THE AMERICAN GIALLO
The Italian Giallo and its Influence on North-American Cinema
submitted in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of
Doktor der Philosophie
Fakultät für Kulturwissenschaften
Supervisor Assoc.-Prof. PD Dr. Angela Fabris Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt Institut für Romanistik
Supervisor Univ.-Prof. Dr. Jörg Helbig, M.A. Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt Institut für Anglistik und Amerikanistik
Evaluator Univ.-Prof. Dr. Jörg Helbig, M.A. Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt Institut für Anglistik und Amerikanistik
Evaluator Assoc. Prof. Srećko Jurišić University of Split
Klagenfurt, February 2020
I hereby declare in lieu of an oath that - the submitted academic paper is entirely my own work and that no auxiliary materials have been used other than those indicated, - I have fully disclosed all assistance received from third parties during the process of writing the thesis, including any significant advice from supervisors, - any contents taken from the works of third parties or my own works that have been included either literally or in spirit have been appropriately marked and the respective source of the information has been clearly identified with precise bibliographical refer- ences (e.g. in footnotes), - to date, I have not submitted this paper to an examining authority either in Austria or abroad and that - when passing on copies of the academic thesis (e.g. in bound, printed or digital form), I will ensure that each copy is fully consistent with the submitted digital version.
I understand that the digital version of the academic thesis submitted will be used for the purpose of conducting a plagiarism assessment.
I am aware that a declaration contrary to the facts will have legal consequences.
Georgi Wehr m.p. Klagenfurt, February 2020
© Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt, Studien- und Prüfungsabteilung version 2019-03-27
I would like to thank the following people:
My wife Martina, who encouraged me to write this dissertation and who was always a great help and support in this realization. Without you I would not have managed it! My daughter Isabella, who makes my day shine bright. Jörg Helbig, who has given me the chance to write on this topic. Danny Dietsch, who introduced me to the giallo filone thanks to Mario Bava’s BLOOD AND BLACK LACE and Dario Argento’s THE BIRD WITH THE CRYSTAL PLUMAGE back in 2003.
© Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt, Studien- und Prüfungsabteilung version 2019-03-27
iii Content 1. INTRODUCTION ...... 1 2. TOWARDS A DEFINITION OF THE ITALIAN GIALLO ...... 7
2.1. THE GIALLO AS A FILONE ...... 13 2.2. ORIGINS OF THE GIALLO ...... 18 2.2.1. Gothic Horror ...... 18 2.2.2. German Krimi ...... 25 2.2.3. Hitchcockian Legacy ...... 28 2.3. TYPICAL FEATURES OF THE GIALLO ...... 31 2.3.1. Anglophone Foreigners Turn Into Amateur Sleuths ...... 32 2.3.2. Urbanity as an Ideal Location ...... 35 2.3.3. Giallo-esque Settings...... 39 2.3.4. Common Props ...... 42 2.3.5. A Killer on the Loose...... 48 220.127.116.11. The Perpetrator’s Motive for Bloodshed ...... 55 18.104.22.168. Psychoanalytical Approach to Giallo Killers ...... 59 2.3.6. Weapons ...... 62 2.3.7. The Victim’s Demise ...... 65 2.3.8. Seduction and Submission all'italiana: Il Giallo Erotico ...... 67 2.3.9. Voyeurism ...... 74 2.3.10. Film Technique ...... 78 2.3.11. Music ...... 85 3. THE AMERICAN GIALLO – THE GIALLO INFLUENCE ON NORTH-AMERICAN CINEMA .... 89
3.1. A NEW GENRE EMERGES - THE SLASHER ...... 93 3.1.1. The Giallo Influence on Slasher Movies ...... 94 22.214.171.124. Friday the 13th - A Blatant Imitation of Reazione a Catena ...... 95 126.96.36.199. Slasher Versus Giallo ...... 97 188.8.131.52.1. The Final Girl ...... 99 184.108.40.206.2. The Slasher as a Filone ...... 101 220.127.116.11. A Socio-Historical Examination of the American Slasher ...... 106 18.104.22.168.1. The Classical Slasher...... 106 22.214.171.124.2. Borrowing from the Italians ...... 109 126.96.36.199.3. The Meta-Giallo and its Impact on the Meta-Slasher ...... 117 188.8.131.52.4. Neo-Slasher in Comparison to Neo-Gialli ...... 121 3.2. AN AMERICAN EQUIVALENT: THE AMERICAN GIALLO THRILLER ...... 126 3.2.1. The Penchant for Urbanity ...... 131 3.2.2. The Amateur Sleuth in the American Giallo ...... 142 3.2.3. Killer on the Rampage ...... 148 184.108.40.206. Female Killers ...... 158 3.2.4. Quentin Tarantino’s Affection for the Giallo ...... 164 3.2.5. The Parodistic Homage to the Giallo ...... 171 3.2.6. Sexuality and Fetish, Made in Hollywood ...... 175 4. CONCLUSION ...... 184 5. FILMOGRAPHY ...... 187
5.1. AMERICAN/CANADIAN PRODUCTIONS ...... 187 5.2. ITALIAN GIALLI ...... 192 5.3. ITALIAN PRODUCTIONS ...... 195 5.4. EUROPEAN PRODUCTIONS ...... 196 6. BIBLIOGRAPHY ...... 197
iv 1. INTRODUCTION
On January 13th, 2017, LA’s New Beverly had a marathon of six Dario Argento classics which were sold out under 30 seconds, setting a new record. No less a person than Quentin Tarantino resurrected the genre in the historic movie theater although the giallo was and still is a quite unknown and unrecognized filone outside of Italy. Moreo- ver, the giallo premiered worldwide as a retrospective at the film museum in Vienna from August 30th to October 24th, 2019, presenting forty selected titles. The film mu- seum notes that “this very first comprehensive giallo retrospective brings the genre's salient examples together with classics and rarities, bloodcurdlers and art works”, and it is their intention “to explore the giallo phenomenon on a greater scale” (Filmmuseum 2019).
Poster Giallo – Filmmuseum Wien
As an aficionado of European exploitation cinema, which includes the giallo, I decided to write my doctoral thesis on the gap of extensive research of the giallo impact on American film productions. Thus, the second part of this paper concentrates primarily on American (and some Canadian) film projects and excludes any non-American mov- ies. The main aim is to identify and unearth how American filmmakers have incorpo- rated tropes, which were originally introduced by the giallo, into American productions. The presented evaluations will support the thesis that such directors and genres have been indelibly influenced by this relatively unknown Italian giallo filone, which is even
1 today regarded by film critics as ‘lowbrow’. Even Hollywood director John Carpenter claims being hugely incited by the giallo:
PRINCE OF DARKNESS was a movie that was inspired by a Dario Argento movie called IN- FERNO. I loved INFERNO, but the thing that was inspiring to me was, it was just so free. Narratively, it didn’t make a whole lot of sense, but that didn’t matter. The movie was so profound. I thought, […], I want to do something like this. So that’s what my inspiration really came from. […] I haven’t ever told Dario that. I should tell him. - John Carpenter, 2017. (Roffman 2017)
From the end of WWII, Italian cinema has played a major role in European filmmaking. After Mussolini’s demise in 1943, Italian movies started to show the somber mood of Italian life. Italian cinema depicted the dismal domestic economy, dilapidated cities and deadly famine, presented in the neorealist movement, consisting of renowned direc- tors, such as Federico Fellini, Roberto Rossellini, Vittorio De Sica and Lucchino Vis- conti, who showed a gloomy and realistic picture of post-war life in Italy. Cesare Zavat- tini wrote in the early 1950s:
This powerful desire of the [neorealist] cinema to see and to analyze, this hunger for reality, for truth, is a kind of concrete homage to other people, that is, to all who exist… whereas we are attracted by the truth, by the reality which touches us and which we want to know and understand directly and thoroughly, the Americans continue to satisfy themselves with a sweetened version of truth produced through transpositions. (Kolker 2009, 18)
The neorealist films were predominantly presented in Italian prima visione cinemas, but they were “relatively unpopular within Italy and achieved success primarily among intellectuals and foreign critics” (Bondanella 2006, 36). Records show that between 1945 and 1953 approximately 80 movies, which can be classified as neorealist, were released but most of them were box office failures (36). At that time, films that were preferred by the majority of Italians were popular cinema movies that were coming out of America, such as sword-and-sandal movies (peplums). The literary giallo began in Italy in 1929 when Arnoldo Mondadori’s eponymous publishing company launched the Giallo Mondadori series which focused on crime and detective novels. These paperbacks were wrapped in distinctive yellow dust jackets. Italians accepted this new form of popular literary entertainment and these gialli, penned by both, domestically and internationally famous and successful writers, gained great popularity. The success of these yellow books prompted Italian film direc- tor Mario Bava to apply the tropes of the giallo to cinema and the Italian audience was enthusiastic about this new form of filmmaking. Hence, in 1963 the cinematic giallo was born. Bava’s LA RAGAZZA CHE SAPEVA TROPPO (Italy, THE GIRL WHO KNEW TOO
2 MUCH) and SEI DONNE PER L'ASSASSINO (Italy 1964, BLOOD AND BLACK LACE) created a new cinematic genre – filone – of over five hundred Italian gialli to date. A great number of gialli were produced between 1970 and 1975, triggered by the international success of Dario Argento’s L’UCCELLO DALLE PIUME DI CRISTALLO (Italy/Germany 1970, THE BIRD
WITH THE CRYSTAL PLUMAGE). Besides producing ‘highbrow’ films by internationally acclaimed Italian directors, postwar Italian film production focused on churning out popular cinema, embedding gothic horror, Italo-westerns, and the giallo. Such films lured millions of Italians to the terza visione cinemas in the 1960s and 1970s, due to three pivotal factors: laughter, thrill and titillation. These movies have greatly impacted Italian culture and they reflect the times in which they were produced. While the majority of gialli are categorized as ‘lowbrow’, some directors, in particular Mario Bava and Dario Argento, directed cere- bral gialli which have become well-known and revered as ‘highbrow’ gialli, often out- performing art films by Fellini or Rossellini at the box office. The giallo formula, with all its brutality, voyeurism and murder has proven to have long-lasting impact and contin- ued appeal on filmmakers and audiences. Italians loved to watch gialli which depicted explicit murders, overt sexuality and red herrings. Soon, some selected titles were screened in German, French and British theaters and Bava and Argento have gained many cult followers outside Italy who shared their passion for Italian auteur films. This trend also fascinated people on the other side of the Atlantic. In the 1970s, American drive-in and grindhouse theaters tapped into the exploitation market and ex- hibited some gialli. Thus, these forms of American theaters and the advent of home video had a huge impact on the American popularity of this filone. A crucial factor for the giallo’s success was Dario Argento. “For many people, to say giallo is to say Dario Argento” (Fernández n.d.). “The Italian Hitchcock”, a title which he received after his debut giallo L’UCCELLO DALLE PIUME DI CRISTALLO, set new standards and opened doors. All his films implemented a “handcrafted taste and an original and spectacular scenery that turn them into true delicatessen to any genre enthusiast” (Fernández n.d.). In par- ticular, Argento’s PROFONDO ROSSO (Italy 1975, DEEP RED) became a huge interna- tional success, therefore, the giallo turned into a “fundamentally imitative phenomenon [for Hollywood filmmaking, due to] its cosmopolitan mise-en-scène amounting to a di- lution of national signifiers in the face of transatlantic narrative formats” (Fisher 2017, 260).
3 As claimed by Fisher, PROFONDO ROSSO became an instigator for American film productions. Thus, the question arises which main factors of the Italian giallo corpus have influenced Hollywood filmmaking? Due to the lack of academic sources a corpus of gialli needed to be formed which are relevant for my research. To reveal its cinematic and cultural impact, it is important to analyze if American productions were only af- fected by the Italian stylistic and technical content or also by its socio-cultural aspects. Films can both depict and influence a country’s culture, so it should be explored whether the impact of the giallo goes beyond American film genres and filmmakers. As little research has been done so far in this area, North American film productions are examined, bearing the giallo hallmark. It should be noted that academic studies on the giallo’s impact on non-Italian filmmakers or genres have been very scarce to date. The Italian giallo has been ana- lyzed on an academic level only by Gary Needham, Michel Koven, Danny Shipka, Mi- chael Sevastakis and Marcus Stiglegger. Koven was the first to evaluate the giallo. The back cover of his book La Dolce Morte contains the claim that,
In addition to being the first academic study of the giallo film in English, this book surveys more than fifty films in this subgenre. The works of twenty-five different filmmakers are considered […]. Koven explores the interrelationships between these films […] [and] also discusses the impact of the giallo on the later North American slasher genre”. (Koven 2006, backpage)
The last chapter of Koven’s La Dolce Morte is called “From Giallo to Slasher” and over ten pages Koven investigates the impact of the giallo on American slasher films. Shipka asserts that early American slasher movies, such as John Carpenter’s HALLOWEEN and
Sean Cunningham’s FRIDAY THE 13TH (USA 1980) owe a great debt to the giallo (Shipka 2011, 98). Both Shipka and Koven focus on the influence of the giallo on Amer- ican slasher movies, but the filone also shaped other genres. Altogether 357 movies have been investigated for this project. As Jacques Au- mont and Michel Marie propose in Analysis of Film (1988), there is no correct, universal way to write film analysis, but there are several types how a film can be read. Hence, the semiotic analysis will, for instance, evaluate the meaning behind signs, symbols and analogies. The narrative structure analysis will focus on plot structure, character motivations and the theme. To examine the broader context, with a focus on culture, time and place of the film’s creation, the contextual analysis will play an important role, considering the social and political concerns of the time period. Finally, the mise-en- scene analysis will concentrate on the compositional elements in film.
4 This dissertation is divided into two parts. The first part focusses on an explora- tion into the Italian giallo, as this knowledge is fundamental for the second part, helping to understand its ramification on American movies. As a primary source 108 gialli were analyzed, which deal as the giallo corpus for this project. In the first chapter, not only the stimulus to the giallo will be examined, but also, and in particular, the various traits common to this filone. Apart from identifying the salient emblematic characteristics par- amount for the giallo, interrelationships between Italian directors and films will be eval- uated; how one film influenced another or how Italian directors borrowed, copied or took ideas and implemented them into their own gialli. The œuvres of three directors, Mario Bava, Dario Argento and Sergio Martino, will be explored in more detail as their seminal works have left an indelible impact on other Italian filmmakers and on Holly- wood. The second part evaluates the role of the Italian giallo in North American film productions (US and Canadian) in terms of cinematic and cultural influence, intertex- tuality and legacy.1 For this purpose, over one hundred and fifty American thrillers and about forty slashers were examined. Only US movies showing more than two distinct giallo elements were admissible for my research as one correlation might be insuffi- cient and a coincidence. This resulted in 55 American thrillers and twenty slashers correlating significantly with the Italian giallo. Between the 1960s and 1980s a selection of gialli were exhibited in American movie theaters. The giallo formula, consisting of a wide variety of specific traits, began affecting American film productions and directors, such as Brian De Palma, William Friedkin, Irvin Kershner and John Carpenter. For instance, John Carpenter “has described Argento’s SUSPIRIA as a terrifying master- piece” (Harper 2004, 9) and undeniably, Mario Bava’s and Dario Argento’s gialli were the foundation for the American slasher movies of the 1970s and 80s. Koven identifies the giallo as a form of vernacular cinema and argues “that its combination of psychotic terror with multicultural casting and depictions of jet-setting lifestyles reflects a distinct ambivalence towards modernity felt by Italian audiences at that time” (in Fisher 2017, 260-261). Although Koven sees the giallo as vernacular cinema, its cultural and cine- matic mark on American productions is palpable and will be examined in the second chapter.
