31 DAYS OF HORROR: DAY 28 – The Bird With The Crystal Plumage

Dario Argento's high-style, blood-spattered Italian thriller is a landmark of giallo cinema

The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (1970)

The Bird with the Crystal Plumage” (L’uccello Dale Piume Di Cristallo) is the 1970 directorial debut from giallo master Dario Argento, credited with kicking off the popularity of Italian slashers / mysteries in the 1970s. It is the first installment in the Animal Trilogy and was followed by The Cat o’ Nine Tails (1971) and Four Flies on Grey Velvet (1972).

“The Bird with the Crystal Plumage” is Adapted from Fredrick Brown’s novel The Screaming Mimi, which had been previously made into a Hollywood film, “Screaming Mimi (1958)”, directed by Gerd Oswald. After working for several years as a scripter (including a co-writing gig on Sergio Leone’s 1968 Once Upon a Time in the West), Argento marked himself as one of the godfathers of the Giallo genre with this directorial debut.

The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (1970)

A stylish murder-mystery that proved to be very popular amongst other filmmakers (Brian DePalma owes his entire career to Hitchcock and Argento in my opinion), “The Bird with the Crystal Plumage” stars Tony Musante as Sam Dalmas, an American writer living in Rome with his girlfriend (Suzy Kendall). One night, Sam witnesses a violent attack in an art gallery. The victim (Eva Renzi) survives the attempted murder and Sam becomes obsessed with catching the assailant, who is more than likely responsible for a slew of murders in the area.

Although, Argento’s scripts are often more than questionable, he manages to time and time again create engrossing mysteries that keep you waiting for the next twist or iconic neon red covered kill. “The Bird with the Crystal Plumage” features a pimp who delivers the same one liner in almost every scene, an eccentric artist who EATS CATS, but also one of the most offbeat scores by the legend himself Ennio Morricone, and gorgeous cinematography from Oscar winner Vittorio Storaro (Apocalypse Now).

The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (1970)

All in all – This movie may lack structure, substance and general common sense in some places, however “The Bird with the Crystal Plumage” is an important piece of not only genre and giallo cinema, but filmmaking in general, featuring the skills of many future iconic filmmakers, musicians and artists. Gorgeous visuals, a dizzying soundtrack and classic Italian slasher kills place this on our 31 Days Of Horror Countown! ONLY THREE DAYS LEFT. Stay tuned to Screamish as we round off the end of the spookiest month of the year with more hidden gems & rare bops!

“The Bird with the Crystal Plumage” has been released by Arrow Video on Blu Ray / DVD, in a brand new 4k restoration from the original camera negative, or You can also watch online on Amazon Prime, Check the trailer below for a taste!

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