Inspector Morosini
- Eva Renzi as Monica Ranieri
- Umberto Raho as Alberto Ranieri
- Renato Romano as Professor Carlo Dover (credited as Raf Valenti)
- Giuseppe Castellano as Monti
- Mario Adorf as Berto Consalvi
- Pino Patti as Faiena
- Gildo Di Marco as Garullo
- Rosita Torosh as 4th Victim (as Rosa Toros)
- Omar Bonaro as Police Detective
- Fulvio Mingozzi as Police Detective
- Werner Peters as Antique Dealer
- Karen Valenti as Tina, 5th Victim
- Carla Mancini as Girl watching TV
- Bruno Erba as Police Detective
- Reggie Nalder as Needles, Yellow Jacket Assassin (uncredited)
With his first feature directorial effort, modern horror master Dario Argento immediately showed off his skill, precision, and artistry. Often looked upon as the rise in popularity for Giallo films, The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (1970) would set the bar for all the pre-slasher killer mystery thrillers for over a decade even giving the father of the subgenre, Mario Bava (The Girl Who Too Much, 1963; Blood and Black Lace, 1964), a run for his money. While Argento adapts many influences into his first of a series of films known as the “Animal Trilogy,” along with The Cat o’ Nine Tails (1971) and Four Flies on Grey Velvet (1971), his film would in turn influence many films for decades to come. Some of those films would be directed by his peers such as Bava and Lucio Fulci. Others who would pay homage would be the likes of Carpenter and de Palma. Jeff, Doc, Bill, and Chad gather to discuss the film, its creators, and its mark on the genre.
At the time of this writing, The Bird with the Crystal Plumage is available to stream on a multitude of streaming and PPV services including Kanopy, Tubi, Prime Video, and Screambox to name a few. The film is also available as a Blu-ray and as a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray from Arrow Video.
Gruesome Magazine’s Decades of Horror 1970s is part of the Decades of Horror two-week rotation with The Classic Era and the 1980s. In two weeks, the next episode, chosen by Chad, will be The Dunwich Horror (1970). Yog-Sothoth, anyone?
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