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Foreign Horror > Giallo and Italian Horror

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message 1: by WitchyFingers (new)

WitchyFingers Let's do it...let's talk Giallo! I brought it up in another thread but thought it deserved its very own.

Suggestions, thoughts, preferences, etc.?

message 2: by Phillip (new)

Phillip ???

is s/he a director?
refresh my memory please...

message 3: by WitchyFingers (new)

WitchyFingers Phillip wrote: "???

is s/he a director?
refresh my memory please..."

From Wikipedia:

Giallo (Italian pronunciation: [ˈdʒallo:], plural gialli) is an Italian 20th century genre of literature and film, which in Italian indicates crime fiction and mystery. In the English language, however, it is used in a broader meaning that is closer to the French fantastique genre, including elements of horror fiction and eroticism. The word giallo is Italian for "yellow", and stems from the origin of the genre as a series of cheap paperback novels with trademark yellow covers.

The term giallo derives from the series of mystery/crime pulp novels first published by the Mondadori publishing house, starting from 1929, entitled Il Giallo Mondadori, taking their name from the yellow cover background.

Published as cheapish paperbacks, the success of the "giallo" novels soon began attracting the attention of other publishing houses, who began releasing their own versions (not forgetting to keep the by-now-traditional yellow cover). The Giallo Mondadori popularity then established the word giallo in Italian as the widespread translation of the English "mystery".

The film genre that emerged from these novels in the 1960s began as literal adaptations of the books, but soon began taking advantage of modern cinematic techniques to create a unique genre which veered into horror and psychological thrillers. These films, particularly such 1970s classics by directors like Sergio Martino, Lucio Fulci, Dario Argento or Mario Bava, are only defined as "gialli" in the English language usage of the term; in Italy they are usually described as thrillers or, as a genre, "Thrilling" or "Giallo all'italiana". In the English-speaking world the term "giallo" became established as an adjective to "thriller" and "horror".

"Giallo" films are characterized by extended murder sequences featuring excessive bloodletting, stylish camerawork and unusual musical arrangements. The literary whodunit element is retained, but combined with modern slasher horror, while being filtered through Italy's longstanding tradition of opera and staged grand guignol drama. They also generally include liberal amounts of nudity and sex.

Gialli typically introduce strong psychological themes of madness, alienation, and paranoia. For example, Sergio Martino's Your Vice Is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key (also known as Eye of the Black Cat) was explicitly based on Edgar Allan Poe's short story "The Black Cat".

They remain notable in part for their expressive use of music, most notably by Dario Argento's collaborations with Ennio Morricone and his musical director Bruno Nicolai, and later with the band Goblin.

Selected films
The Girl Who Knew Too Much (Mario Bava, 1963)
The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (Dario Argento, 1970)
The Cat o' Nine Tails (Dario Argento, 1971)
Four Flies on Grey Velvet (Dario Argento, 1971)
Short Night of the Glass Dolls (Aldo Lado, 1971)
The Case of the Bloody Iris (Giuliano Carnimeo, 1972, also known as What Are Those Strange Drops of Blood Doing On Jennifer's Body?)
Don't Torture a Duckling, starring Barbara Bouchet, (Lucio Fulci, 1972)
Your Vice Is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key (Sergio Martino, 1972, based on Poe's "The Black Cat" and also known as Eye of the Black Cat)
What Have You Done to Solange? (Massimo Dallamano, 1972, music by Ennio Morricone)
Knife of Ice (Umberto Lenzi, 1972)
Deep Red (Dario Argento, 1975, also known as Profondo Rosso, The Hatchet Murders, The Sabre Tooth Tiger)
Strip Nude for Your Killer (Andrea Bianchi, 1975)
The House with Laughing Windows (Pupi Avati, 1976)Tenebrae (Dario Argento, 1982)
Deliria (Michele Soavi, 1987)
Opera (Dario Argento, 1988)
Sleepless (Dario Argento, 2001)

message 4: by WitchyFingers (new)

WitchyFingers What did you like about New York Ripper?

And have you seen Suspiria?

message 5: by Phillip (new)

Phillip OH. now i know what you're talking about.

rob, you turned me onto fulci, what gives?
i've seen several films by argento, bava, and a few by fulci...his zombie was my fave out of the few i saw...there was another one i rented and reviewed here a few months ago...can't remember the name of it...

i saw suspiria a few times and enjoyed it....one of the stranger films ever....

message 6: by Phillip (new)

Phillip just posted a review today. i liked it, but it isn't your typical vampire film. that's a good thing, imo.

message 7: by Amy (new)

Amy | 238 comments Mod
The only Argento film I've seen is Suspiria - I remember laughing when the music first starts playing (wah wah wah wah wah wah waaaaah) - by the Goblins, right? The use of color is pretty incredible. The scene with the guy walking his dog at night ratchets up the tension. And hey, who can forget the chick crashing through the stained glass? (wow, that blood is red...)

Recommend any giallo, Gina?

message 8: by Phillip (last edited Aug 27, 2009 05:00PM) (new)

Phillip yeah, italian horror has generated some great soundtrack music. shudder was on tour a few years ago and we picked up the soundtrack for vampiros lesbos in cambridge and listened to it non-stop on the road.

message 9: by WitchyFingers (new)

WitchyFingers Sorry to drop out of the conversation for a while, but I had a busy couple of weeks.

