Deep Red (1975)
A pianist and reporter join forces to catch a serial killer covering their tracks.
Marcus Daly is playing piano with his students when he tells them they are playing too cleanly and formal for jazz. At the European Congress on Parapsychology, Giordani, who is sitting next to Helga Ulmann and Bardi, tells the audience about insects and their use of telepathy. He goes on to say that humans are born with telepathy, but most lose the ability over time. He then introduces Helga to the crowd. Helga tells the attendees her abilities are not derived from magic, but she can detect things that are happening now or have happened in the past. She correctly identifies a set of keys an audience member has in his pocket and that his name is Pietro Valgoi. Helga suddenly screams out and detects a murderer is in the room and that the murderer will kill again. She mentions a children's song and villa and continues speaking as if she were the killer, telling another that they will hide the evidence and act like nothing has happened. After the conference ends, Helga tells Giordani that tomorrow, she will write everything down that she felt and she knows who the murderer is. The killer looks over a group of children's toys and puts on thick eyeliner after grabbing a knife. As Helga is talking on the phone, she hears children's music being played. She hangs up the phone when someone rings her doorbell and as she walks to the door, she lunges back from sensing the person on the other side is the murderer. The murderer breaks the door down and starts hacking at Helga with a meat cleaver. They then walk over to a table and take the notes Helga wrote on the murder. As Marcus is walking towards the Blue Bar, he sees Carlo, drunk, sitting outside nearby. Marcus tells Carlo he drinks too much and will die young, to which Carlo says he doesn't want to live a long life. Before going back to work, Carlo tells Marcus that while Marcus plays the piano for art, Carlo plays in order to make money. They hear a scream and Carlo assumes it is a woman being raped and walks back into the Blue Bar. Marcus looks up and sees Helga at her window and then sees the murderer kill Helga. He runs into Helga's apartment and pulls Helga's body from the window and sees someone in a trench coat walking away and Carlo staring at them.
The police arrive and Cop Taking Notes goes over the numerous stab wounds Helga sustained. Calcabrini questions Marcus while a Fingerprint Cop dusts for fingerprints and Police Photographer takes photos of the crime scene. As Marcus is looking at Helga's paintings, he asks Calcabrini if he has had any of the paintings removed. As they are talking Fat Cop argues with Agent Mingozzi in the background. Police Agent walks up and asks Calcabrini if he wants coffee and Calcabrini continues to question Marcus. Gianna Brezzi walks into the apartment and the Police Agent tells her to leave. She sees Marcus and takes a photograph of him. Marcus is then taken to the police station by Mingozzi to fill out a sworn statement. Four hours later, Marcus is allowed to leave and sees Carlo, even drunker, sitting in the same area as before. Marcus mentions to Carlo about a painting being missing from Helga's apartment and Carlo tells him that what he saw might be important and what he thinks is the truth is only one version of it. At Helga's funeral, Gianna points out whose who to Marcus of the funeral goers. Gianna tells Marcus she doesn't have a boyfriend and offers to have sex with Marcus to calm his nerves. They get into her car and she asks Marcus to help her with the story. Giordani and Bardi go over everything Helga said to Marcus and Gianna and they ask them if they noticed anyone in the crowd. After sex, Marcus and Gianna argue about the fragility of women and she challenges and then beats him in an arm wrestling contest.
Marcus goes to Carlo's house and Carlo's Mother answers the door. She seems absent minded and tells him how she used to be an actress, but her husband forced her to quit once they got married. She asks Marcus if he will do a piano duet with her and then tells him Carlo is at Massimo Ricci's home. Marcus goes there and finds out Massimo is a transgender person. He finds Carlo drunk and Massimo tells Marcus that Carlo was screaming nonsense. As they are walking to the Blue Bar, Marcus brings up what Carlo said the other day and Carlo tells him he should leave Rome and it is too dangerous. During the night, as Marcus is writing a new song, someone starts skulking around his apartment. He hears a children's song being played, but it stops. The front door opens and he sees a shadow moving around. The phone rings and Marcus answers it after shutting his sliding door. He tells Gianna, who called him, he needs help and the murderer whispers that they will kill him sooner or later. He buys a record, Songs for Children and finds the same song, which he then plays for Giordani and Bardi. Giordani tells Marcus, he thinks the murderer is a paranoid schizophrenic, one that would appear normal in day to day life. He continues that the killer would need to create a situation similar to the one in which they first killed, with the same things or noises used as a trigger. Bardi reminds Marcus that Helga mentioned a villa and tells him of a book entitled Ghosts of Today and Dark Modern Legends, which mentioned an abandoned villa. Marcus goes to the Library of Folklore and Popular Traditions and finds the book, written by Amanda Righetti. He reads the story on The Villa of the Screaming Child which took place in a villa on the outskirts of Rome. Marcus rips the page out of the book which has a photo of the villa and then calls Gianna. He gives Gianna, Amanda's name and asks her to find where she lives.
