King Crismon

In the U.S., the psycho/slasher movie has usually been a sordid, depressing affair. Leave it to the Italians to make it an exercise in high style. A fine example is Dario Argento’s lyrically titled, blood-splattered The Bird With the Crystal Plumage (1970), a must-see specimen of the so-called giallo genre.

Underrated American leading man Tony Musante stars as a writer who witnesses an attempted murder and himself becomes the target of the leather-clad killer. That the mystery is on roughly the Scooby-Doo level of complexity isn’t the point. The point is the glorious, heavy-on-the-crimson cinematography of Vittorio Storaro, the haunting music of Ennio Morricone, and the eerie elegance of the Argento atmosphere.

Bird is the first half of the Dario Argento Bloodbath double feature, which is fleshed out by the 1976 Argento slice-’em-up Deep Red.

Sat., June 28, 5 & 9 p.m., 2008