1 It is vital also to mention the impact on Canadian films, particularly on the horror genre, as they differ- entiate from the Hollywood equivalents. 5 Part two starts with the effect on the slasher genre which was shaped by the giallo filone. The giallo can be considered as the template for the multitude of slasher movies which began flooding the North American market in the late 1970s, starting with Bob Clarke’s BLACK CHRISTMAS (Canada 1974) and John Carpenter’s HALLOWEEN (USA 1978). Slasher movies have had a significant impact on American culture and have often infused contemporary social issues in their storylines, similar to their Italian counterpart. After the slasher, the thriller genre will be evaluated, as a considerable number of American thrillers also bear the hallmarks and fingerprints of the giallo. Thrillers that were produced by renowned American filmmakers, like Brian De Palma, Irvin Kershner and William Friedkin, will be analyzed and analogies between the Amer- ican productions and the Italian gialli will be identified. Although several American di- rectors, such as De Palma, have denied being affected by the Italian filone, giallo tropes and devices are all too apparent in their movies (Brown 2012). Some directors have paid homage to the giallo but have refused or perhaps have neglected to mention their giallo stimulus, while others have been open and boisterous regarding their affinity for the giallo and how it inspired their productions. Several American movies employ giallo traits and storylines, and these films can be regarded as ‘American gialli’, even though this term has never been widely used.
6 2. TOWARDS A DEFINITION OF THE ITALIAN GIALLO
My first film was THE BIRD WITH THE CRYSTAL PLUMAGE, which was a good giallo with an interesting idea behind it. After that one, it was quite natural to make a few others, because they asked me to do them, and they worked, they had success. So it continued. - Dario Argento, 2009. (Argento 2009)
Giallo, the Italian word for the color yellow, has become a synonym for detective and crime novels which were released by the Italian publisher Mondadori in 1929. Accord- ing to film scholar Michael J. Koven,
the term giallo acts as a metonym for the entire mystery genre: in a British or North Amer- ican bookstore […] an Agatha Christie novel [would be found in] a section called “Mystery”; however, in an Italian bookstore, that section would likely be called ‘Giallo’. So, at the most basic level, any murder-mystery narrative could be classed as giallo. (M. Koven 2006, 2-3)
These paperbacks texts, wrapped in yellow dust jackets, were originally translated from English authors, while later, many were penned by Italian writers (Met 2006, 195). From 1931, Mondadori published one paperback per week, and the novels by famous American and British crime writers, such as S.S. Van Dine, Agatha Christie and Edgar Wallace, were known collectively as gialli. In 1941, the Italian Fascist government, through the Ministero della Cultura Popolare, banned crime novels, and therefore, Mondadori were unable to publish these books from 1941 to 1946. By 1965, the ma- jority of giallo authors were from outside Italy, primarily Britain and America. Of some 800 crime novels only twelve titles were written by Italians. However, starting the mid- 1960s, native writers, such as Giorgio Scerbanesco, Leonardo Sciascia, Carlo Fruttero and Franco Lucentini, became prominent figures in the giallo Mandadori canon (Buschmann 2005, 26-27). Mondadori’s crime novels would later become the catalyst for a film genre which has been popular for more than fifty years - the Italian giallo film. This genre, which differs significantly from other thrillers, combines crime with horror, amplifying its effect with detailed scenes of lust, gore and the portrayal of evil-minded killers who take pleasure in slaying their victims with razor blades and knives. The cinematic giallo had its beginnings in the early 1960s, at a time when Italian filmmakers had a great impact on world cinema and popular culture. In contrast to Hollywood productions of the 1960s and 1970s, European films conveyed a unique and fresh outlook. Italian productions not only specialized in auteur highbrow films – which have been hailed by film critics
7 as the embodiment of quality cinema – but also in Eurocult movies, which were pro- duced from the early 1960s on (Shipka 2011, 5). The audience were confronted with “images of horrific monsters, decaying zombies, bloodthirsty werewolves, sadistic Nazi frauleins, [and] naughty lesbian nuns” (Shipka 2011, 5). Thus, as well as the giallo, other genres emerged too, namely Italo-westerns, cannibal films, mondo movies, Gothic horror films and peplums (Met 2006, 195). These films magnetized Italian film audiences because they were able to shock, tantalize, tease, amuse and entertain moviegoers. Italy was of paramount importance in European film ‘exploitation’, a term referring to a category of films which was designed to lure the audience with forbidden subjects, i.e. excessive carnage, brutality and sexuality. However, not only horror mov- ies, but also action films, thrillers or dramas belong to this sort of filmmaking. These movies enjoyed success thanks to seductive and baiting advertising, not because of their artistic quality (Shipka 2011, 10). In the early 1960s a cinematic transformation process was taking place particu- larly in America. British movies, such as the James Bond series, and artists like the Beatles and The Rolling Stones would influence American culture. Additionally, Italian cinema broke into the potentially lucrative American market in the 1960s. In particular,
Mario Bava’s SEI DONNE PER L’ASSASSINO and Riccardo Freda’s L’ORRIBILE SEGRETO DEL
DR. HICHCOCK (Italy 1962, THE HORRIBLE SECRET OF DR. HICHCOCK) were widely pro- moted and screened in American drive-ins and grindhouse theaters.2 The popularity of the Italian giallo, which began in the mid-1960s, reached its peak in the early 1970s with highbrow gialli directed by Mario Bava and Dario Argento. For about twenty years, Italian gialli were not only screened in Italian terza vi- sione3 cinemas, but also in American cinemas, but their popularity began to diminish with the advent of the video cassette in the early 1980s. Now, aficionados of Italian and French art-cinema could rent or buy their favorite films and view them in the com- fort of their own home (Shipka 2011, 10). But why did giallo remain so captivating for Italian and international movie fans, resulting in ‘Giallo collections’ and booklets after the emergence of the DVD? Scheinpflug notes that the transformation from the video
2 The term ‘grindhouse’ refers to American movie theaters that came into prevalence starting the 1930s and lasted until the 1980s or early 90s. “They specialized in playing ultra-violent, ultra-sexual, low-rent movies catering to the roughest crowds looking to satisfy their basest instincts. Though, technically, going with this definition, there were grindhouse theaters all over America, the term is largely used to refer to the movie theaters along 42nd Street in Manhattan between 6th and 8th locally known as ‘The Deuce,’ which also played home to a thriving criminal economy ranging from drug dealing to prostitution to homegrown pornography” (Fassel 2017). 3 The terza visione cinemas are defined on page 52. 8 cassette to the DVD was pivotal for the genre’s popularity, as now these films could be watched by a wider target group. However, it is also worth noting that the global defi- nition of the term ‘giallo’ was only instituted in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The movies, which are now referred to as giallo canon, were promoted as thriller, horror or exploitation in American theaters in the 1960s and 1970s. In Germany, these types of movies were known as Krimis. Only the Italians called them gialli, although this word describes all types of murder mysteries, regardless of the medium: detective stories, comics (such as giallo a fumetti Diabolik), Gothic novels, television series and movies have always been referred to as gialli (Scheinpflug 2014, 8-28). The small American label Anchor Bay was the first home entertainment com- pany which released a Giallo Collection on DVD with four titles in 2002: PERCHÉ QUELLE
STRANE GOCCE DI SANGUE SUL CORPO DI JENNIFER? (Italy 1971, dir.: Giuliano Carnimeo,
THE CASE OF THE BLOODY IRIS), LA CORTA NOTTE DELLE BAMBOLE DI VETRO (Italy/Yugosla- via/Germany 1971, dir.: Aldo Lado, SHORT NIGHT OF GLASS DOLLS), CHI L'HA VISTA MO-
RIRE (Italy/Germany 1972, dir.: Aldo Lado, WHO SAW HER DIE?), and SOLAMENTE NERO
(Italy 1978, dir.: Antonio Bido, THE BLOODSTAINED SHADOW). On each of these DVDs the definition for ‘giallo’ is printed on the sleeve, claiming
The word giallo (yellow) refers to the controversial series of savage Italian suspense thrill- ers that shocked international audiences throughout the ‘60s and ‘70s. THE GIALLO COL- LECTION presents these rarely seen classics fully restored from original vault elements and filled with all the explicit sex, graphic violence and startling twist endings that have come to define this brutal, stylish genre. (Anchor Bay Entertainment 2002)
According to Casey Scott’s review, Anchor Bay’s ‘Giallo Collection’ was “a long time coming for fans of the popular Italian horror film genre” (Scott 2002). These films are definitely not the ‘highbrow gialli’, which were directed by Mario Bava and Dario Argento, as Scott also indicates: “None of the films in the collection equal the excel- lence of Bava, Argento, or even Fulci, but all are unique films worth visiting once. Keep in mind also that some of these films never received any release in the United States, on home video or otherwise” (2002). Shipka notes that DVD/Blu-ray producers have previously had major difficulties with licensing rights, with often three to four companies claiming that they possess the rights for a particular giallo. This has resulted in different edits of films, and frequently the Italian versions were drastically cut, which immensely effected the style or narrative (Shipka 2011, 26-27). Even though many film scholars claim that the international DVD-market was vital in the growth of the giallo-cult (Scheinpflug 2014, 58), the VHS
9 played an undeniably important role in the establishment of the Euro-cult fan scene. The American home entertainment company Anchor Bay, formerly Video Treasures (1985-1995), specialized in releasing uncut versions of cult films, in particular foreign films. In the 1990s, Anchor Bay released numerous uncut gialli on VHS, such as IL
GATTO A NOVE CODE (Italy/France 1971, dir.: Dario Argento, CAT O’NINE TAILS), INFERNO
(Italy 1980, dir.: Dario Argento, INFERNO) TENEBRE (Italy 1982, dir.: Dario Argento, TEN-
EBRAE), and PROFONDO ROSSO. While Scheinpflug suggests that the international term ‘giallo’ was only instituted with the DVD, Anchor Bay’s VHS sleeves and booklets sometimes used the term gialli. The accompanying booklet to CAT O’NINE TAILS (2000) defines the term as
The contemporary giallo literally translated as ‘yellow’ [is a] genre named after the color of the covers of mystery novels published in [Italy, and] is often thought to have begun with Mario Bava’s 1962 mystery THE GIRL WHO KNEW TOO MUCH [Italy, LA RAGAZZA CHE SAPEVA TROPPO]. (Crawford 2000)
Travis Crawford wrote, “Presented by Anchor Bay Entertainment in its original 2.35:1 widescreen aspect ratio for the first time on American home video, THE CAT O’NINE
TAILS is a neglected Argento giallo overdue for reappraisal” (2000).
Anchor Bay’s Giallo Collection on DVD (2002) Anchor Bay’s Argento Collection (TENEBRE) on VHS (1999)
The video cassette was pivotal for the distribution and promotion of gialli, before the advent of DVD. David Sanjek, a pioneering researcher, explored the giallo in his 1994 essay “Foreign Detection” and started one of the first academic discourses on the then, ‘new genre’. Sanjek indicated that the giallo had its birth in 1962 and “over sixty Giallo features have been released, the most prolific or influential practitioners of the form including Mario Bava, Dario Argento, and Sergio Martino” (Sanjek 1994). Hence, it can be argued that at the time when Sanjek wrote his essay, the actual num-
10 ber of gialli productions was not clear, as only two decades later Troy Howarth’s vol- ume So Deadly, So Perverse (2015) revealed an accurate number of 524 giallo pro- ductions. It was difficult to monitor the scope of production in the giallo genre in the 1980s and 1990s as there was little done in the area of documentation and archiving. Due to the American and International sale of giallo video cassettes, Sanjek assumed the corpus included approximately 60 titles. However, this opinion changed with the introduction of the DVD. In the early 2000s, countless movies, which had never been distributed on VHS, were ‘rediscovered’, and all genres profited from this new medium, especially the horror genre. Some smaller film companies, like Anchor Bay and Image Entertainment in the US, Shameless and 88 Film in the United Kingdom or X-Rated and Camera Obscura in Germany all specialize in uncut horror films, including the giallo. These labels have released unique Giallo collections, as for example Image Entertainment a Mario Bava Collection (2007) and Anchor Bay a Dario Argento (2008) and Lucio Fulci Collection (2002). Most of these DVDs include the Italian original soundtrack, an English dub, subtitles and bonus features, for instance, alternative end- ings, biographies and trailers (Scheinpflug 2014, 35-37). The giallo is a genre which is sometimes difficult to delineate, although there are tropes and features that can easily be categorized as a giallo. Ernesto Gastaldi, one of Italy’s most prolific giallo screenwriters, has his own approach at defining a giallo. For Gastaldi,
A giallo is not a detective story, it is not a thriller, not a suspense movie, not a horror film. But it can be any one of these things and also all of these things rolled into one. What sets a giallo apart from another story? Two things: a difficult to explain event and its rigorously logical explanation based on the evidence and details provided in the story. The event is almost always a murder. Both in literature and in cinema, the gialli that pay respect to the intellect of the audience members are few in number. Often, more so in the movies than in the literature, the author cheats. In the movies, the filmmaker is able to show you what he or she wants you to see, thus enabling things to be hidden that should be in plain view; but this would destroy the mystery, so it is easier to simply cheat. One of the most famous cheats is the climax of the film The Bird With the Crystal Plumage, where the protagonist suddenly remembers that when he witnessed the attempted murder, it was not the man that was trying to kill the woman – it was the woman that was trying to kill the man. How do you build a giallo? Each author has his way. Many prefer to fine-tune the whole story before starting to write it, while I often do the opposite; it seems more fun to me that way. Try to imagine a murder, which revolves around a number of strong suspects with manias of their own. Writers are well aware of how the characters will take the action in their own hands, sometimes in opposition to the wishes of the author. Often the characters rebel against the author and refuse to do what he wants. Anyway, after describing the mysterious murder and surrounding it with a good number of suspects, it pays to stop and examine what you have written. It is up to you to find the logic and motivation of the murderer, though you may not yet know who he is. But by following a logical progression and paying attention to the facts, you will eliminate many possible suspects; it is your job to find the path that leads to the guilty party. Maybe it seems that there is no need for a logic. I would insist, there usually is. If you just cannot find it, you can always follow the example of P.G. Wodehouse, who ended one of his gialli with the revelation that the killer was Mario Rossi … who was
11 clever enough to have never appeared in the book. (Howarth, So Deadly So Perverse Vol. 1 1963-1973 2015, 10)
According to Gastaldi, a giallo has no definite boundaries or explicit traits. It will be revealed later that there are various subgenres (filone) of the giallo. Furthermore, the stereotypical belief that the “faceless, black-gloved killer whose methods are elaborate, whose motives are ambiguous, and whose identity is always in question” (Olney 2013, 104) is an inaccurate and over-simplistic appraisal of the giallo, as will be shown in chapter 2.3.6. However, to become truly familiar with the giallo, it is first essential to discover and examine its roots, as the giallo has been influenced by other cinematic genres and elements. Such influences have had enormous impact on the entire genre.
