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George Romero and Dario Argento go way back. Argento helped Romero finance Dawn of the Dead in exchange for international distribution rights. Argento cut his own version of the film for various European markets, changing it quite a bit in the process, which led to Romero saying that Argento never really understood the film. The two later directed halves of the film Two Evil Eyes.

Now Romero might return the Dawn of the Dead recut ‘favor’ in an oblique sort of way — he’s remaking Argento’s Deep Red (aka The Hatchet Murders, aka Profundo Rosso) in 3D.

Variety says Romero is in ‘advanced negotiations’ to direct the remake, which is being set up as an Italian-Canadian co-production. The film is being pre-sold in Cannes, and is produced by Dario’s brother Claudio Argento, who also wrote the script. Dario Argento is not involved at all.

Deep Red is not Argento’s most famous film (that would be Suspiria) but it is often regarded as his best. It is Argento in pure Giallo mode, so the film is ultra-stylish, with wild close-up and perspective visions of murder that use inventive camera tricks and a great deal of built-up tension. The soundtrack is by Goblin (of course), and it is one of the band’s funkier, more approachable scores.

As with many Gialli, construction of a watertight logical plot wasn’t really the point, but Deep Red is a bit more tightly written than many other examples of the genre. The original featured Marcus, a music teacher, who witnesses a killing and is drawn into a web of danger as a result. But plot is just an excuse to get to the setpieces, and Argento outdid himself here with a string of crazed, detailed murders. Even the trailer is still rather freaky and upsetting, as you can see below. (Take that as a vaguely NSFW warning if you want.)

Can George Romero come up with setpieces to match Argento’s originals? I can see why 3D would be really tempting for a film like this, but Deep Red is going to be hard to top, or even match.

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