Wednesday, February 10, 2010


A good giallo, before it can be considered great, must fulfil certain specific criteria:
- stunning locations unfamiliar to the viewer
- beautiful charismatic girls of all types and backgrounds that revel in the celebration of their tarterie, to wit, the showing-off of their bodies in sensationally alluring outfits
- a brilliant eclectic soundtrack by a single composer
- an unknown sex maniac killer sporting stylish black leather gloves

Torso (****)
the red-headed beauty that is Tina Aumont, plus the extraordinary proto-slasher chase scene in the woods (remorselessly imitated ever since), would alone make worth seeing what is otherwise a patchy yet tremendously fun and sexy giallo

Six Women For The Murderer (*****)
Sei Donne, in its entirety, is a vibrantly beautiful sexy feast for your greedy eyes; Bava's 1964 classic was a huge influence on the giallo genre

A Lizard In A Woman's Skin (****)
weird and highly satisfying giallo by Fulci set in 60s swinging London, it captures the sordidness of the hippie acid scene better than most films of the era

A Bay Of Blood (****)
fascinating to see the origins of the slasher-by-numbers genre, in particular the Friday 13th franchise - the ever-inventive Mario Bava was, once more, way ahead of his time

Don't Torture A Duckling (*****)
Fulci's masterpiece, way better than all his later zombie shit; there are some extraordinarily memorable and twisted scenes, some wonderful mystery and polemic, a fine cast including the incomparable Barbara Bouchet, a killer Ortolani soundtrack, and all set in astounding locations in southern Italy; what more could you possibly want?

The Bird With The Crystal Plumage (**)
from a promising outset this starts to drag badly, the actors lack charisma, Morricone's score is substandard, and the cinematography is nothing special compared to the best of the gialli; Dario Argento is, once again, way overrated

The Red Queen Kills 7 Times (****)
brilliant stylish (and oft-overlooked) giallo by Emilio Miraglia set in beautiful Wurzburg, Bavaria - with a classic Bruno Nicolai soundtrack to match

1 comment:

N.Brown said...

I thought you'd be a Giallo fan William. Some good choices here.

A few others you might enjoy/may have seen:

A Blade In The Dark - 1980s addition to the cycle by Lamberto Bava. Good score, very violent.

Delirio Caldo - crazy, pretensious pervy and misogynist 1972 entry by Renato Polselli.

The New York Ripper - you must have seen this! Probably my favourite Fulci and one of the grimmest, most unrelenting films I've ever seen. Has lost no impact over time.

And if you're in the mood for more Italian sleaze...are you aware of the 'Fumetti Nera' comics from the 70s and 80s? They're a new obsession of mine. Ludicrous amounts of extreme sex and violence, crazy plots, usually good art - genuinely mind-boggling stuff. There's a lot of info and scans on this (excellent) blog:

Your jaw will drop. Seem to be loads available on Italian ebay too.

One last thing: not a Giallo, but Italian, sleazy and fits in with your Africa obsession - Goodbye Uncle Tom by Mondo pioneers Jacopetti and Prosperi. You've probably seen it - but what a film!