12 2.1. THE GIALLO AS A FILONE
We Europeans have a cultural past that the Americans don’t possess, and I think the right thing would be for us to deal with our stories and they with theirs. Instead, we have this desperate attempt to imitate American cinema, which cheapens our cinema. – Italian ex- ploitation director Michele Soavi (in Shipka 2011, 19)
One of the first academic essays about the giallo was Gary Needham’s “Playing with Genre: Defining the Italian Giallo” (2002). Needham claims that the definition of the giallo genre is quite challenging:
The term [giallo] itself doesn’t indicate, as genres often do, an essence, a description or a feeling. It functions in a more peculiar and flexible manner as a conceptual category with highly moveable and permeable boundaries that shift around from year to year to include outright gothic horror (La lama nel corpo [The Murder Clinic, Emilio Scardimaglia, 1966]), police procedurals (Milano, morte sospetta di una minorenne [The Suspicious Death of a Minor, added by Wehr] [Sergio Martino, 1975]), crime melodrama (Così dolce, così per- versa [So Sweet So Perverse, Umberto Lenzi, 1969]) and conspiracy films (Terza ipotesi su un casa di perfetta strategia criminale [Who Killed the Prosecutor and Why?, Giuseppe Vari, 1972]). (Needham, kinoeye 2002)
As Needham states, the boundaries which categorize a giallo are not easily defined. He claims that in contrast to other genres, the giallo should be seen as a filone, an Italian term which refers to “genres and cycles as well as to currents and trends” (2002). Moreover, he indicates that the giallo should not be approached as a genre, like its literary predecessors, “but [as] a body of films that resists generic definition” (2002). Needham proclaims that the greatest limitation on giallo analysis is that the “genre theory [has been] built primarily on American film genres” (2002). The word filone has taken root in anglophone studies with reference to Italian film and culture, and scholars have used this term not only for the giallo, but for a variety of different Italian genres. According to Bondanella and Pacchioni,
Italian film historians and scholars are more likely to call a collection of films, such as the spaghetti western or the giallo, a filone – literally meaning a large thread, but used by Ital- ians to indicate a collection of similar themes or styles, a genre or subgenre, perhaps also a formula or pattern. As our discussion of gialli will demonstrate, there is no fixed group of traits that can be found in every giallo. A number of traits or family resemblances are, how- ever, typical of this particular filone, and in order for a film to be defined as a giallo, at least a number of these traits should be present. (Bondanella and Pacchioni 2017, 433)4
It was, however, Sanjek who first introduced the idea of the filone in combination with the giallo in academic research, claiming that
4 These traits, which Bondanella and Pacchioni refer to, will be evaluated in Chapter 1.3. THE GIALLO’S TYPICAL TRAITS 13 The gialli constitute a more varied and stylistically heterogenous form. Their visual and thematic excesses result from the aesthetic/economic demands of the Italian commercial industry – specifically its dependence upon predetermined generic tropes and types com- monly referred to as filone. (Sanjek 1994, 84)
Sanjek also emphasizes that the filone formula, which is applicable to all forms of Ital- ian popular cinema, enabled Italian producers to flood terza visione cinemas with such movies, until interest began to wane, and a new filone took its place (Sanjek 1994, 89). Italian filmmakers started producing, as Nakahara calls them, ‘copycat quickies’, as soon as a particular film was profitable. This happened in different Italian filoni: mondo, peplums, Italo-westerns and gialli (Nakahara 2004, 126). “Its filone industry was based on the over-production of films and the over-saturation of the market of any trend that would get people in the theatres as soon and as often as possible” (126). Nakahara cites Christopher Wagstaff’s theory, stating that the typical Italian audience of the 1960s and 1970s was only lured to the cinema by three factors: laughter, thrill and titillation (126). These three attributes were the foundation of the first popular and suc- cessful filone, the Italian Gothic, where Mario Bava was a significant contributor (Shipka 2011, 27).5 The majority of filoni were screened in terza visione cinemas, referring to the ‘third class’ cinema in Italy. Starting the 1950s to the 1980s, three different tiers of cinema existed in Italy:
1. The prima visione (first run) theaters were located in large cities and were used for premieres of ‘highbrow’ cinema from auteur directors, such as Fellini and Rosselini. 2. The seconda visione (second run) cinemas were located in bigger cities and in smaller towns. Top films played for longer and prices were often cheaper than in prima theatres. 3. The terza visione (third run) cinemas were found in small towns with less than 50,000 inhabitants and lured moviegoers with cheap tickets (about 50 lire - 10 cents) (Blake 2015).
5 The Italian Gothic had a huge impact on the giallo and thus, chapter 1.2.1 analyses this subject. 14 Traditional popular cinema – consisting of filoni, such as peplums (sword-and-sandal films), melodramas, Italo-westerns and gialli – were first launched at the seconda vi- sione but moved quickly to the terza visione (Blake 2015). Koven claims that the terza visione cinema was pivotal for popular cinema, and thus, for the giallo:
The audience of the terza visione cinema was more like the television audience than like a prima visione cinema audience. The viewer (generally he) went to the cinema nearest to this house (or in rural areas, the only cinema there was) after dinner, at around ten o’clock in the evening. The programme changed daily or every other day. He would not bother to find out what was showing, nor would he make any particular effort to arrive at the begin- ning of the film. He would talk to his friends during the showing whenever he felt like it, except during the bits of the film that grabbed his (or his friends’) attention (the film would stop anyway at the arbitrary point for an intermission). People would be coming and going and changing seats throughout the performance. (Koven 2006: 27)
Considering the wide corpus of approximately 530 gialli6, not all show identical fea- tures. Gialli are commonly straightforward, such as Dario Argento’s ‘Animal trilogy’, while others are a challenge to categorize. Hence, Koven’s approach of splitting the giallo into sub-genres has been conducive to film scholars, aficionados and film critics. Sevastakis sees the giallo as a “fabricated classification by critics rather than the movie industry” (Sevastakis 2016, 2). Like Needham and Bondanella, Koven addresses the giallo as a filone (cycle) – as a distinct genre – because the giallo-pattern spawned several other subgenres belonging to the giallo canon, and this led to a "cluster[ing] of concurrent streamlets, veins, or traditions" (Koven 2006, 6). Koven distinguishes four different categories:
The 'classic giallo' represents the central core of all gialli, and includes notable
titles, for instance L’UCCELLO DALLE PIUME DI CRISTALLO, PERCHE QUELLE STRAN
GOCCE DI SANGUE SUL CORPO DI JENNIFER?, COSA AVETE FATTO A SOLANGE? (It-
aly/Germany 1972, dir.: Massimo Dallamano, WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO
SOLANGE?), CHI L'HA VISTA MORIRE? and PROFONDO ROSSO. The poliziottesco is a separate filone, but often fuses with the giallo. Its main focus is the hunt for a serial killer or police investigations into drugs or white
slavery rings. This sort of giallo includes LA TARANTULA DAL VENTRE NERO (It-
aly/France 1972, dir.: Paolo Cavara, THE BLACK BELLY OF THE TARANTULA) and
6 Howarth lists 524 gialli in his encyclopedia which was published in 2015. His work encompasses gialli from 1963-2013, but in recent years some neo-gialli have been released as well.
15 Massimo Dalamano's masterpiece LA POLIZIA CHIEDE AIUTO (Italy 1974, WHAT
HAVE THEY DONE TO OUR DAUGHTERS?). The 'giallo suspense thriller' is based on crime driven narratives, and “murder, blackmail, adultery, incest [which are mostly] internally driven”7 (M. Koven 2006, 8). These gialli were usually shot on one or two locations and were, thus,
budget-friendly. Famous examples are LA LAMA NEL CORPO and LA BESTIA UCCIDE
A SANGUE FREDDO (Italy 1971, SLAUGHTER HOTEL, dir.: Fernando Di Leo). Koven's last category is the giallo-fantastico, which exhibits supernatural un- dertones and grew in popularity after the release of Dario Argento's ‘Mother of
Tears Trilogy’ consisting of SUSPIRIA, INFERNO and LA TERZA MADRE (Italy/USA
2007, MOTHER OF TEARS). Also PHENOMENA (Italy 1985, dir.: Dario Argento, PHE-
NOMENA) belongs to this sub-category.(Koven 2006: 6-10).
These categorizations are not always fixed and occasionally fusions occur. PHENOM-
ENA merges the giallo-fantastico with a ‘classic giallo’, because Jennifer’s (Jennifer
Connelly) telepathic abilities help her to identify a ‘stereotypical dressed giallo killer’. I
CORPI PRESENTANO TRACCE DI VIOLENZA CARNALE (Italy 1973, dir.: Sergio Martino,
TORSO) blends the ‘classic giallo’ with the ‘giallo suspense thriller’. Lucio Fulci’s IL
GATTO NERO (Italy 1981, THE BLACK CAT) combines the giallo-fantastico with some clas- sic giallo trademarks, even though, the assailant is a cat (9-10). However, there are movies which are so aberrant, that their clustering presents a challenge, such as FEMINA RIDENS (Italy 1969, dir.: Piero Schivazappa, THE FRIGHT-
ENED WOMAN), which combines drama, sadism, bondage and sex laced with some thrill and arthouse renderings. Although FEMINA RIDENS is part of the German Koch Media Giallo Collections (2013), it is problematic to ascribe it to any giallo-subcategorization.
Similarly, but slightly easier to define is the ‘arthouse’ giallo UNA FARFALLA CON LE ALI
INSANGUINATE (Italy 1971, dir.: Duccio Tessari, THE BLOODSTAINED BUTTERFLY), which introduces Giorgio (Helmut Berger) as a mentally depressed individual who brutally slaughters two innocent women to find out the truth about the murder of his girlfriend. Tessari’s film “melds the lurid giallo traditions […] with courtroom drama, resulting in a film that is as concerned with forensic detail and legal process as it is with grisly mur- ders and audacious set-pieces” (Arrow Video 2016).
7 Internally driven means that criminal acts occur within the close circle of family and friends, no one else is involved in the crime, such as exterior serial killers. 16 My analysis of the giallo shows that a majority of films belong to the ‘giallo sus- pense thriller’ filone, and here, two divergent groups can be found. Firstly, the one which uses primarily one location as their setting. LA LAMA NEL CORPO and LA BESTIA
UCCIDE A SANGUE FREDDO take both place exclusively in a castle-like clinic where a killer is on the loose. Secondly, internal intrigues and a devious plot are the hallmarks of the additional group belonging to the ‘giallo suspense thriller’ category. A perfect example is LO STRANO VIZIO DELLA SIGNORA WARDH (Italy/Spain 1971, dir.: Sergio Martino, THE
STRANGE VICE OF MRS. WARDH), as Julie (Edwige Fenech) is driven into insanity by a maniac and only at the end is it revealed that three men – her husband, the former boyfriend and her current lover – are all involved in the intrigue. An early example of
‘internal intrigues’ is LES DIABOLIQUES (France 1955, dir.: Henri-Georges Clouzot, DI-
ABOLIQUE), adapted by Thomas Narcejac’s and Pierre Boilleau’s novel Celle qui n’était plus (1952). In the film, the school teacher Christina (Véra Clouzot) and her husband’s mistress Nicole (Simone Signoret) plan to murder Christina’s dictatorial husband
Michel (Paul Meurisse). Howarth even declares LES DIABOLIQUE “next to Hitchcock’s
PSYCHO  […] arguably the most significant ‘signpost’ that would lead to the cre- ation of the giallo in Italy” (Howarth, So Deadly So Perverse Vol. 1 1963-1973 2015, 30).
LES DIABOLIQUES would be copied, homaged, ripped-off and generally referenced for dec- ades to come […] The film’s basic outline of a weak-willed character being driven to the point of madness and/or death by a callous spouse or loved one would also become a staple of many late 1960s gialli, including Umberto Lenzi’s ORGASMO [Italy/France 1969, dir.: Umberto Lenzi, ORGASMO), SO SWEET …SO PERVERSE [Italy/France 1969, dir.: Um- berto Lenzi, COSÌ DOLCE... COSÌ PERVERSA], and A QUIET PLACE TO KILL [Italy/France 1970, PARANOIA, dir.: Umberto Lenzi]. (31)
These titles were penned by Ernesto Gastaldi, who wrote around 25 ‘intrigued’ gialli scripts. Another trademark of this filone was the use of inter-continental locations (Mal- lorca, Greece, Monaco etc.) with a thrilling plot and romantic and erotic elements. Besides the four subgenres outlined by Koven, I argue that another variant, not observed previously by scholars, can be added to the giallo categorization.8 This type of giallo is characterized by the exhibition of overt nakedness and sexuality, seduction, sexual dominance, submission as well as explicit sex scenes. This has led me to define a separate filone in the giallo canon which I call the giallo erotico. The attributes of this subgenre are defined in chapter 2.3.8.
8 In his recently published encyclopedia Il cinema giallo - thriller italiano, Claudio Bartolini uses the ge- neric term "sexy-giallo" with reference to a group of films released in the late 1960s (Bartolini 2017, 305)
2.2. ORIGINS OF THE GIALLO
Before the cinematic giallo was born in the mid-1960s, two genres had had a central role in its development: the Gothic horror and the German Krimi. Both influenced di- rectors, scriptwriters and particularly the characteristics of a new genre which borrowed its name from the Mondadori crime novels. Finally, not to mention Alfred Hitchcock’s significance for Italian filmmakers would be inexcusable, as important giallo directors like Dario Argento, incorporate numerous Hitchcockian elements in their films.
2.2.1. Gothic Horror
Gothic horror films played an integral part in the development of giallo films. NOSFER-
ATU – EINE SYMPHONIE DES GRAUENS (Germany 1922, dir.: M.W. Murnau, NOSFERATU), the epitome of the German Expressionist era, can be regarded as one of the early examples of this genre. Murnau’s film was based on Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula (1897), and although Murnau changed the location and character names, Bram Stoker’s widow, Florence, filed a lawsuit against Murnau due to copyright infringement in 1925. The German court ordered all copies of this silent-era masterpiece be de- stroyed to avoid any indictment (Robert C. Reimer 2005, 17).
