Whereas De Palma has long embraced Hitchcock, indicating that it would be an error for the film-maker not acknowledge and use his masterful visual language, Argento has long had a more hesitant relationship here. He recognises the value of cultivating the Argento brand name a la Hitchcock and of being seen as Hitchcock's Italian equivalent / successor, but doesn't want to be reduced to just being this. Accordingly in his actual film-making practices he works in a dialectical way with Hitchcock and some of his other key reference points and influences, most notably Lang and Antonioni. Ironically, however, this is not that different from what Hitchcock was himself doing early (1920s) and late (the 1960s) on in his career with these selfsame figures.
Argento also exhibits something of a tendency to alternate between more personal and experimental projects that fail to find favour at the time (i.e. Phenomena, Trauma, The Stendhal Syndrome, perhaps Inferno) and audience pleasers that give the audience more of what it expects (i.e. Opera, Sleepless, perhaps Tenebrae to a certain extent ). Again this is reminiscent of the way Hitchcock would often “run for cover” to a safer project after a more risk-taking one that failed to find favour (e.g. North by Northwest following Vertigo and The Wrong Man.)
In titling a (TV) film Do You Like Hitchcock? but then proceeding to equally reference others, was Argento basically owning up to the way that things are, that a TV series sold on the basis of the Hitchcock name has a viability amongst the general audience which one sold under the banner of Lang would not? Is the role of the film-maker as artist to give his audience what he believes they need and not that which they believe they want, leaving that for the film-maker as entertainer? But where does that balance lie, both in general and from film to film?