The murderer looks over their table of toys and puts on their eyeliner. Elvira asks Amanda Righetti why she keeps mynah birds and Amanda tells her it is to keep her company. Amanda walks back into her house and finds a doll hanging from a noose. She finds her back door open and another doll hanging from a noose. Children's music starts to play and she grabs a sewing needle and accidentally kills one of her birds as it flies towards her. The murderer attacks her and sticks her head into boiling bath water. The murderer then leaves and before dying, Amanda writes the identity of the murderer on the bathroom wall in the condensation. Marcus goes to Amanda's house and finds Amanda dead and leaves. He tells Gianna what he found and she suggests he leave for Lebanon, but he wants to continue trying to figure out the murderer. He tells her, he isn't going to tell anyone his next move as the murderer always seems to be one step ahead and Gianna wonders if he thinks she is the murderer. The next day, Marcus shows a plant nursery owner the photo of the villa and the owner recognizes the plant in it is a rare Dracaena indivisa. He travels from one nursery owner to another asking if they sold the plant until he finds one that did. Police Agent tells Calcabrini the union plans on holding a sit in to demand overtime pay and the commissioner wants to speak to him. Marcus calls Giordani and tells him Amanda has been murdered. He meets with Giordani and describes how he found Amanda and that she seemed to be pointing at something.
Marcus drives to the homes that the plant was sold to and finds the villa, which is for sale, and a phone number to call. He meets with Rodi who tells him the villa used to belong to Karl Schwartz until he fell out of one of the windows. Elvira shows Giordani where Amanda was found. As Elvira is cleaning up the blood, the phone rings. Giordani gets an idea when he sees condensation from the hot water build up and turns on the tub and reads the message Amanda left. Rodi gives Marcus the keys to the villa and tells him Olga will show him the way. He calls Olga back and slaps her when he finds a lizard she tortured. They go to the villa and Marcus searches it and finds an area in a wall that seems to have been hastily wallpapered. He finds another point in the wall where bits of plaster have fallen off and what appears to be a drawing visible. He scrapes at the plaster revealing the image to be a man with a hole in his chest and a small child holding a knife. As he is walking outside a broken piece of glass falls on him and cuts his face. Giordani is at home when he hears a noise and someone whisper his name. A mechanical doll charges at him and he slices its head in half with a large knife and is then attacked by the killer, who repeatedly slams his mouth into the fireplace before taking the knife and shoving it into Giordani's neck. Gianna calls Marcus and tells him Giordani is dead. He invites Gianna to take a trip to Spain with him and she leaves to pack. He calls Carlo's house, but he isn't home and then realizes from the photo of the villa that there is a room that has been walled off.
He goes back to the villa and breaks a hole in the wall to the room and finds a mummified body inside. He is knocked unconscious and wakes up next to Gianna, outside the villa, which is on fire. She tells him she saw his note saying he was going to the villa and found him inside and pulled him out of the burning villa. She uses Rodi's telephone to call the police and fire department. Marcus notices a drawing on Olga's wall similar to the one in the villa and she tells him she copied it from a drawing she saw in the school records. Marcus and Gianna go to Leonard da Vinci State Middle School and break into it. They search through the school drawings and Gianna leaves to call the police to tell them where they are at. Marcus finds the drawing of the murder and then finds Gianna stabbed in the stomach. Carlo reveals himself and threatens to shoot Marcus. Calcabrini, Police Agent and Mingozzi arrive and Carlo escapes after shooting at Calcabrini. As Carlo is running away he is hit by a large truck with rebar in it and a piece of bent rebar grabs his leg and drags him behind the truck. The truck stops when the driver hears Carlo screaming and a car runs over Carlo's head, crushing it. Later, a doctor tells Marcus that Gianna will pull through. As Marcus is walking by the Blue Bar, he realizes Carlo couldn't be the murderer as he was with him when Helga was murdered. He goes back inside Helga's apartment and realizes the painting he thought was missing was a mirror showing the face of the murderer, Carlo's Mother. Carlo's Mother appears and tells him what happened all those years back. Carlo's Father had told Carlo's Mother that she had to go back to the asylum. She then took a knife and stabbed Carlo's Father in front of Carlo, who was listening to a record of children's music. Carlo's Mother attacks Marcus, but gets her necklace stuck in the elevator bars. Marcus turns on the elevator and as the elevator goes down, Carlo's Mother is decapitated.