During the time of German Expressionism, directors such as Robert Wiene (DAS
CABINET DES DR. CALIGARI, Germany 1920, THE CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI) and Paul We- gener/Carl Boese (DER GOLEM, WIE ER IN DIE WELT KAM, Germany 1922, THE GOLEM:
HOW HE CAME INTO THE WORLD) can be regarded as important figures of early horror film. Their achievements spurred Hollywood to produce horror films. The American productions FRANKENSTEIN (USA 1931, dir.: James Whale) and DRACULA (USA 1931, dir.: Tod Browning) enjoyed huge domestic success. Actors like Bela Lugosi, playing Dracula, and Boris Karloff, as Frankenstein’s monster, became synonymous with this genre. Postwar Hollywood productions concentrated more on contemporary topics of the Cold War, and the American Gothic style almost vanished or was regarded as kitschy, visible in titles like I WAS A TEENAGE WEREWOLF (1957, dir.: Gene Fowler Jr.) and I WAS A TEENAGE FRANKENSTEIN (1957, dir.: Herbert L. Strock).
18 In the United Kingdom, the comparatively small British film production company Hammer Studios, which had been initially founded in 1935, produced its first Gothic horror film THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN (UK 1957, dir.: Terence Fisher). Soon, count- less Gothic films were shot and actors such as Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee were closely connected with the studio and the genre (William Hughes 2016, 240-242). The Hammer films deviate from their American Gothic counterparts as “they are in full color and return the Gothic to the adult realm of moral ambiguity, taboo, sexuality, and violence” (William Hughes 2016, 242). Italian producers also reestablished domestic popularity for Gothic horror.
One year prior to Fisher’s THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN, the Egyptian-born Ital- ian Riccardo Freda shot I VAMPIRI (Italy 1956, THE DEVIL’S COMMANDMENT), which can be classified as the catalyst for Italian horror cinema. It was Freda and his friend Mario Bava who came up with the idea of shooting a horror film. During the fascist regime of the 1930s and 40s, these films had been restricted and its controversial subject matter still caused agitation in Italy in the 1950s. I VAMPIRI started as a bet between Freda and the producers, whom Freda convinced he would be capable of shooting this film within 12 days. The producers took the bet and Freda got Mario Bava in on the project (Shipka 2011, 22). Bava completed the film after Freda deserted the project, accordingly, a huge credit belongs to Bava for accomplishing the film (Peter Bondanella 2017,
Kindle). “Compare it to Hammer Films’ output a year or so later and I VAMPIRI is posi- tively chaste” (Conterio 2015, 25). I VAMPIRI was the first postwar Italian horror film, although the first attempts in this genre had been made with IL MOSTRO DI FRANKEN-
STEIN (Italy 1920, dir.: Eugenio Testa, THE MONSTER OF FRANKENSTEIN). In an interview Freda claimed that,
The first horror film I did was I VAMPIRI in 1957. The film did not go down too well, it was perhaps a little ahead of its time for audience tastes, but above all the people who followed that genre of cinema only did so if the film was American. I was there in San Remo for the premiere. As people filled into the cinema, they stopped to look at the photographs of the names. When they arrived at mine, they exclaimed: ‘My God, it’s an Italian film then!’ Then they left. (Bondanella 2017, 26)
The film was not a huge success at the box office and grossed only 126 million lire, (about $ 66.000) and one reason for it not being profitable was the hesitancy of Italian moviegoers watching Italian productions. In the late 1950s domestic production ac- counted for 50% of the Italian box office (Shipka 2011, 22). However, according to
Bondanella, I VAMPIRI included one crucial element of the giallo – although the ‘official’ birth of this genre only occurred in the early ‘60s: the ‘hobby detective character’. The
19 narrative of the investigation into the mysterious deaths of several young girls in Paris is carried out by a French journalist, and not by a detective. The film employs another important giallo element, ‘the depiction of a metropolis’, as Paris is used for its setting, and not a typical vampire location like Transylvania (Peter Bondanella 2017, Kindle ). “The film moves back and forth from the Paris that all tourists know to a Gothic castle that might well have come out of a 1930s Hollywood horror film, with dark staircases, cobwebs, bats, creaky stairs and doors, spiral staircases, and the like” (Peter Bondanella 2017, Kindle). One major catalyst for the success of Italian horror films can be credited to the boom of the British Hammer film DRACULA (UK 1958, dir.: Terence Fisher), which was a blueprint for Mario Bava’s LA MASCHERA DEL DEMONIO (Italy 1960, BLACK SUNDAY). Bava’s masterpiece – which can be regarded as one of the most famous postwar Gothic horror films in Italy – succeeded due to its storyline, visual style and the main character, the British actress Barbara Steele, who became the epitome of the classical Italian Gothic. From 1960 to 1968, Steele was hired for nine Italian horror productions, but none of these low-cost films was able to prosper at the box-office. At that time, the highest ranked Gothic horror was Giorgio Ferroni’s IL MULINO DELLE DONNE DI PIETRA
(Italy/France 1960, MILL OF THE STONE WOMEN) which occupied the 100th position out of 157 films produced in Italy in that year (Günsberg 2005, 138). The term Gothic refers to an architectural style popular in medieval Europe, where huge cathedrals and churches were constructed in the 12th century. Only in the 15th century did these buildings, “characterized by flying buttresses, ribbed vaults, and pointed arches” receive their name (Hamm 2010, 194). In the early 19th century litera- ture also introduced this term, characterizing a
particular style […] that focused on supernatural fiction especially geared toward the gro- tesque. These works were usually laden with a heavy, gloomy atmosphere, accentuated by eerie castles on hilltops, cobwebbed tombs and vaults, flickering candlelight and an underlying repressed sexuality. (Shipka 2011, 31)
Archetypical Gothic novels were Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto (1764) and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein or the Modern Prometheus (1818). Exploitation cinema, like the British Hammer Films and Italian Gothic horrors, saw the potentials of Gothic characteristics and embedded them in their movies.
Barbara Steele in BLACK SUNDAY
Bava’s LA MASCHERA DEL DEMONIO is considered by many film scholars to be the first genuine Gothic masterpiece and the impetus for this filone. Based on Nikolaj Gogol’s short novel The Vij (1835), LA MASCHERA DEL DEMONIO tells the story of the resurrection of a female vampire seeking revenge. The ‘scream queen’ Barbara Steele plays Asa the vampire witch, and Bava combines female sexuality with a macabre fascination for evil. LA MASCHERA DEL DEMONIO, which is recognized today as a gem of Italian Gothic horror, initially experienced difficulties on its release in Italian cinemas. As WITH I VAM-
PIRI, Italian moviegoers were not attracted to domestically produced films and it grossed only 140 million lire ($ 87,000). This barely covered the production costs, but due to a distribution deal with American International Pictures (AIP) the film turned into a cult classic. AIP retitled it as BLACK SUNDAY, added atrocious dubbing and a musical score by Les Baxter (Shipka 2011, 35). Although the film showed “varying degrees of blood pouring out of spiked heads, corpses graphically decomposing, victims brutally attacked, and their throats being ripped out by the myriad of ghostly perpetrators” (35), it was a huge success in the United States.
Besides LA MASCHERA DEL DEMONIO two other movies were crucial for the estab- lishment of a new kind of exploitation genre: George Franju’s LES YEUX SANS VISAGE
(France/Italy 1960, EYES WITHOUT A FACE) and Jess Franco’s GRITOS EN LA NOCHE
(Spain/France 1962, THE AWFUL DR. ORLOF). The latter and IL MULINO DELLE DONNE DI
PIETRA were the first to incorporate nudity: in IL MULINO DELLE DONNE DI PIETRA, the fe- male character’s breasts are shown overtly while she is tortured. Nevertheless, in the early Italian Gothic horrors, nudity and violence were not as common as in later pro- ductions. Filmmakers wanted the audience to imagine the perversity, so indecent scenes did not take place on-screen, even though themes like masochism, lesbianism and necrophilia were sometimes addressed. In particular, Riccardo Freda’s L’ORRIBILE
SEGRETO DEL DR. HICHCOCK displayed necrophilia, as Dr. Hichcock is sexually attracted
21 to corpses and in one scene he almost kisses one (35-41). The avoidance of on-screen perversity and violence was instituted by the German director Fritz Lang, who even claimed in an interview that “Violence […] should be present in films. But everything depends on the way it is shown. I detest violence when it is shown as a spectacle”
(Grant 2003, 97), therefore, in his œuvre M – EINE STADT SUCHT EINEN MÖRDER (Ger- many 1931, M), the abduction of the child happens purely in the viewers’ minds. According to Günsberg, approximately five to six classic Italian horror films were produced from 1956 to 1966, therefore, this genre covered less than 1% of all Italian films during this period. Günsberg marks the end of the classical Italian Gothic horror as in and around 1966 (Günsberg 2005, 138), though a definite cease could only be visible after Bava’s LISA E IL DIAVOLO (Italy/West Germany/Spain/USA 1972, LISA AND
THE DEVIL). Bava, who did not only direct Gothic horrors in the 1960s, but also peplums, science fiction adventures and gialli, continued the Gothic theme in early 1970. Bava began a collaboration with the Italian-American producer Alfredo Leone in his Gothic film GLI ORRORI DEL CASTELLO DI NOREMBURGA (Italy/West Germany/USA 1972, BARON
BLOOD), which was shot entirely in Lower Austria, at Burg Kreuzenstein. This medieval castle offered a suitable atmosphere for the film and Bava introduced a ‘new scream queen’, German actress Elke Sommer, who was also cast in Bava’s next Gothic horror
LISA E IL DIAVOLO. The American distributor AIP acquired the rights for the distribution of GLI ORRORI DEL CASTELLO DI NOREMBURGA and they scored a worldwide hit. As pre- viously in LA MASCHERA DEL DEMONIO, AIP applied a shot-by-shot strategy, the score was replaced again by Les Baxter, who re-scored Stelvio Cipriani’s jovial Euro-pop sound, and the film was cut down by eight minutes. (Hughes 2011, 97-98).
Fueled by the financial success of GLI ORRORI DEL CASTELLO DI NOREMBURGA,
Alfredo Leone produced Bava’s LISA E IL DIAVOLO, their second collaboration. The budget of one million dollars for LISA E IL DIAVOLO was the highest Bava had ever re- ceived, but the film could not find a distributor, although it was shown at the Cannes Film Festival in Paris in 1972. Bava picked American actor Telly Savalas - who had risen to prominence in American movies in the 1960s - for the role of the diabolic butler. Unfortunately, the financial disaster after not finding a distribution company was pre- dictable. A year later, Bava and Leone re-shot some scenes, modified the story and provided the film with a new title, LA CASA DELL'ESORCISMO (Italy/West Germany,
Spain/USA 1974, HOUSE OF EXORCISM), in reminiscence of William Friedkin’s block-
22 buster THE EXORCIST (USA 1973). The new concept flourished and the American dis- tributor Peppercorn-Wormser released the new version in 1975, grossing over $5 mil- lion from screenings in drive-in theaters and grindhouse cinemas that specialized in B- movies and Eurocult films (Heffernan 2007, 144-45). Even though distributors of Italian Gothic horrors almost never screened their films on television, there were exceptions.
For instance, LA CASA DELL'ESORCISMO found airtime on the American broadcasting channel 9WOR-TV, but the main targets were American drive-ins, which helped Eu- rocult movies to prosper.
LISA AND THE DEVIL on television (9WOR-TV) THE HOUSE OF EXORCISM screened in a grindhouse theater
It was mainly teenagers who were attracted to the first Eurocult filone, the classic Gothic horror. These movies were viewed by censors in the United States and in Great Britain, and were only seldom recut (Shipka 2011, 41), as “the violence and sexuality were only hinted at and left to the perversity of the audience member to explore” (41).
The Italian Gothic had its pivotal debut with Mario Bava’s LA MASCHERA DEL DEMONIO and over a decade these films fascinated Italian, European and American ‘lowbrow’ moviegoers. According to director Antonio Margheriti, who shot three crucial examples of this genre - LA VERGINE DI NORIMBERGA (Italy 1963, THE VIRGIN OF NUREMBERG), I
LUNGHI CAPELLI DELLA MORTE (Italy 1964, THE LONG HAIR OF DEATH) and LA DANZA MACA-
BRE (Italy/France 1964, dir.: Antonio Margheriti/Sergio Corbucci, CASTLE OF BLOOD) - modern contemporary audiences were demanding color instead of black and white. In an interview, he revealed that he was not advocating this change: “The most frighten- ing way of presenting blood on the screen is by using black and white photography, as it registers more effectively on the viewer’s subconscious” (44).
23 The Italian ‘Gothic canon’ was introduced with LA MASCHERA DEL DEMONIO and concluded with LISA E IL DIAVOLO. Mario Bava can be regarded as the father of classical Italian Gothic horror, but he also set standards in another filone, including the giallo in
1963. Gothic influence is apparent in some gialli, such as LA LAMA NEL CORPO, LA BAM-
BOLA DI SATANA (Italy 1969, dir.: Ferrucio Casapinta, THE DOLL OF SATAN), LA NOTTE CHE
EVELYN USCÌ DALLA TOMBA (Italy 1971, dir.: Emilio P. Miraglia, THE NIGHT EVELYN CAME
OUT OF THE CRAVE), and LA DAMA ROSSA UCCIDE SETTE VOLTE (Italy/West Germany/Mon- aco1972, dir.: Emilio P. Miraglia, THE RED QUEEN KILLS SEVEN TIMES), to name some significant examples. The Italian Gothic had a resurrection in the 1980s. Italian director Lucio Fulci in particular, famous for his detailed depictions of gore, revived the Gothic in IL GATTO
NERO, QUELLA VILLA ACCANTO AL CIMITERO (Italy 1981, HOUSE BY THE CEMENTARY) and
L’OCCHIO DEL MALE (Italy 1982, MANHATTAN BABY). “These films, though, were Gothic only in atmosphere as they were definitely not about suppression but about true ex- ploitation. They often merged the zombie, giallo and cannibal genres, giving audiences around the world the extreme violence and gore they craved” (Shipka 2011, 53-54).
QUELLA VILLA ACCANTO AL CIMITERO has risen to a cult classic within exploitation cinema, as can be inferred from the German Blu-ray cover: “Once again, the master of Italo horror, Lucio Fulci, delights fans of Italian genre-cinema with this classic. Dim arches, eerie music in combination with a bloody Gothic story are responsible for a unique and shocking experience”9 (XT Video 2013). Gothic themes – in fiction and film – have captivated readers and audiences for a long time. Gothic movies have become rarer albeit a number of seminal productions, such as SLEEPY HOLLOW (USA/Germany 1999, dir.: Tim Burton,), DARK SHADOWS
(USA/Australia 2012, dir.: Tim Burton) and VICTOR FRANKENSTEIN (USA/UK/Canada 2015, dir.: Paul McGuigan) all exhibit Gothic tropes. Shipka notes that Gothic films played a paramount role in the development of European exploitation. “They bridged the gap between traditional storylines and modern-day sensibilities. They allowed the first examinations of such themes as perverse sexuality to seep into the consciousness of moviegoers in the guise of a literary form that audiences felt comfortable with” (Shipka 2011, 54). Moreover, the Gothic was the springboard for upcoming filone and filmmakers, like Mario Bava, who started to concentrate on other Eurocult genres too,
9 Translated from German. 24 such as the giallo. Italian writer Giavanni Simonelli sums up perfectly the Eurocult fi- lone: “In these movies, what you see is what you get. They were not meant to be artis- tic, they were just meant to be entertaining. They served their purpose and they all did well” (54).
