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…By Any Other Name: The Giallo Art Project
By Nathan “Son of Celluloid” Hamilton
The Italians have always had a knack for bizarre titles. In fact, during the Giallo wave they elevated the movie title to an art form in and of itself. When I was but a Wee Lad of Celluloid poring over the pages of the gray market catalogs I ordered from the Fangoria classifieds, I would dream of the forbidden wonders the titles held. Some were self-explanatory. You pretty much know what you’re getting with Cannibal Holocaust. Stage Fright and The Church make sense in the context of the film. Once you figure out what in the green hell an Anthropophagus is, it works. Then I ran across names like Four Flies On Gray Velvet or The House With The Laughing Windows. What could these movies possibly be about? Such esoteric, evocative titles filled my head with all kinds of images – ranging from the profane to the profound – of what they meant. I would later discover that the connection between some of these titles and the films themselves were tenuous at best. When thinking about what to do for Italian Horror Week this year, I decided that I wanted to play with that sense of wonder that these bizarre titles elicited from me way back when. Thus was born The Giallo Art Project.
The setup is simple. I contacted some of my more artistically inclined friends (since I have no skill in the visual arts whatsoever), gave them a title of a giallo film, and asked them to create a piece based solely on that title. The majority of them had never seen the movies themselves, which makes it that much better. These are the pure images that these words brought forth in the minds of these artists filtered through many different styles and mediums. These masterpieces blew me away, and I’m happier than Fulci at an ocular surgery convention to share them with you…
1. The Killer Reserved Nine Seats by Nate Gore
It kinda surprised me that Nate was the only one whose contribution took the form of a movie poster. I dig the color-flooded Argento style visuals.
2. Short Night Of Glass Dolls by Ingo Holtorf
Ingo, who I affectionately call German Cellmate #1, gives the project a certain legitimacy by being the only entry that’s actually from Europe. Those glass dolls are straight-up creepy.
3. Seven Deaths In A Cat’s Eye by Nicky Riale
I love the way the vibrant eye stands out against the more understated cat. Go ahead, zoom in on that eye. We’ll wait.
4. The Devil Has Seven Faces by Tei Casasanta
Seven different visions of the ultimate evil, or Satan’s multiple personalities? I wish some mask maker out there would create these killer designs in wearable form.
5. The Devil Has Seven (Deadly) Faces by Allen Simmons
Yeah, I screwed up and gave this title out twice. He added a word, though, so just go with it. Allen brought a comic book sensibility to the project, creating a septet of femme fatales. Kind of an unholy Charlie’s Angels. You know, I always said that the devil had to be a woman.
6. Your Vice Is A Locked Room And Only I Have The Key by Jeff Maynard
Jeff is one of my oldest friends and a true sick fuck, so I knew he could handle one of the weirder ones. What I didn’t expect was for him to do two, one funny and one, um… Danzig album cover-y. The room number is a nice touch.
7. Don’t Torture A Duckling by Michael Rose
Michael, a great makeup effects artist (Spiked FX), killed it with this painting. It makes me laugh like a maniac every time I look at it. I’m not sure if it’s the painting itself or the looks I got when I took it to Kinkos to get it scanned.
8. Who Saw Her Die? by Jasmine Briers
AWESOME mixed media concept. Just plain brilliant. Wanna hear something really impressive? The artist is only 14 years old!
9. Lizard In A Woman’s Skin by Shane Morton
This effects artist (look for his work in Your Pretty Face Is Going To Hell on Adult Swim) and horror host (Dr. Morte) went above and beyond with this badass sculpture. This thing needs to be in a gallery