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UNDER CONSTRUCTION

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WHAT THE HELL IS A GIALLO?

A giallo (plural gialli) is a film genre that originated in Italy in the late sixties and was popularised by directors such as Dario Argento, Mario Bava and Lucio Fulci. The word "giallo" simply translates as yellow and the genre is named as such, as the original gialli were based on pulp murder mystery novels that were recognisable by their lurid yellow covers. Primarily, the giallo is a murder mystery that combines elements of the horror and thriller genres and filters them through a distinctly Italian excessive style to create a unique blend of cinema. Gialli are typically filled with stylish camera work, excessive violence, expressive music, eroticism and lavish settings. Everything in the giallo world seems a little bit odd and the giallo often has a dream like, surreal quality due to the very stylised nature of the films. Themes in gialli tend to include; alienation, madness and paranoia and a giallo's plot will often revolve around a mentally unstable, black gloved killer who dispatches his victims for all sorts of Freudian reasons. He/she is only revealed after a number of red herrings are used to distract the audience from the true villain.


Of course, like the majority of film genres, the giallo is a contested genre. Many believe that a true giallo is one made between the period of 1968 - 1975. Others will go further and state that the giallo must have been made in this time period and be primarily, an Italian production. Some aficionados believe that for a film to be categorised as a giallo it must contain several tropes and key elements such as the gloved killer, psychosexual motifs and red herrings a plenty. Other people like me, don't get hung up on that stuff and believe that the giallo spirit lives on even now and that the emergence of neo gialli such as Amer, Yellow: The Movie and Tulpa prove the genre is still alive today.

WHY DO YOU LOVE GIALLO SO MUCH?

When I was a teenager films like Saw and Hostel were huge but that  torture porn style never really appealed to me. Torture porn was murky and dark, filled with sludgy earthy tones. To me, it wasn't visually appealing and the set pieces always left me cold, it was violence for the sake of violence often with no panache or style. The giallo is another world away to me, it's often filled with humour, colourful characters and off the wall set pieces with truly interesting (in some cases, pioneering) camera work. I love how if I pause a giallo at any moment, the still on my screen will look like a work of art. The giallo just always looks so beautiful and interesting and it really appeals to me visually, I'm always astounded by the buildings, interiors and costuming used in these films. I love the murder mystery element and the pay off of finding out with the killer is and I appreciate the over the top nature of how we get to that conclusion. The giallo can truly be scary and that's always down to the unique atmosphere created within the film, a foreboding sense of dread that can be heightened by something as simple as a lingering shot of telephone or a tracking shot of a building's exterior. I love all the Freudian stuff in the giallo, love all the themes of madness and psychotic disorders and unhealthy family relationships. Even in the giallos that I'm not so fond of, I always find something enjoyable usually because of the experimental nature of the genre. It's also a lot of fun being into gialli because you can spend hours tracking down the best copies of films and finding obscure gems among the more well known stuff. The giallo truly is my favourite genre of cinema.

WHEN DID YOU FIRST GET INTO THE GENRE?

I first got into gialli at 17. My ex insisted that I watch Suspiria and even though I really enjoyed it I had my mind on other things and it never really clicked with me beyond thinking the set pieces were impressive. Disheartened, he left me with a copy of Tenebrae which sat on my shelf collecting dust because I'm a terrible person and never watch the films people lend me. One night, after a typical teenage argument with the parents, I decided to sit in my room and stew in the dark so decided to do this whilst watching a film. I chose Tenebrae and was utterly blown away by it. The next day I insisted my sister watch it with me and ever since that moment I've been a huge fan of the giallo.

FAVOURITE DIRECTOR?

I know it's the most obvious one but I've got to say Dario Argento. My runner up would probably be Sergio Martino.


FAVOURITE ACTORS/ACTRESSES?

It's a tie between George Hilton and Fabio Testi. When I first got into gialli I started off by getting anything that George Hilton appeared in because I thought he was fantastic. I started getting into polizitecchi because of Fabio Testi and again, sought out anything he was in from The Big Racket to Contraband. Shout out also to Ivan Rassimov, easily my favourite giallo villain and the man with the best hair in all of the giallo world.



FAVOURITE GIALLO?

A really hard one to answer! Tenebrae because it's the first film of its ilk that I fell in love with. Of course anything in Argento's golden period, The Strange Vice of Mrs Wardh, The Killer Must Kill Again, Hatchet for the Honeymoon, Don't Torture a Ducking... It goes on and on!



I'M READING YOUR BLOG AND YOU MENTION <INSERT FILM HERE> BUT IT ISN'T EVEN A GIALLO, WHY ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT IT?

Look, I'm not claiming that every film mentioned here will be a giallo. Some say that a film can't be a giallo if it's made out with the 68-75 time frame. I'm using this blog to talk about gialli as well as films that are connected i.e. by director, actor, loosely by genre etc.

OH AND FINALLY, WHO THE HELL ARE YOU?

I'm Rachael, I'm a twenty something from Edinburgh, Scotland. When I'm not thinking about or watching giallo, I like to drink beer, watch questionable television shows, muse about design and dress like I'm living in the US in 1994.







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