2.2.2. German Krimi
The birth of the Italian giallo film began with Mario Bava’s LA RAGAZZA CHE SAPEVA
TROPPO and SEI DONNE PER L'ASSASSINO. These Italian ‘whodunits’ were also influenced by the German Krimi films which became prominent in West Germany at the end of the 1950s. Based on adaptations from Edgar Wallace and Louis Weinert-Wilton sto- ries, these films featured enigmatic plots with countless twists and with the revelation of the killer at the end of the movie. According to Dominic Starck, the trend for produc- ing such films was started by Gerhard F. Hummel, who worked for Constantin Film in the 1950s. He had suggested that Constantine Film should produce film adaptations of Edgar Wallace crime stories, but his idea was refused by the film company. Sanjek claims that the Krimis contained the eerie mood of the German Expressionism, espe- cially from the works of the silent era, the practice of Stimmung (mood). The first Wal- lace adaptations did not start in the 1950s, but with DER ZINKER (Germany 1931, dir.:
Carl Lamac, Martin Fric, THE SQUEAKER) and DER HEXER (Germany/Austria 1932, dir.:
Carl Lamac, THE SORCEROR) (Sanjek 1994, 86-87). In 1959, DER FROSCH MIT DER
MASKE (West Germany/Denmark 1959, dir.: Harald Reinl, THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE
FROG) was released, based on Edgar Wallace’s crime novel of the same title from 1923. Being a huge success, thirty-two German crime films were shot between 1959 and 1972, and a majority used a British locale, mostly London (Stark 2014, 1-3). All thirty-two Krimis produced at that time, shared the following characteristics:
 A plot involving a group of individuals harboring a secret, being targeted one by one for blackmail and/or murder;  A masked killer whose identity will be revealed by the end of the film;  A devil-may-care protagonist investigating the killer and its victims;  A plot that takes us from London to some type of manor or castle in the English countryside; […];  Klaus Kinski. (Nobile 2015)
Comparing these elements with the giallo, correlations can be identified, i.e. blackmail- ing, a disguised murderer, a hobby detective, red herrings, and point-of-view shots. Additionally, just by relocating London to cities like Rome, Venice and Florence, the
25 regional position of a giallo can be accommodated. Finally, Klaus Kinski, who per- formed in numerous Krimis, acted in several gialli too, such as A DOPPIA FACIA (It- aly/West Germany 1969, dir.: Riccardo Freda, DOUBLE FACE), L’CCHIO DEL RAGNO (It- aly/Austria 1971, dir.: Roberto Bianchi Montero, EYE OF THE SPIDER), LA BESTIA UCCIDE
A SANGUE FREDDO and LE ORME (Italy 1975, dir.: Luigi Bazzoni/Mario Fanelli, FOOT-
PRINTS ON THE MOON). Another aspect of some gialli is the appropriation of Edgar Wallace’s name for their marketing strategies. In Germany, five significant gialli were released under the ‘trade- mark’ Edgar Wallace and his son, Bryan Edgar Wallace, among them; A DOPPIA FACIA,
SETTE ORCHIDEE MACCHIATE DI ROSSO (Italy/Germany 1972, dir.: Umberto Lenzi, SEVEN
BLOOD STAINED ORCHIDS), COSA AVETE FATTO A SOLANGE?. These titles were promoted to be part of the Wallace series in German cinemas in the 1970s and later on DVD, where they have been distributed as part of Edgar Wallace editions.10 The two para- mount gialli by Dario Argento, his first film L’UCCELLO DALLE PIUME DI CRISTALLO and his second film IL GATTO A NOVE CODE, were also advertised under the ‘Edgar Wallace’ label. Argento’s trademarks, “the black-gloved, almost supernatural killer, the grue- some and long, drawn-out murder scenes, and the obsession with eyes and sharp objects” (Moliterno 2009, 17) became staples of Argento’s style. “The Italian giallo mixed the krimi with the police procedural [and] added a twist of its own; an almost fetishistic attention to the murderer and the killings he (and sometimes she) perpetu- ated” (M. Koven 2006, 5). Furthermore, all of them have something in common: they were Italian/German co-productions and it is claimed that Dario Argento had a great penchant for giallo novels and German Krimi literature (Paul 2005, 39). This connection is intensified by Julian Grainger, stating that,
Argento drew on the German brand of murder-mystery (or krimi), usually based on the works of Edgar Wallace and hugely popular in the 1950s and 1960s. […] Both THE CAT O’NINE TAILS and THE BIRD WITH THE CRYSTAL PLUMAGE were promote in Germany as being based on novels by Edgar Wallace’s son Bryan. (M. Koven 2006, 4-5)
These two movies were Italo-German productions, albeit the German production com- pany Rialto – which had the rights for all Edgar Wallace film adaptations – had hardly any involvement in Argento’s two masterpieces (Bergfelder 2005, 162).
10 In 2016, the German studio Universum Film released an entire Edgar Wallace DVD collection, a box consisting of 33 film adaptations. 26
German filmposter COSA AVETE FATTO A SOLANGE? German filmposter L’UCCELLO DALLE PIUME DI CRISTALLO.
Another reason for the German-Italian collaboration was to minimize costs. Rialto knew that the German Wallace thrillers were popular amongst Italian moviegoers, thus, they persuaded Italian producers to work in partnership, but Italian directors enjoyed con- siderable latitude. The German film critics and the press denounced the Italian Wallace gialli as trivial, containing too overt sexuality and low-class directing. The Krimis pro- vided a model, but the Italians changed a few important motifs, such as portraying appalling killings and eliminating humor. According to Joachim Fuchsberger, the iconic detective in several Wallace Krimis who also played the police investigator in the Wal- lace giallo COSA AVETE FATTO A SOLANGE?, the giallo accomplished something that the Krimi never achieved: international success (Arte 2011). The giallo embraced something the Krimis did not portray - gore and perversity. The killing scenes in gialli are morbid and therefore they have often been categorized as exploitation. Although some gialli were marketed under the ‘Edgar Wallace’ trade- mark, they diverge from their German counterparts due to gruesome killing scenes and overt sexuality. The Krimi influence is evident, notably in the films which were released as the ‘Wallace’ gialli, but according to film critic Ken Hanke, they “might best be viewed as an homage to the krimis rather than a true member of the series” (M. Koven 2006, 5).
27 2.2.3. Hitchcockian Legacy
It is crucial to acknowledge Alfred Hitchcock’s legacy on the giallo, specifically on the directors Mario Bava and Dario Argento. Hitchcock, who enjoyed a short apprentice- ship in the German film industry in 1925, admired the work of the expressionist filmmakers Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau and Fritz Lang. Hence, after returning to London he was inspired to shoot his first suspense film, THE LODGER (UK 1927), a thriller which had been animated by the Jack the Ripper murders. Over the next three decades
Hitchcock directed numerous suspense masterpieces in the US, such as SHADOW OF
1956), VERTIGO (USA 1958) and PSYCHO (USA 1960). The latter shocked audiences due to its violent content, an unambiguous sexuality and a mentally sick protagonist.
These elements encouraged Mario Bava to direct the first giallo, LA RAGAZZA CHE SA-
PEVA TROPPO in 1963, and also Howarth claims that “the film follows the examples of
Alfred Hitchcock’s PSYCHO” (Howarth, The Haunted World of Mario Bava 2018, Kindle). Moreover, another allusion is even noticeable in the title, which is similar to Hitchcock’s
THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH. According to Howarth, the first giallo patterns can be detected in Hitchcock’s SPELLBOUND (USA 1945) and Lang’s SECRET BEYOND THE DOOR (USA 1947), because both movies focused on dream sequences and the psyche, therefore Howarth sees them as “dry runs for later gialli” (Howarth, So Deadly So Perverse Vol. 1 1963-1973 2015, 27-30). Lang and Hitchcock played a major role in the evolution of the film noir, which focused “on morally compromised protagonists battling impossible odds in stark urban landscapes [and that finally] would have an influence on the giallo as well” (30). Even though Lang’s contribution to the film noir was significant, Hitchcock included the first noir elements in THE LODGER. The Hitchcockian imprint is nowhere more evident than in Dario Argento’s ‘Animal trilogy’, comprising of L’UCCELLO DALLE PIUME DI CRISTALLO,
IL GATTO A NOVE CODE and QUATTRO MOSCHE DI VELLUTO GRIGIO (Italy/France 1971,
FOUR FLIES ON GREY VELVET). His affection for Hitchcock, the ‘Master of Suspense’, is observable in his style and visuals, as both share a fondness for stairs and arches.
Further, Argento makes use of ‘MacGuffins’11, for instance the exotic bird in L’UCCELLO
11 The term MacGuffin was explained by Hitchcock in an interview with Francois Truffaut: “The ‘Mac- Guffin’ is the term we use to cover all that sort of thing: to steal plans or documents, or discover a secret, it does not matter what it is ….. The only thing that really matters is that in the picture the plans, docu- ments, or secrets must seem to be of vital importance to the characters” (GoGwilt 2000, 186). 28 DALLE PIUME DI CRISTALLO, which reveals the killer’s identity, can be viewed as such. Furthermore, Argento recruited Austrian-born actor Reggie Nalder – who had played the villain in Hitchcock’s THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH – for the role of an assassin in L’UCCELLO DALLE PIUME DI CRISTALLO. Nalder confirmed in an interview that Argento “worshipped at Hitchcock’s shrine and insisted [he performs as] an assassin who gets killed immediately in [the] film” (Nalder 1989).
Another homage to Hitchcock is visible in a scene in L’UCCELLO DALLE PIUME DI
CRISTALLO which is almost identical to a scene in PSYCHO. In the latter, private investi- gator Arbogast (Martin Balsam) is tossed down the stairs by Norman Bates. This mur- der scene was difficult to shoot for Hitchcock and he applied a new technique by shoot- ing a moving background plate without the actor. Afterwards, the actor (Martin Balsam) was added, sitting in a gimbal and rotating his arms in front of a rear-projector screen (Rebello 1990, Kindle). Argento, who was introduced by the press as the ‘Italian Hitch- cock’, included a similar death scene, but here, the killer Alberto Ranieri (Umberto Raho) plummets from an apartment building to the ground. The first part of this se- quence reminds the viewer of Arbogast’s death in PSYCHO, but Argento added his own style, by using a point-of-view shot. The film crew fixed the camera to a rope and dropped it from the sixth floor. Due to the heavy weight, the cord stretched and the camera smashed, but Argento was able to save the footage (Argento 2005).
Arbogast's death in PSYCHO
Ranieri's death in L’UCELLO DALLE PIUME DI CRISTALLO
POV shot of Ranieri's death
29 Hitchcock’s REAR WINDOW has also to be mentioned as a template for gialli, because of the voyeuristic attitude of the main character L.B. Jefferies (James Stewart). To em- phasize voyeurism and Jefferies’ spying on his neighbors, Hitchcock employed point- of-view shots throughout the film. Undeniably, the main character’s observation of the alleged murderer is an additional similarity between REAR WINDOW and L’UCCELLO
DALLE PIUME DI CRISTALLO. In the latter, American novelist Sam Dalmas (Tony Musante) witnesses a murder. Hitchcock’s cinematic trademark is discernible in gialli, but Italian crime direc- tors, such as Bava and Argento fused the Hitchcockian elements with their own unique style of filming. Therefore, the product – the giallo – diverges from the American noir and thrillers, due to its giallo-esque characteristics, which will be analyzed in the next chapter. However, not only Hitchcock, but also the German Krimis, and specifically the Gothic films, inspired the giallo, too. The Italian Gothic of the 1960s was a foundation of Italian exploitation and the catalyst for later genres, such as the giallo. Thus, the dawn of the typical giallo began in 1963 with Bava’s LA RAGAZZA CHE SAPEVA TROPPO, which contained several of the above-mentioned influences. Each of them is palpable in Bava’s first giallo, and soon the trend to shoot ‘whodunits’ inspired more directors, as for example Dario Argento, Lucio Fulci, Antonio Margheriti, Antonio Bido and others.
30 2.3. TYPICAL FEATURES OF THE GIALLO
In BLOOD AND BLACK LACE we see stabbings, strangulations, smothering, burnings, and other violent acts; but most important is the introduction of what was to become the arche- typical giallo killer’s disguise: black leather gloves, black overcoat, wide-brimmed black hat, and often a black stocking over the face. (M. Koven 2006, 4)
LA RAGAZZA CHE SAPEVA TROPPO is considered as the prototype giallo due to the combi- nation of murder mystery and Gothic thriller, taking place in contemporary Rome (Sevastakis 2016, 5). Although the majority of the giallo characteristics were instituted in later gialli, LA RAGAZZA CHE SAPEVA TROPPO included some ‘transitional’ patterns. The film starts with opening credits where an airplane is shown, and the audience listens to Adriano Celentano’s song “Furore”. Soon a young American woman, Nora (Leticia Román) is introduced, who is flying to Rome to visit her Italian aunt. During the flight she reads a crime novel with the title The Knife. In the American version of this film, where the title, plot and narrative were edited and changed, the viewer hears Nora reading The Knife.12 It might be argued that Bava’s intention was to establish a con- nection to the well-known giallo mystery novels, which had been popular in Italy for decades.
Nora reading The Knife in LA RAGAZZA CHE SAPEVA TROPPO
LA RAGAZZA CHE SAPEVA TROPPO is viewed by Needham as the first true giallo (Needham 2008, 296). Koven argues that the film “established the giallo films’ narrative structure: an innocent person, often a tourist, witnesses a brutal murder that appears to be the work of a serial killer. He or she takes on the role of amateur detective in order to hunt down the killer, and often succeeds where the police fail” (Koven 2006, 3-4). Bava’s
SEI DONNE PER L’ASSASSINO, which was released in the following year, diverges from
12 The film was released in America as THE EVIL EYE. It was not only retitled, but also re-edited for the US market. 31 such a narrative, as Bava included more graphic brutality, which is particularly detect- able in the killing of some beautiful models. They are slaughtered in different ways: stabbed, choked, burned and tortured. Moreover, SEI DONNE PER L’ASSASSINO includes, in contrast to LA RAGAZZA CHE SAPEVA TROPPO, one of the pivotal tropes of the giallo: a disguised killer. The giallo exhibits several typical traits that have been depicted in these films and which will be later relevant for the analysis of the American equivalent. LA RAGAZZA
CHE SAPEVA TROPPO incorporated some crucial elements, and one year later, SEI DONNE
PER L’ASSASSINO added several more hallmarks to this genre. It does not warrant dis- cussion which of these films should be regarded as the genesis of the giallo, because both are outstanding representatives, and both belong to a different subcategorization.
