Tuesday, January 31, 2012

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


While week one of the giallo challenge got off to a rather intense pace, week two was slightly more subdued. That doesn’t mean that I didn’t watch as much god damn giallo as any one could possibly stomach, but I had to fit a few other key pieces of reviewable material into the mix. It’s become apparent that best of lists exist for a reason. Going through the good, the bad and the boring is an uncertain path. You never know when you’re going to find an unnoticed gem. So far the gems have been more or less noticed on various best of lists. A worst of list would be most appreciated.

It might interest you to know that I don’t only like the horror genre (no… YES!). I don’t get to watch films outside of my little world often enough and should really make time to do so in a year that isn’t jam packed with challenges. With the giallo challenge, the Video Nasty challenge and now considering an Amicus challenge (that would be finishing off the few remaining Amicus flicks I haven’t watched) any deviation from the horror watching course could be damning to one or all three of my ventures. So we’ll save the month without a horror movie challenge for a less intense year.

Now on to the yellow:

Killer Likes Candy: It’s early yet for giallo in 1968. I don’t really know this director (let’s not discuss Playboy 70 Mr. Owens!) and the film doesn’t have that polished look that giallo will get once Argento gets ahold of it in a couple years. The music is more Mary Tyler Moore, less jazz/progressive. It’s the most boring film I’ve seen in years. I actually lost the fight to stay awake. Please do not be fooled by the strange name. It’s rated PG for fuck’s sake!

Seven Blood Stained Orchids: It’s got excellent music. Excellent kills. Hot women. The cats near the milk bowl scene is classic (trust me). I love the way shots were framed in this movie and the color is rich. I wanted to scream, “stop tickling that girls belly!” Body paint? Really? Random! Best quote: “I never met the bitch, and I don’t give a shit”. Never doubt an Umberto Lenzi picture.

Do You Like Hitchcock?: The production value is just strange. I think I would have expected higher quality from Argento. The references to Hitchcock may sound like fun novelty, but I found it ineffective, the story boring and the film fairly typical of latter Argento… not worth the watch.

What Have You Done to Solange?: Massimo Dallamano is the director on this one. His credits include Cinematographer on For A Few Dollars more and A Fistful of Dollar, so you really have high expectations for this one. He lives up to his history. With Ennio backing him up on music and Camille Keaton in what appears to be her first role I find it hard not to love this movie. Good era for giallo films with magnificent kills that will make the women folk just a wee bit uncomfortable. There’s a lovely shower scene to watch out for. Also have you ever seen a gold shark tooth necklace? You will (and you’ll be turned on… swingin’! Great story with a nice finish. Well done Mr. Dallamano. 

The Scorpion Has Two Tails: With Sergio Martino beyond the camera and Saxon in front of the lens you’d think the film would be stunning. Not so. This picture has only one thing going for it, the god damn poster. I adore the poster. I liked it even better when it was used for House by the Cemetery. I guess the overwhelming use of maggots can’t be discounted either. Do Italians have more access to live insect larvae then other countries?

The Card Player: Everyone talks shit about this movie. I really enjoyed it as the exception to the rule about modern Argento films (see previously mentioned So You Like Hitchcock? Review). Some good acting, nice premise… boy am I glad that I don’t gamble. Giallo always use the retractable razorblade kill. I’m glad that it’s held up. There’s a slow spot in the middle of the film that I could do without. Also, if you’re going to do a little Silence of the Lambs borrow, please chose an orifice other than the nostril. 

Killer Nun: I truly do not believe that this is giallo. Nothing about this screams murder mystery, thriller. If I want to see nuns doing obscene things I have a Ken Russell movie with my name on it. The nuns are barely nude for all the hype I’ve read. Utterly boring. Question: Why do some nuns have white habits and some have black habits? Different sects? Denominations? Easier to life size chess?

Until next week, may your skies be a sickly shade of Amarillo and your gloves be black leather.

-Dr. Terror.