Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Dario Argento autobiography coming in January

Autobiographies are a lot lot "greatest hits" collections: They're almost always glorified obituaries that mark the end of an interesting, productive life. I tend to approach these kinds of projects with caution and doubt, because these books can also be examples of the worst kind of eye witness accounts. After all, the author has a strong bias for the subject matter.

For example is PAURA (or "FEAR"), director Dario Argento's upcoming autobiography. Argento has had a rich and varied career, with his name appearing in the credits of films such as ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST, THE BIRD WITH THE CRYSTAL PLUMAGE and the original DAWN OF THE DEAD. There's certainly a lot that can be said about the first act of his career, but I'm not sure the director of DRACULA 3D is the guy to speak on those films.

Argento has been in the throes of a downward spiral since at least the mid-1980s, which is not something we can necessarily blame him for. There's an element of fashion that connects pop artists with their audience, and that connection is so difficult to make that it's a wonder it happens at all. Some fans are still nurturing a grudge against Lou Reed for his changing tastes in the wake of his work with the Velvet Underground, as though he could simply keep riffing on "Heroin" for the rest of his life. Artists can occasionally change the world, but they're also subject to those same changes.

But, Argento's movies have become unwatchable in recent years. I've got a ghoulish curiosity about PAURA, which is due in January. How the hell does he justify movies like GIALLO when stacked against the actual giallo films in his credits?

Argento recently completed a successful Indiegogo campaign to finance his next film, THE SANDMAN. Iggy Pop is set to star in that film, a guy whose career arc looks more than a little like Argento's.

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