Hence, the attributes which can be detected in LA RAGAZZA CHE SAPEVA TROPPO will first be presented and then those of SEI DONNE PER L’ASSASSINO and upcoming gialli.
2.3.1. Anglophone Foreigners Turn Into Amateur Sleuths
A very typical feature, beginning with LA RAGAZZA CHE SAPEVA TROPPO, is a foreigner who arrives in an Italian city and gets embroiled in a murder mystery. The foreigners are mostly Americans who are either on vacation or on a business trip often in Rome.
In LA RAGAZZA CHE SAPEVA TROPPO, Nora witnesses a murder on the Spanish Steps in Rome and the American actor John Saxon, who portrays Dr. Marcello Bassi, starts to believe her, although he and the police question the eye-witness at the beginning. Ac- cordingly, the fondness not only for American characters, but also for American actors started with Bava’s introduction of the fictional American character Nora and American actor John Saxon. This was repeated in SEI DONNE PER L’ASSASSINO, where the Ameri- can actor Cameron Mitchell plays Max Morlan – a fashion manager and killer. In subsequent years, gialli producers contracted numerous Americans, namely Carroll Baker, Tony Musante, Karl Malden, Farley Granger, Michael Brandon, Mimsy Farmer, Jessica Harper, Jennifer Connelly and Adrien Brody; as well as British actors, such as Suzy Kendall, John Richardson, Ray Milland, Donald Pleasance and David Hemmings. Some of these famous anglophone actors played the victims, eye-wit- nesses, suspects or sometimes the killers, but mostly they portrayed the characters that observe the initial crime and who became also the amateur sleuths.
32 Starting with Nora’s investigation in LA RAGAZZA CHE SAPEVA TROPPO, the ama- teur detective’s role was frequently presented as a vital constituent in the giallo. Nora, the eye witness, thus, testimone oculare, tries to solve the murder, because the police do not believe her. In L’UCCELLO DALLE PIUME DI CRISTALLO, Sam witnesses a brutal at- tack and he becomes obsessed with solving the crime. In PROFONDO ROSSO Marcus Daly (David Hemmings), a British jazz musician, witnesses the remorseless slaying of a woman. The victim is assaulted in front of a window while Marcus and his gay friend Carlo (Gabriele Lavia) are wandering around the capital’s nocturnal landscape. In both movies the anglophone characters accidentally witness an assault and become ob- sessed with solving the case as they regard the local authorities as incompetent. Fur- thermore, in both films, the testimone oculare places themselves in danger as the killer discovers their identity.
Sam observing the attack in L’UCCELLO DALLE PIUME DI CRISTALLO Marcus witnessing the murder in PROFONDO ROSSO
Koven states that,
the amateur detective recognizes him- or herself as a potential victim of the killer, and so their investigation is motivated as much by self-preservation as by determination to unravel the mystery. These hapless heroes are drawn into their mysteries unintentionally, and this initial unwillingness is the basis for giallo cinema. (M. Koven 2006, 86)
Another analogy between L’UCCELLO DALLE PIUME DI CRISTALLO and PROFONDO ROSSO is the amateur detective’s memory of decisive moments of the night of the attack which helps them to identify the assassin. Argento applied visual flashbacks to show the au- dience how the amateur sleuths relive the occasion. This became a staple narrative in a long list of subsequent gialli. Generally, “the amateur detective’s function in a giallo cinema is, obviously, to solve the mystery, which most do. In some cases, the amateur detective is even able to kill the killer. However, in a few of the films, the amateur detective is murdered by the killer” (88).
33 It is important to state that there are various forms of amateur sleuths in the giallo. On the one hand, newspaper reporters try to solve the crime, such as in IL GATTO
A NOVE CODE, LA CORTA NOTTE DELLE BAMBOLE DI VETRO and NON SI SEVIZIA UN PAPERINO
(Italy 1972, dir.: Lucio Fulci, DON’T TORTURE A DUCKLING). On the other hand, artists assume the role of detectives, just as musicians in QUATTRO MOSCHE DI VELLUTO GRIGIO,
PROFONDO ROSSO and LA CASA CON LA SCALA NEL BUIO (Italy 1983, dir.: Lamberto Bava,
A BLADE IN THE DARK); an opera singer in OPERA (Italy 1987, dir.: Dario Argento, TERROR
AT THE OPERA); a writer in L’UCCELLO DALLE PIUME DI CRISTALLO and TENEBRE; a photog- rapher in NUDE PER L'ASSASSINO (Italy 1975, dir.: Andrea Bianchi, STRIP NUDE FOR YOUR
KILLER) and IL GATTO NERO; a puzzle designer in IL GATTO A NOVE CODE; and a photo model in NUDE PER L'ASSASSINO. Commonly, these amateur sleuths have well-paid professions or belong to the bourgeoisie (such as the playboy Christian in Umberto Lenzi’s SPASMO (Italy 1974,
SPASMO). Exceptions to this norm exist, as for example a group of female students in I
CORPI PRESENTANO TRACCE DI VIOLENZA CARNALE who try to solve the crime; a college student visiting his brother who turns out to be the killer in SOLAMENTE NERO; or a fe- male student in a boarding school in PHENOMENA. There are even gialli where unem- ployed characters assume the role of the amateur detective, but they are usually wealthy females, such as in LA RAGAZZA CHE SAPEVA TROPPO, IL DOLCE CORPO DI DEBO-
RAH (Italy/France 1968, dir.: Romolo Guerrieri, THE SWEET BODY OF DEBORAH), LO
STRANO VIZIO DELLA SIGNORA WARDH, and TUTTI I COLORI DEL BUIO (Italy/Spain 1972, dir.:
Sergio Martino, ALL THE COLORS OF THE DARK). Sometimes the amateur sleuth turns out to be the murderer. Koven refers this to the ‘Roger Ackroyd Scenario’, named after Agatha Christie’s crime novel The Mur- der of Roger Ackroyd (1926), where the narrator in the story, Dr. Sheppard, is exposed as the killer at the end by detective Hercule Poirot. A similar scenario is visible in TENE-
BRE in which novelist Peter Neil turns out to be the actual killer, and in LA SINDROME DI
STENDHAL (Italy 1995, dir.: Dario Argento, THE STENDHAL SYNDROME) the female detec- tive Anna Manni (Asia Argento) is convicted of murder at the end. The amateur sleuth is often aided in solving the mystery, as in LA SINDROME DI STENDHAL, where Anna Manni’s psychiatrist, Dr. Cavanna (Paolo Bonacelli) unravels the crime (Koven 2006, 88-89). Occasionally, private investigators try to help the amateur sleuths, such as the homosexual private detective Arrosio (Jean-Pierre Marielle) in QUATTRO MOSCHE DI
34 VELLUTO GRIGIO and Katapult (Ettore Mattia) in LA TARANTULA DAL VENTRE NERO. The amateur detective is often incapable of solving the crime alone, therefore, other char- acters are needed to assist them as a ‘helper’. “Usually these helper figures are inten- tionally assisting in the investigation; that is to say, they are aware that they are sup- porting the amateur detective in his or her quest” (88). Thus, without these assistants the amateur detectives would struggle in solving the crime. Male amateur detectives are often supported by their girlfriends, such as Julia (Suzy Kendall) in L’UCCELLO DALLE
PIUME DI CRISTALLO, Barbara (again Suzy Kendall) in SPASMO, or Gianna Brezzi (Daria
Nicolodi) in PROFONDO ROSSO. In LA RAGAZZA CHE SAPEVA TROPPO Nora is abetted by a male character, Dr. Bassi. Finally, gialli also feature “a ‘false helper,’ who appears to be assisting in the investigation but is consciously leading the amateur detective astray. Almost always, the false helper is the killer him- or herself” (90). These false helpers are individuals whom the amateur sleuth trusts, like priests in SOLAMENTE NERO, NON
SI SEVIZIA UN PAPERINO and CHI L'HA VISTA MORIRE or the amateur detective’s wife, for instance, in QUATTRO MOSCHE DI VELLUTO GRIGIO.
2.3.2. Urbanity as an Ideal Location
In Federico Fellini’s LA DOLCE VITA (Italy/France 1960), Marcello (Marcello Mastroianni) wanders through Rome and the city is symbolized as “a world of public relations, press conferences, paparazzi, empty religious rites, meaningless intellectual debates, and unrewarding love affairs” (Bondanella 2002, 73). The film juxtaposes Rome’s past and the power of the Catholic Church with the present, as the film starts with an opening shot of a Jesus statue which is carried away with a helicopter. This shot exemplifies the transformation process from the heroic Roman heritage to the contemporary mod- ern Roman lifestyle: it contrasts ancient Roman architecture with modern buildings and beautiful women in beach fashion. Due to the international success of LA DOLCE VITA, Rome became an appealing holiday destination. At the end of the 1950s and early 1960s, an economic miracle happened in Italy, resulting in economic progress and development. Italy aligned itself with other indus- trial nations and transformed itself from an underdeveloped agricultural country to a modern post-capitalist state (Ciavola 2011, 23). LA DOLCE VITA portrayed the positive and negative results of Italy’s commercial expansion and the impact on Italian life.
Three years after LA DOLCE VITA, Mario Bava chose the eternal city for the locale of LA
35 RAGAZZA CHE SAPEVA TROPPO, “turning la dolce vita into la dolce morte” (M. Koven 2006, 46). This first giallo was an impetus –in relation to narrative and style– for upcoming gialli and a great number of giallo directors chose Rome for their setting, in particular
Roman born Dario Argento in L’UCCELLO DALLE PIUME DI CRISTALLO, QUATTRO MOSCHE
DI VELLUTO GRIGIO, TENEBRE, the neo-gialli IL CARTAIO (Italy 2004, THE CARD PLAYER) and LA TERZA MADRE (Italy/USA 2007, MOTHER OF TEARS). Other gialli, such as MACCHIE
SOLARI (Italy 1975, dir.: Armando Crispino, AUTOPSY), IL GATTO DAGLI OCCHI DI GIADA
(Italy 1977, dir.: Antonio Bido, WATCH ME WHEN I KILL), also have Rome as their back- drop. Not to be left out, other Italian cities were used as locations as well, for instance Milan, Florence, Turin and Venice. The latter was a popular locale for several gialli, such as CHI L'HA VISTA MORIRE, ALLA RICERCA DEL PIACERE (Italy 1972, dir: Silvio Amadio,
AMUCK), SOLAMENTE NERO, GIALLO A VENEZIA (Italy 1979, dir.: Mario Landi, GIALLO A
VENEZIA) and UN DELITTO POCO COMUNE (Italy 1988, dir.: Ruggero Deodato, OFF BAL-
Rural settings were uncommon in gialli, but exceptions exist. CINQUE BAMBOLE
PER LA LUNA D'AGOSTO (Italy 1970, dir.: Mario Bava, FIVE DOLLS FOR AN AUGUST MOON) takes place on a remote, unspecified island; REAZIONE A CATENA (Italy 1971, dir.: Mario
Bava, BAY OF BLOOD) – which can be regarded as the proto-slasher13 – is set in an unnamed Italian forest; the Ligurian coast is the location for L'UOMO SENZA MEMORIA
(Italy 1974, dir.: Duccio Tessari, MAN WITHOUT A MEMORY) and the Amalfi coast for LA
SORELLA DI URSULA (Italy 1978, dir.: Enzo Miloni, THE SISTER OF URSULA). Another cru- cial aspect about the location is that it can also be set outside of Italy, for instance in
European cities, such as Prague: LA CORTA NOTTE DELLE BAMBOLE DI VETRO; London:
TUTTI I COLORI DEL BUIO, LA MORTE CAMMINA CON I TACCHI ALTI (Italy/Spain 1971, dir: Lu- ciano Ercoli, DEATH WALKS ON HIGH HEELS), COSA AVETE FATTO A SOLANGE?; Paris: LA
MORTE CAMMINA CON I TACCHI ALTI, CASA D'APPUNTAMENTO (Italy/Germany 1972, dir.:
Ferdinando Merighi, FRENCH SEX MURDERS); Munich: L'ULTIMO TRENO DELLA NOTTE (Italy
1975, dir.: Aldo Lado, NIGHT TRAIN MURDERS), SUSPIRIA; Geneva: IL DOLCE CORPO DI
DEBORAH; Barcelona: GATTI ROSSI IN UN LABIRINTO DI VETRO (Italy/Spain 1975, EYEBALL); and Vienna: LO STRANO VIZIO DELLA SIGNORA WARDH. However, the American continent also became an attractive setting for this fi- lone. Lucio Fulci’s penchant for America is evident in the gialli which he directed either
13 BAY OF BLOOD is one of the gialli which had a tremendous effect on Hollywood and this film will be part of the analysis in the chapter about the impact on Hollywood productions.
