Monday, January 23, 2012

You've Got Yellow On You: Week One of the Giallo Challenge

This years movie challenge will feature nothing but gialli as defined by a rather cumbersome list as compiled by Brain Bug. Who is Brain Bug? I don’t know. That’s just the name of the list. David Z. of Tomb It May Concern made available said list containing 278 titles. I cannot verify in advance whether all the films are truly giallo in nature, however my research thus far seems to confirm the accuracy of the list.

I’m going to keep a weekly to bi-weekly journal on here detailing my findings. Hopefully it will give you ideas for movies to hunt down or maybe some to avoid. Also, I will from time to time include a list of movies that I am hunting. Gialli can be somewhat difficult to locate for any number of reasons. So far I’ve been using Netflix and my own private collection for viewing. When that runs out we’ll hit up YouTube or maybe join Blockbuster online for a free trial to get the one film they probably stock. Suggestions for movie sources will always been greatly appreciated.

Here are the movies I watched last week and some brief thoughts.

Killer Must Kill Again: A subtle and somewhat sexy picture although a bit heavy on the dialogue. Not enough action. Less mysterious even. This is my first movie by Luigi Cozzi. I love the credit sequence with the spider web and the piano music score.

Who Saw Her Die?: My first Aldo Lado film (although it will not be my last). This movie has a great opening sequence. The score is done by the great Ennio Morricone. You pretty much know it by the first couple of notes and makes all the difference in an otherwise okay picture.

Black Belly of the Tarantula: There’s something amazing about steam going over a dead body. It’s almost like a slowed down wind tunnel. The murder method is unique. The blood is Crayola red and Ennio did the score. A fun movie to be certain and a nice twist that may seem used up by today’s standards but is stil,l none the less, effective. My first Paulo Cavara movie.

All the Colors of the Dark: This picture comes off like a hippy experimental film. A hot lead with great brown eyes that contrast some very unique blue eyes by her assailant.  Great for the orgies, but the music is totally blah. I expect more out of Sergio Martino.

Lizard in A Woman’s Skin: There’s a reason why Lucio Fulci makes zombie, creep out, chaos movies and stays away for giallo. He’s better at those. That’s not to say that this psychedelic freak out is a bad movie. Love the lead actress and the strange hallucinations. The music is near industrial and almost, dare I say it… the sound of Godzilla!

Madhouse: This movie has some mighty bad synth drums. It’s a quality flick with a gore filled credit sequence. Also known as And When She Was Bad and qualifies as a Video Nasty (that’s my other film challenge this year). Directed by Ovidio G. Assonitos.

My Dear Killer: I kept thinking, “wow, this music sounds just like the music from the Bird With the Crystal Plumage”. Guess who did the score? Ennio of course. Tonino Valleri directed this fun mystery. I enjoyed the who done it, reveal the killer sequence at the end. A clever film, but it’s way too slow for its own good.

Blow Up: I was talking to a buddy of mine and mentioned that this movie was on the gialli list. Well he hadn’t seen any giallo films and wanted to know if it fit. I say it does. It’s not quite the “catch the masked killer” film. You know who done it. You just don’t know if our protagonist will get it next. The women are phenomenal. The music is Herbie Hancock which puts a whole different spin on the genre for me. This film by far has some of the most amazing shots in all of film and not just films in the giallo subgenre. The shots are framed in a unique way (check it out if you don’t believe me). Some of the greatest motion photography and automobile photography. I kept thinking that this movie felt quite a bit like Eyes Wide Shut… as if Kubrick borrowed a bit. Michelangelo Antonioni is a master although I’ve heard his other films are very slow.

Short Night of the Glass Dolls: This is a slow mover with some pretty great music. I love it when a seemingly dead man does voiceovers whilst his dead body is carted around, don’t you? It’s a great ending that is worth the drudge. Who doesn’t love cult orgies and golden gods!?

Blood Stained Shadow: Some nice acting, but this thing never really picks up the pace.  Loads of downtime where the plot isn’t moved forward.  From the opening fifteen minutes you’d think you were about to watch a quality film, but the whole thing abandons the initial punch-you-in-the-gut formula and settles for a wandering detective story. Nice bush (did he just say that? YES!). Antonio Bido…nice casting.

A Blade in the Dark: The most comedic of all the films I watched this week. I had trouble taking it seriously even for a minute. Lamberto Bava, you are much better than this movie. The actors are for shit. I sincerely wish this movie wasn’t dubbed quite so poorly in the version I watched. The music is great and the opening kill sequence feels fake and protracted. I suppose the messy bathroom kill sequence midway through the film really makes up for it. This one is from the 80’s so not exactly the hay day of this film genre.

Cat O’ Nine Tails: Karl Maldon is just a fantastic actor. He’s all you really need to have such a high quality mystery; one really great actor. This film holds up on all levels. It’s a fun mystery to work through with a Morricone script and is directed by the master himself. A real treat.

More next week, kiddies.

-Dr. Terror


  1. you've got red on you. ; ) we've been having a bit of a bill nighy fest around here. i couldn't resist.

  2. Nighy is a comedic genius. Giallo means yellow in Italian so I couldnt resist. Look for more of the same throughout the challenge.