Through the words of the director himself, Panico reconstructs the director’s entire life, from his birth in a family already linked to the show, reviewing the great films of Argento, up to the celebrations around the world in recent years. The narrative consists of the life of Argento told by himself: interviews with his collaborators, people from the family sphere and personal friendships, Italian and international scholars, world-famous guest stars; excerpts from his films; archive materials from his sets, both video and photographic.
However, the film also aims to address the director through the staging of some thematic characteristics of his creative world: isolation, double and panic. The isolation is represented by the first narrative line of the film, which sees Argento staying at a hotel to finish the writing of his new film. This trick is therefore consistent with the creative method of the director himself, who often needed to isolate himself, estrange himself from everyday reality to immerse himself in his own depths. The double is one of the peculiarities of many heroes, and psychopaths, of Argento’s films. And Argento himself speaks of himself as if he were divided in two, as if there were two Dario Argentos: the one who creates nightmares and the private, common, ordinary one. Finally, panic: Argento said, at the time of the making of Suspiria, that scaring the public is a vocation, something inherent in him, in his soul, in his dreams. But also, that he does not seek simple terror, which is a beginner’s goal, but pursues panic. That would be delirium. But is panic today still what Argento was once chasing? What is Dario Argento looking for today at 83?