36 in New York City (LO SQUARTATORE DI NEW YORK, Italy 1982, THE NEW YORK RIPPER) or
San Francisco (UNA SULL'ALTRA, Italy/Spain/France 1969, PERVERSION STORY).14 Dario Argento directed three movies in the United States, although only one was filmed en- tirely on American soil, TRAUMA (Italy/USA 1993, AURA). In TRAUMA the location is un- named, but the story is set in an American city.15 TRAUMA feels like an American pro- duction, as apart from Asia Argento’s role (Dario Argento’s daughter) the rest of the actors are American, such as Piper Laurie, James Russo and Christopher Rydell. Ar- gento’s INFERNO plays in New York, but this film was mainly shot at the Elios Studios in Rome. Argento included establishing scenes of New York (Central Park and the skylines). In TENEBRE, the depiction of a New York scenery begins after the title se- quence, and the main protagonist, Peter Neil, rides his bicycle through Manhattan’s congested streets to JFK airport. Argento highlights New York City during the scene and edited a two-minute scene at the airport where Neil’s airplane finally takes off for Italy. At this point, there is a rapid shift in the narrative to Rome. Other giallo directors also included American scenes in their films, just as Lamberto Bava’s MACABRO (Italy
1980, MACABRE) who used exterior shots of New Orleans and Umberto Lenzi’s LA
SPIAGGIA DEL TERRORE (Italy/USA 1988, dir.: Umberto Lenzi, NIGHTMARE BEACH), which takes place entirely in Florida. Some other exotic locations were chosen by directors and location scouts. For LA RAGAZZA DAL PIGIAMA GIALLO (Italy/Spain 1977, dir.: Flavio
Mogherini, THE PYJAMA GIRL CASE) it was Australia, Africa was used for L’UOMO PIÙ
VELENOSO DEL COBRA (Italy/Spain 1971, dir.: Bitto Albertini, HUMAN COBRAS), and Haiti was chosen for AL TROPICO DEL CANCRO (Italy 1972, dir.: Giampaolo Lomi, Edoardo
Mulargia, DEATH IN HAITI). An eminent feature of gialli is the detailed representation of the city, either in the title sequence or soon afterwards. Needham presented the genre’s inclination towards travel and claimed that the “’Italian-ness’ [is promoted] through a foregrounding of iden- tifiable tourist spots that often halt the narrative and serve as sheer spectacle” (Needham 2002). Koven acknowledges Needham’s reference, but adds that “most gi- alli tend to feature ‘travelling shots’; that is, shots, usually taken from a car, that estab- lish the geographic location of the film through a sort of travelogue footage, showing key points for tourist interest” (Koven 2006, 50). Bava initiated the travelogue footage in LA RAGAZZA CHE SAPEVA TROPPO, using famous Roman sights and the Spanish Steps
14 Lucio Fulci directed more movies in America, but these can be assigned to the zombie genre, and are therefore excluded in this giallo analysis. 15 The film was shot entirely in Minneapolis (Minnesota). 37 for the murder scene. Bava’s characteristics were adopted by other directors and the use of travelogue footage became a frequent constituent of the giallo. One of the strongest ‘travel shot’ scenes appears in Lenzi’s GATTI ROSSI IN UN LABIRINTO DI VETRO, which depicts Barcelona and the Catalonian region throughout the entire film. An ad- ditional crucial feature, photographic images, is as well presented in the title sequence of GATTI ROSSI IN UN LABIRINTO DI VETRO. LO STRANO VIZIO DELLA SIGNORA WARDH exhibits the travelogue sequences par excellence, as Sergio Martino included four minutes of detailed travelogue footage of Vienna. In one scene, Julie (Edwige Fenech) and her friend Carol (Conchita Airoldi) are driving by car and pass the Hofburg, the palace of the Habsburg dynasty. Another typical detail for Vienna, the Fiaker, a horse-drawn four-wheel carriage for hire, is also given screen time. George (George Hilton) takes Julie for a motorcycle tour and they ride along the city’s landmark, the Ringstraße, and pass the Austrian Parliament building. Then they leave the city and ride through the undulating countryside that surrounds Vienna. Venice is, along with Rome and Turin, another popular location for gialli. The romantic city was used several times as a locale, but, in particular CHI L'HA VISTA MORIRE and ALLA RICERCA DEL PIACERE depict Venice as a touristic sight. In CHI L'HA VISTA MO-
RIRE, which could had been a major inspiration and template for Nicolas Roeg’s DON’T
LOOK NOW (UK/Italy 1973)16 in terms of narrative and style, an Alitalia airplane lands in Venice and the main protagonist Franco (George Lazenby) is introduced. Afterwards there is a cut and travelogue shots follow of the Rialto Bridge, the Piazza San Marco, Venetian architecture and the network of canals. The distinctiveness to other cinematic depictions of Venice is the displayed melancholy, and this conveys the feeling that something tragic is about to happen. In contrast, ALLA RICERCA DEL PIACERE starts with cheerful music and Greta (Barbara Bouchet) is driven in a boat through the canals. Several popular Venetian sights are featured before the vessel heads towards a small island in the Venice lagoon.
16 CHI L'HA VISTA MORIRE was directed one year prior to Roeg’s thriller, which is also set in Venice. In both movies young girls die, in CHI L'HA VISTA MORIRE the child gets abducted and is later found in the canals. In DON’T LOOK NOW the girl drowns in a pond. Another similarity is that in both movies the fathers of the dead girls begin the amateur detective work. 38
Julie and Carol near the Hofburg (LO STRANO VIZIO DELLA SIGNORA Greta enjoying the Venetian canals (ALLA RICERCA DEL PIACERE)
The traveling scenes in the giallo were mostly used as the background for the opening credits as they were “suturing the audience into the film’s location at the very begin- ning” (Koven 2006, 50). Anglophone foreigners in Italy, the amateur investigators, and the urban setting were all applied in LA RAGAZZA CHE SAPEVA TROPPO and had an impact on later giallo productions.
2.3.3. Giallo-esque Settings
Besides urban environment and location shots, giallo producers and directors have applied other settings too, such as trains, underground carparks, staircases, theaters, strip clubs, elevators and high-rise apartment buildings. The most crucial settings are confined spaces. A large number of gialli take place either in a remote villa or mansion:
I CORPI PRESENTANO TRACCE DI VIOLENZA CARNALE is set on a house on a cliff, CINQUE
BAMBOLE PER LA LUNA D'AGOSTO on an isolated island, and IL TUO VIZIO È UNA STANZA
CHIUSA E SOLO IO NE HO LA CHIAVE (Italy 1972, dir.: Sergio Martino, YOUR VICE IS A LOCKED
ROOM AND ONLY I HAVE THE KEY) plays at a huge country manor. Other forms of bounded spaces can be colleges, like in NUDE SI MUORE (Italy 1968, dir.: Antonio Mar- gheriti, NAKED YOU DIE) where young teenage girls are slaughtered by an internal killer. The utilization of isolated and confined environments can build up suspense, as the ‘damsel-in-distress’ is trapped in her habitat.
Theatres, such as in L’ASSASSINO HA RISERVATO NOVE POLTRONE (Italy 1974, dir.:
Giuseppe Bennati, THE KILLER RESERVED NINE SEATS), OPERA and DELIRIA (Italy 1987, dir.: Michele Soavi, STAGEFRIGHT: THE THEATRE OF DEATH), serve as settings for the perpetrator’s killing spree, and none of the victims are able to escape. A ballet school is the deadly setting in SUSPIRIA, and once again the female student is trapped in this
39 environment. A pathology department is used in Crispino’s MACCHIE SOLARI, and an underground carpark is the location for the thrilling scene where Julie is hunted by the killer in LO STRANO VIZIO DELLA SIGNORA WARDH. She escapes the maniac using an ele- vator, and generally, lifts have a special significance in the giallo. The starting point was Argento’s L’UCCELLO DALLE PIUME DI CRISTALLO, depicting a brutal murder of a girl, killed with a razor knife by the disguised perpetrator in a lift. In PERCHÉ QUELLE STRANE
GOCCE DI SANGUE SUL CORPO DI JENNIFER? a young female is as well murdered by a disguised killer. She is stabbed with a knife and this scene is reminiscent to Argento’s
L’UCCELLO DALLE PIUME DI CRISTALLO. Elevators have often been an attractive setting for films, most of them belonging to the horror and thriller genre. LADY IN A CAGE (USA 1964, dir.: Walter Grauman), a horror-thriller, was the first film which applied a home elevator as a trap for a woman who was terrorized by criminals. While other horror- thrillers concentrated entirely on elevator settings, such as DE LIFT (Netherlands 1983, dir.: Dick Maas, THE LIFT), gialli used this locale primarily for sordid killings, as for ex- ample in IL GATTO A NOVE CODE, SETTE ORCHIDEE MACCHIATE DI ROSSO, and LE FOTO DI
GIOIA (Italy 1987, dir.: Lamberto Bava, DELIRIUM). Elevators, which are mostly used in high-rise apartment buildings, should also depict the modernity, and Koven argues that the giallo exploits the breakdown of community. People, who live in such apartment blocks feel isolated, they frequently do not communicate with their neighbors, some- times they even do not know who their neighbor is (Koven 2006, 53). The killers prefer to murder the victims in their own environment, be it an apartment, house, or villa. Murderous attacks, which take place on the streets, are quite rare, but they ex- ist. In PERCHÉ QUELLE STRANE GOCCE DI SANGUE SUL CORPO DI JENNIFER? Jennifer’s (Ed- wige Fenech) friend is stabbed in her abdomen by the yellow-gloved maniac on a packed Italian street, while the police is surveilling the building. Another form of mo- dernity is featured in this scene as Marilyn (Paola Quattrini) tumbles, smeared in blood, and none of the pedestrians pay attention to the injured person. The social message, moreover, is that the police is pure ‘decoration’ and cannot protect the public. The policeman prefers to sit in his car and enjoys his sandwich and fails to notice the attack happening nearby. Only when he sees a crowd of people gathering around the victim, does he realize that something is amiss. The police’s incompetence and the social behavior of the crowd reflect contemporary Italian society of that time. Beginning in 1969, social heterogenous groups, consisting of left and right-wing members, tried to transform Italian’s society. Although Italians profited immensely from
40 the economic miracle of the early 1960s, the prosperity ignited social friction and tur- moil. An attack at a bank on the Piazza Fontana in Milan in December 1969 was the starting point for the bewildering fifteen years that became known as the anni di piombo (the years of lead), during which time hundreds of Italians lost their lives because of numerous attacks. The Red Brigades started kidnapping and executing public officials, such as policemen, journalists, judges, and even ex-prime minister Aldo Moro. Right- wing factions attacked civilians with bombs, trying to ‘drown democracy under a moun- tain of corpses.’ In the fifteen years of social disruption the Italians used art, music and film as therapy and protest to the bloody carnage and chaos. The anni di piombo ef- fected Italian filmmaking, in particular the giallo and its filone, the poliziotteschi. In these films the police and the hard-boiled detective is capable of singlehandedly destroying and punishing the syndicate, whereas in real life the situation was different. In PERCHÉ
QUELLE STRANE GOCCE DI SANGUE SUL CORPO DI JENNIFER? Carnimeo shows the police’s incompetence of being able to combat crime, as the amateur sleuth Andrea (George Hilton) discovers the identity of the killer. Besides, the police is depicted as puppets who even admit, such as Commissioner Enzi (Giampiero Albertini), that “it is one of the years in which you prefer to be a fireman” (The Case of the Bloody Iris 2002). Finally, trains or train compartments are another crucial setting. As stated before, travelling has always been an import feature in the giallo, likewise crime literature used travel as a way to develop and expand narratives. Beginning in the mid-nineteenth century the ‘railway novels’, also called yellow-backs, were sold at British train platform bookstalls. The idea of reading a book while travelling pleased people and something sensational had to be read in the train, thus the number of crime novels rose. The yellow-back Revelation of a Lady Detective (1864) tells the story of a female private sleuth sitting in the major invention of the 19th century, the railway, bringing her to the ancient Gothic melancholy of a Yorkshire abbey (I. Carter 2001, 169-170).
The anachronism is surely deliberate […]: the railway, intimately bound up with the new form of the detective novel, will cut through the conventions of the most popular fiction of late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, the Gothic novel. As rail commuter traffic increased in the later nineteenth century, so new periodicals – The Strand Magazine, Pear- son’s Magazine […] – fed readers’ demands for exciting short stories to hold attention on brief (if boring) railway journeys to and from the city office. British detective fiction germi- nated in these periodicals’ seedbed. [After WW1 the periodicals declined, but] railway sta- tion bookshops remained meccas for crime aficionados. (169-170)
Famous literature detectives, such as Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot solved mur- ders while travelling on a train, such as Agatha Christie’s The Mystery of the Blue Train
41 (1928) and Murder on the Orient Express (1934). Hence, detective stories frequently included train journeys. The giallo included this narrative device, using either commuter trains or sleeping coaches as locations for murder. In IL ROSSO SEGNO DELLA FOLLIA
(Italy/Spain 1970, dir.: Mario Bava, A HATCHET FOR THE HONEYMOON) the murderer John Harrington (Stephen Forsyth) kills a couple in a sleeping coach with a butcher knife; and a disguised perpetrator attacks Giulia (Uschi Glas) in a train compartment in SETTE
ORCHIDEE MACCHIATE DI ROSSO. A train kills a railroad worker in the title sequence of
OMICIDIO PER VOCAZIONE (Italy 1968, dir.: Vittorio Sindoni, DEADLY INHERITANCE). The most famous giallo taking place almost entirely on a train or train compartment is Aldo
Lado’s shocker L'ULTIMO TRENO DELLA NOTTE, which used the setting for its horrific plot: “A pair of psychotic hoodlums and an equally demented nymphomaniac woman terror- ize two young girls on a train trip from Germany to Italy” (Imdb n.d.). The maniacs terrorize the two girls and humiliate and torture them. Finally, one is killed with a knife which the killer sticks in her vagina and the second is thrown off the train. Argento’s
NON HO SONNO also includes a commuter train, bringing a prostitute from her last client – the killer – to her hometown. The killer uses the train as well, as he chases the pros- titute who had stolen some incriminating documents. No killings are committed on the train, but Argento chose the train as an ideal place for a hide-and-seek chase.
2.3.4. Common Props
Each film genre needs its typical setting: the vast landscape in a western, space in science fiction, packed American cities in action-movies and isolated rural settings in the horror. The giallo utilizes its own setting, mostly an urban Italian metropolis. How- ever, every genre demands its standard props. This principle is applicable to the giallo as well. The most iconic prop in the giallo would be the telephone, either red, black or white. Italians coined the phrase ‘telefono biancho’ (white telephone), referring to the romantic comedies of the 1930s which tended to portray sequences of a character speaking on a white enameled telephone in a beautiful decorated setting (Celli 2007, 32). The most popular ‘white telephone’ films were directed by Mario Camerini who accentuated the functions of this technical gadget. It specifically accelerated the com-
42 munication between individuals and therefore, it was pivotal for social contact. How- ever, a crucial fact might be that not only white, but also black telephones were ren- dered in the romantic comedies of the 1930s (Scheinpflug 2014, 111). Starting with Mario Bava’s first gialli, the telephone, either in black, white or red, was always included as a prop, often depicting the killer calling a victim. Perpetrators repeatedly used voice distortion devices to hide their true identity, such as the duck- voiced maniac in LO SQUARTATORE DI NEW YORK, the female assassin in L'UCCELLO
DALLE PIUME DI CRISTALLO, or the killer in LA MORTE CAMMINA CON I TACCHI ALTI. The list of films of assassins calling and threatening their victims is long. SEI DONNE PER L’AS-
SASSINO includes various telephone scenes, and Bava’s homage to the ‘white tele- phone’ films is apparent. Not only ‘white telephone’ comedies used an adorned setting, but also countless gialli, such as SEI DONNE PER L’ASSASSINO, which takes place in a bourgeoise environment. Here, the emphasis on phone calls is a frequent ingredient, and in particular the end scene is salient, depicting the female killer (who just murdered her partner) calling the police and revealing the murders. Afterwards she falls to the ground and dies next to her lover and accomplice. Then the film ends with a close-up on a red telephone. Telephone booths, used by either killers or their intended victims, feature in the giallo too. According to Kelly, public phones are more anonymous, and it is quite im- possible to imagine any thriller or film noir without pay phones or phone booths. Thus, they have become an important prop in thrillers.
