Profondo Rosso – Rome, Italy - Atlas Obscura

Profondo Rosso

Italian horror legend Dario Argento’s own shop hides a sinister museum-dungeon in the basement. 

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In the upscale Prati neighborhood of Rome hides a sinister sanctum of horror with an underground dungeon displaying the darker side of Italian cinema.

Founded in 1989, Profondo Rosso is a lot more than a mere little shop of horror memorabilia. To begin with, its owner is none other than Dario Argento himself – the giallo legend known for such glaring, gory, suspenseful works as Suspiria (1977) and Deep Red (1975), the latter of which served as its namesake.

The shop is also managed by Luigi Cozzi, another Italian director whose filmography includes a number of obscure low-budget sci-fi and horror flicks as well as the 1977 Italian re-release of Godzilla (which has been jocularly nicknamed Cozzilla). He has also worked with Argento, credited as a co-writer for Four Flies on Grey Velvet (1971) and SFX artist for Phenomena (1985).

Once you step inside the store, you’ll find yourself in a permanent Halloweentown, surrounded by jack-o’-lanterns, sneering skulls, kitschy rubber clowns and Universal monsters of yore, as well as shelves full of books and DVDs, a huge collection of rare B-movies, pulp magazines, Stephen King novels, and Profondo Rosso’s own publications, such as screenplays and “making of” books of Argento’s films.

If you’re brave enough, you may ask the shopkeeper (whose role occasionally goes to Cozzi) and pay an entrance fee of 5 euros to descend the spiral staircase into the dark dungeon filled with screen-used film props, a secret museum of Argento’s twisted mind.

Here, you will encounter the possessed girl from Demons (1985) and the creepy child from Phenomena (1985), caged as if they would pounce at you any minute were it not for the iron bars. Also exhibited are original props from The Cat o’ Nine Tails (1971), Opera (1987), The Church (1989), and more, accompanied by bloody-murder screams echoing through the eerily-lit hall.

Know Before You Go

The shop/museum is open every day from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., then from 4 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

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May 2, 2024

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