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Author Topic: All the colors of murder: Guide to giallo cinema  (Read 1954 times)


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All the colors of murder: Guide to giallo cinema
« on: 31 Dec 2020 - 15:50 »

All the colors of murder: Guide to giallo cinema


Book description:

The giallo (plural gialli) is the Italian version of crime and detective films. The name literally means "yellow", and refers to the color of the covers of a collection of novels by Editorial Mondadori that, from the post-war period, would reach great popularity in Italy.

Soon, Italian film producers considered that they could exploit the vein of this genre that had so deeply penetrated the popular classes.

The giallo, as a film genre, is the Italian version of the French Noir and the German Krimi. At least, it initially started that way. But there were going to be many innovations that filmmakers of the stature of Mario Bava and Dario Argento were going to incorporate.

The giallo was going to develop a style and a character of its own. "The girl who knew too much" (Mario Bava, 1963), still in black and white, is clearly inspired by Hitchcock's narrative and stylistic patterns (as its title already suggests). But soon after, with "Blood and black lace", Bava already included an innovative element; namely: An explicit violence, brutal yet elegant. And signs of identity that later directors would repeat incessantly: The mysterious killer, whose identity is not revealed until the end (as in the good novels of Agatha Christie and others), and who is usually dressed in a trench coat, a hat, sometimes a mask, and (now comes the most important thing), some black leather gloves.

Within the giallo, there are in turn an infinite number of combinations and sub-genres. Some, the most classic, are attached to the literary detective "whodunit", others put more emphasis on the psychological thriller à la Hitchcock, others have a dreamlike character in which everyday reality is blurred with fantasy, hallucinations and fears of the characters... There are also those with a comic side (especially black humor), or with a graphic violence even more exacerbated than usual (especially when the criminal does not act for pragmatic-economic reasons, but is a volume and spine psychopath, a serial killer). This last aspect would derive in the 1980s in the sub-genre called "slasher".

Other gialli, on the other hand, incorporate supernatural and parapsychological elements (or at least play with them), such as ghosts and afterlife issues. This is not at all strange, taking into account that the official father of the giallo, Mario Bava, had previously stood out in the gothic horror (with dark abandoned castles, vampires, etc).

"Whodunit", a psychological thriller, graphic violence, erotic touches, and supernatural horror... As we can see, the combinations between these usual ingredients of the giallo (which must always be seasoned with large doses of suspense and mystery) are practically infinite.

The purpose of this book is to serve as a guide for giallo fans. Both for the most hardcore connoisseurs and for those who are just starting to enjoy the films of the genre. You will be able to read reviews and critiques/analyses (some long, some shorter) of many gialli shot in the sixties, seventies (especially!) and early eighties (in Italy and Europe, as several films are in fact co-productions); by renowned directors such as Mario Bava, Dario Argento, Lucio Fulci, Sergio Martino, Umberto Lenzi, Luciano Ercoli and many more. Some of these films are well known in the world. Others are less so, and deserve to be rescued from oblivion (...or not, let each one decide for himself).

Some of these reviews have already appeared on the blog "Alucine Cinéfago", others are unpublished so far.

Available in print and ebook:
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