What would you guys think about doing a group watch of some giallo we vote on? I know that not everyone here is interested in the genre, but the few of us that are could watch a movie "together" and then discuss.

message 10: by Amy (new)

Amy | 238 comments Mod
Sounds good to me...

message 11: by Phillip (new)

Phillip I'm up for it, but since I don't know much on the genre perhaps Gina could suggest something. I'm all up for suggestions.

message 12: by Phillip (new)

Phillip sure....any other suggestions?

message 13: by WitchyFingers (new)

WitchyFingers I've always wanted to make a poll! I will do it!

I'll post the nominations below with descriptions, then we can vote on the poll.

message 14: by WitchyFingers (new)

WitchyFingers Nominations:

Black Sabbath
I tre volti della paura
(1963) UR
In this 1963 trilogy of chilling tales, a beautiful woman's ex-lover terrorizes her, a father returns home a vampire, and a ghost haunts a nurse. The vampire story -- probably the most famous of the three -- stars a poignant Boris Karloff, who also plays host for the anthology. Italian horror impresario Mario Bava served as writer, director and cinematographer for the film, and composer Les Baxter serves up the martini-soaked lounge score.

Black Sunday
La maschera del demonio
(1960) NR
Horror reigns supreme when hell's undead demons terrorize the planet! Italian director Mario Bava's first film is a masterpiece of black-and-white gothic horror steeped in rich atmosphere. Condemned witch Princess Asa (Barbara Steele) returns from the dead two centuries after her execution and wreaks vengeance on her executioners' descendents. Beware the Iron Maiden!

The Bird with the Crystal Plumage
L'uccello Dalle Piume di Cristallo
(1970) NR
Witnessing a brutal attack on a woman but unable to help her, Sam (Tony Musante), an American traveling in Rome, soon finds himself the target of an elusive killer. The deeper Sam delves into the mystery, the more at risk he becomes. This highly stylized thriller marks the directorial debut of horror master Dario Argento (Suspiria, Opera), who would later become known as the Italian Alfred Hitchcock.

Blood and Black Lace
Sei Donne Per L'Assassino
(1963) NR
Mario Bava directs this influential Italian giallo about a killer who lives in the shadows and stalks models, a film that inspired slasher flicks of the 1980s with its innovative camera tricks and an impressive roster of dead bodies. The only clue to the murderer's identity is a diary kept by of one of his fashion victims. But he's determined to keep anyone from actually reading it. Cameron Mitchell, Eva Bartok and Thomas Reiner co-star.

The Cat O'Nine Tails
Il Gatto a Nove Code
(1971) PG
Blind retired detective Franco Arno (Karl Malden) overhears a strange conversation by two men outside a pharmaceutical company. When a series of killings occurs connected to the company's top secret research, Franco joins forces with a reporter (James Franciscus) to catch a killer with an extra chromosome. Catherine Spaak also appears in this traditional mystery from typically flamboyant horror director Dario Argento.

Four Flies on Grey Velvet
4 mosche di velluto grigio
(1971) NR
Pushed to the edge of sanity by a series of troubling phones calls and strange occurrences, up-and-coming musician Roberto (Michael Brandon) confronts the stranger he believes is stalking him. When he accidentally stabs the man to death, things go from bad to worse. On the following day, Robert receives an envelope at his home that contains photographs of the shocking murder. Horror icon Dario Argento directs this chilling tale of terror.

(1985) UR
This volume of the Dario Argento collection contains one of the Italian horror mastermind's finest films, Phenomena -- a creepy thriller starring Jennifer Connelly as Jennifer Corvino, a young girl at a Swiss boarding school who discovers she can communicate telepathically with insects. When a serial killer begins murdering students, bug specialist Dr. McGregor (Donald Pleasence) helps Jennifer use her powers to find the killer.

message 15: by WitchyFingers (new)

WitchyFingers I guess I've realized in compiling the nominations that I am more interested in Italian horror in general, not necessary giallo specifically....

message 16: by Phillip (last edited Sep 08, 2009 08:49PM) (new)

Phillip i've seen black sabbath and black sunday, and would be fine seeing them again, with a preference for black sabbath...i've never seen the other movies mentioned, so any would be fine. i'll go cast my vote!

message 17: by Amy (new)

Amy | 238 comments Mod
I've seen Black Sunday - just about all the others sound awesome! I want to see them all!

message 18: by WitchyFingers (new)

WitchyFingers Why don't we plan on watching the top two? I'm excited about all of them, also!

message 19: by Phillip (new)

Phillip sounds good. i'll probably start posting this weekend.

message 20: by WitchyFingers (last edited Sep 09, 2009 08:44PM) (new)

WitchyFingers No, not asshole-ish, Rob.

I'm realizing, as I mentioned above, that my interest lies more in Italian horror than in giallo specificially. I was considering them more synonymous before, but have now realized the difference.

Looks like Black Sabbath will be a winner - I look forward to watching it! The poll is open until Sunday. It looks like one of the early Argentos will be the other winner....it looks like we'll all be enjoying a Bava, Argento, and maybe a nice Chianti sometime soon.

message 21: by Phillip (last edited Sep 11, 2009 08:27AM) (new)

Phillip i saw phenomena last year. yeah, the jennifer factor WAS a selling point, even if she was really young in it.

message 22: by Phillip (last edited Oct 26, 2009 09:45AM) (new)

Phillip yeah, but i meant it in a creepy old lech kind of way...


AND she is a good actress.

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