The killer calling one of the models in SEI DONNE PER L’ASSASSINO Both killers and the red telephone in SEI DONNE PER L’ASSASSINO
Hitchcock used a phone booth in DIAL M FOR MURDER (USA 1954) as an important piece of mis-en-scène. Tony Wendice (Ray Milland) calls his wife from a glass phone booth in a restaurant, who he has planned to be murdered by a man hiding in her apartment, and the phone call signals that the murder attempt should go ahead (Kelly 2015, 80-f). “The phone allowed liaisons to be arranged, crimes to be planned, help to
43 be sought, and crucial information to be imparted, while the phone booth often acted as a stage within a stage, framing and dramatizing numerous encounters” (80). Mirrors are another constant feature in gialli. Dario Argento employs mirrors for different purposes, either for the thrilling effects, artistic functions, or vital mise-en- scène, as in PROFONDO ROSSO. Marcus observes the murder of the medium Helga Ullman (Macha Méril), while strolling along one night, and when he later enters Ullman’s apartment, he passes the mirror which was reflecting the actual killer. In this moment, however, he did not notice this detail, but it became an important event in the film’s story line and reaches its climax at the plot twist in the end. It was again Mario
Bava who introduced mirrors in the giallo. SEI DONNE PER L’ASSASSINO incorporates a mirror scene when one of the models is stalked and attacked by the disguised killer, but she can escape and runs towards a mirror that reflects the actual event which conveys a more thrilling and dramatic feeling.
The female killer is reflected in the mirror in PROFONDO ROSSO The killer hunting a mannequin in SEI DONNE PER L’ASSASSINO
However, mirrors were not only used for devastating events, but also for sexual repre- sentations, such as the shower scene in IL DOLCE CORPO DI DEBORAH, showing Marcel (Jean Sorel) and Deborah (Carroll Baker) having sex, and mirrors are an asset for these erotic shots. A mirror in front of Silvia Hickerman’s (Mimsy Farmer) bed intensi- fies the depiction of her having sex with her boyfriend in IL PROFUMO DELLA SIGNORA IN
NERO (Italy 1974, dir.: Francesco Barilli, THE PERFUME OF THE LADY IN BLACK). Some- times mirrors are mounted above the bed, which is even more symbolic for kinky sex depictions in the giallo. Besides mirrors, art has a relevance in the giallo, specifically in Argento’s first films. L’UCCELLO DALLE PIUME DI CRISTALLO fills the cinematic frame with sculptures, paintings and pictures. An art gallery, full of sculptures is the scene of the crime and the attempted murder on Monica Ranieri (Eva Renzi), witnessed by the American am- ateur sleuth Sam. Moreover, Sam’s investigation leads to an art dealer who shows him
44 a painting, which steers Sam in the right direction in his investigation. The picture ac- tually enables Sam to solve the crime. The killer, however, uses a huge sculpture as a weapon, dropping it on Sam, and only the police is able to help the amateur sleuth in this inescapable situation. PROFONDO ROSSO makes great use of art too, and according to Joanna Barck, Edward Hopper’s painting Nighthawks (1942) may have been an influence on Argento’s fictional Roman setting. In PROFONDO ROSSO a bar with a neon blue-colored lettering Blue Bar is visible, and the resemblance between Nighthaws and Argento’s setting is unmistakable. In both cases, the café is visited only by a few cus- tomers and serves as a refuge for nighthawks (Barck 2015, 40-f).
The Blue Bar in PROFONDO ROSSO Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks (1942)
Argento emphasized paintings in LA SINDROME DI STENDHAL, telling the story of the young female police woman Anna Manni who is hunting a serial killer. One clue leads Anna to the Uffizi, but Anna faints when she is surrounded by the vast amount of art- work. She suffers from the Stendhal syndrome, a psychosomatic disorder causing rapid heartbeat, giddiness, delusion and black-outs. The trigger is a sensory overload of art. Anna’s dizziness starts when she sees a reproduction of Rembrandt’s The Night Watch (1642) and she begins dreaming, placing herself into the time of the painting. Pieter Bruegel’s Landscape of the Fall of Icarus (circa 1555) is another composition which immerses Anna into the fictional world of the painting (34-f).
Rembrandt’s The Night Watch in LA SINDROME DI STENDHAL Anna staring at Landscape of the Fall of Icarus
45 Paintings have great significance in Argento’s gialli, but some other filoni used art too, such as CASA D'APPUNTAMENTO and LA MORTE ACCAREZZA A MEZZANOTTE (Italy/Spain
1972, dir: Luciano Ercoli, DEATH WALKS AT MIDNIGHT), but here the focus is not on the depicted paintings, but more on style and esthetics. In LA MORTE ACCAREZZA A MEZZA-
NOTTE, Luciano Ercoli presents a huge painting of his wife, Susan Scott, who acts as the main protagonist Valentina, a photo model. In one of the opening scenes, she con- sumes drugs while sitting on a stylish sofa, and behind her an enormous painting of her face is seen on the wall. Besides paintings, sculptures appear frequently in the giallo, and once again Argento has incorporated their use more than any other giallo director. Sculptures have an esthetical meaning in L’UCCELLO DALLE PIUME DI CRISTALLO as they are exhibited in Ranieri’s art gallery. A gigantic sculpture is also the fatal in- strument for Sam in the final scene when Monica drops it on him. Additionally, a futur- istic sculpture made of aluminum is the ‘weapon’ in TENEBRE, skewering Peter Neil’s abdomen.
In L’UCCELLO DALLE PIUME DI CRISTALLO we see Argento embrace technology, as a gigantic computer with a dot-matrix printer analyzes the characteristics of the perpe- trator. Argento’s next film in the ‘Animal trilogy’, IL GATTO A NOVE CODE, includes scien- tific elements. Here, Franco Arno (Karl Malden), a blind crossword puzzle creator, his niece Lori (Cinzia De Carolis) and the dedicated reporter Carlo Giordani (James Fran- ciscus) try to solve murders which are connected to a medical institute where genetical experiments are conducted. The killer has a rare genetic condition which causes per- sonality disorders. Elena Past claims that Argento was fascinated by the science of crime and he tried to imply the link between XYY chromosomes and criminality into IL
GATTO A NOVE’S CODE (Past 2012, 213). Some scholars, such as Louis Paul see the film as more science fiction than actual horror, borrowing the ideas of mistrust in medicine from the British shocker TWISTED NERVE (UK 1968, dir.: Roy Boulting) (Paul 2005, 41).
The last giallo of the ‘Animal trilogy’, QUATTRO MOSCHE DI VELLUTO GRIGIO, includes again scientific elements, as due to new forensic methods researchers can witness the last image a victim sees before they die. This image is saved on the retina and in
QUATTRO MOSCHE DI VELLUTO GRIGIO, scientists can lift a representation resembling the titular four flies on a gray background. The last two movies merged parts of urban legends into their plot, and the exploitation filmmaker Luigi Cozzi reveals that the story for QUATTRO MOSCHE DI VELLUTO GRIGIO was as well inspired by popular scientific be- liefs of that time (Koven 2006, 117-f).
46 Cozzi also claims that the idea for the camera that photographs the last image on the dead woman’s eye came from a newspaper account. Though the superstitious notion that dead man’s eyes can convict a murder was popular in the 19th century and survived into the early 20th (leading some Depression-era gangsters to shoot out their victims’ eyes), it’s weird science of the most egregious kind. (118)
All three films of the ‘Animal trilogy’ incorporate contemporary technology: gigantic computers, dot-matrix printers and retina image scanners. Argento combined techno- logical innovations with urban legends and intertwined these with giallo-typical ele- ments, and thus, his craft is regarded pivotal for the giallo transformation of the early 1970s. Moreover, Argento gave birth to one of his emblematic cinematic obsessions, eyes and sharp objects, in IL GATTO A NOVE CODE.
Before each act of violence, the audience is exposed to an extreme close-up of eyes. Ar- gento’s cinematic world concentrates on the eyes of the killer. This way the audience will identify with this person as the malevolent presence in the film, before finding out his/her identity at the finale (through the close-up of the eyes of the murderer). (Paul 2005, 41)
Besides Argento, other directors also included electronical innovations in their gialli. For instance, audiotapes and video recordings of the rape of young girls assist the police in their investigations in LA POLIZIA CHIEDE AIUTO. Video recordings, such as home-made sex-films, are watched by the characters in ALLA RICERCA DEL PIACERE. Computers began to feature more prominently in gialli which were produced in the 1980s, as the computer became a common domestic appliance. One of the props which seems insignificant, but which can be observed in a myriad of gialli is J&B whisky. The British based company, which was founded by the Italian expatriate Giacomo Justerini in London in the 16th century, became a famous drink in the United States after the abolishment of prohibition. J&B was endorsed by writers, in particular Charles Dickens and Truman Capote, and Capote was the first who implemented J&B into a novel, Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1958) (Gather n.d.). J&B was not only favored by American stars, like Dean Martin and Jackie Gleason, and Americans themselves, but also by the Italian giallo cinema. J&B became the most iconic product to appear in giallo cinema. Needham ob- serves that J&B was the “most plugged product in the history of European cinema” (Needham, kinoeye 2002). The drink was not only consumed by American globetrot- ters who came to Italy, but by the characters who had “always a bottle of J&B plunked down on the table of some fabulously shag-ragged apartment” (Gather n.d.). Koven contacted J&B whisky where the marketing representative, Sue Cohen, was unfamiliar
47 with J&B’s product placement in the filone. This would suggest that it was done inde- pendently by Italian directors, as J&B did not pay for any product placement. Koven indicated that J&B rose to prominence because of the ‘Rat Pack’, and the drink was cherished by the Italian-Americans Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra. Specifically, Mar- tin’s Italian-sung love songs of the 1950s might have had an influence on Italian culture, as he represented prosperity, luxury and virility. These attributes were maybe associ- ated and imbued by the Italians with J&B, and thus, the drink features predominantly in gialli too (Koven 2006, 49-f).
There might have been other whiskies readily available when these films were made, but the audience would not necessarily have had the same connotation with these tipples as they did with the ubiquitous J&B brand. The brand of whiskey a giallo character drinks, or at least has (prominently) in the house, like with the visual use of brand-name airliners, grounds the giallo, not only in an aura of sophistication, or at least la dolce vita, but in a consumerist reality that creates some connection with the audience’s liebeswelt; even if they cannot afford to fly off to London or drink highball cocktails, they at least recognize an assumed value of those signifiers. (50)
Even today, neo-gialli, like Luciano Onetti’s FRANCESCA (Italy/Argentina 2015, FRAN-
CESCA) borrow from 1970s gialli, and besides creaking leather gloves and phallic weap- ons, J&B bottles feature like an uncredited supporting cast member, or cameo.
2.3.5. A Killer on the Loose
Mario Bava’s violent and brutal SEI DONNE PER L’ASSASSINO included elements which had not been displayed before, such as detailed on-screen killings, savagery against women and torture. Moreover, it depicted a disguised killer in a stocking mask, black gloves, fedora and a black coat. This image became the apotheosis of the giallo killer, although it will be revealed later that not all killers in this filone are clad in such a fash- ion. Another feature which set the film apart from other gialli is the mastery with which Bava uses light, luminous colors, an excellent image composition and the Copaca- bana-style soundtrack by Carlo Rustichelli. Martin Beine claims that Rustichelli’s soundtrack is reminiscent to the title music of the Swedish thriller MANNEKÄNG I RÖTT
(Sweden 1958, dir.: Arne Mattsson, MANNEQUIN IN RED), which music was composed by Torbjörn Lundqvist (Beine 2017, 1).17 Onley summarizes par excellence the plot of
17 The title music from MANNEKÄNG I RÖTT can be found on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YPR16mRtC3g). 48 SEI DONNE PER L’ASSASSINO and points out the pivotal aspects being introduced in this giallo.
Mario Bava’s BLOOD AND BLACK LACE chronicles in gruesome detail the crimes of a silent, black-clad, white-masked killer, who, armed with an iron claw, stalks and brutally slays half a dozen beautiful female models employed at a fashion salon in Rome. The chain of murders begins in the opening scene, when the first victim, Isabella (Francesca Ungaro), returns to the salon after a night on the town only to be ambushed on the grounds by the anonymous killer, who savagely slashes her face, throws her against a nearby tree, and finally strangles her to death before dragging her body into the bushes. When her muti- lated corpse is discovered the following day, the police are contacted and proceed to question her former employers, the suave Massimo Morlachi (Cameron Mitchell) and the attractive, recently widowed Countess Cristina Como (Eva Bartok), and her former coworkers, few of whom seem genuinely distressed by her horrific death. Although the motive behind Isabella’s murder is at first obscure – the investigating detective, Inspector Silvestri (Thomas Reiner), initially speculates that the person responsible might be a “homicidal sex maniac” driven to kill by “the female beauty” – it soon becomes apparent that she was murdered because of her intimate knowledge of the sordid private lives of her colleagues. When her incriminating diary is discovered and circulated among the models at the salon, the killer begins to eliminate them one by one. As the bodies pile up, the mystery surrounding the identity of the masked murderer grows, frustrating the police and terrifying potential victims. (Olney 2013, 103)
As visible, in contrast to other movies which had been produced by 1964, none in- cluded similar levels of brutality. A typical murder scene at that time would have been a strangulation, but no mutilation. However, in SEI DONNE PER L’ASSASSINO all female models are slaughtered viciously: the first is strangled and her face smashed against a tree, a medieval iron hand spears the eyes of the second victim, the third is punched atrociously and her face is pressed against a burning oven resulting in the searing and melting of her skin. The killing of the fourth and fifth victim are maybe the most ‘benign’, as victim number four is choked with a pillow and number five is drowned in her bath tub. Victim six and seven are the killers themselves, Massimo Morlachi and Countess Christina Como. The initiator was Massimo, Christina’s lover, but at the end both kill one another and Bava portrays them lying arm in arm next to each other.
Theatrical lobby card of SEI DONNE PER L’ASSASSINO
49 According to Howarth, the film was initially not a success in Italy, but it was highly appreciated abroad, particularly in the United States. The American distributors Ber- nard and Lawrence Woolner invited Bava to go to the United States and shoot his films there, but he refused (Howarth, So Deadly So Perverse Vol. 1 1963-1973 2015, 52- 54). The screenplay by Marcello Fondato, Giuseppe Barilla and Bava is straightfor- ward, the story is fast-paced, and the murders turn the film into a gripping experience. Bava concentrated on gruesome and well-choreographed murder set pieces making
SEI DONNE PER L’ASSASSINO so exceptional and influential. Film scholars, who have an- alyzed giallo, claim that SEI DONNE PER L’ASSASSINO “occupies a special place in the history of Euro horror cinemas as the first true giallo film” (Olney 2013, 103). Koven believes that “Bava further developed the genre with BLOOD AND BLACK LACE […] [as he introduced] the archetypal giallo killer’s disguise: black leather gloves, black over- coat, wide-brimmed black hat, and often a black stocking over the face” (Koven 2006, 4). Bava introduced the masked killer to the giallo, but he was not the first director who integrated a disguised killed on the screen. The American television series IRON
CLAW (USA 1941, dir.: James W. Horne), presented a mysterious figure (called the Iron Claw) who assaults individuals and is masked with a black hat, black coat, black gloves and hides his face behind a mask of bandages. Koven points out that a man, wearing black gloves, dark hat and overcoat, strangles a woman in the Miss Marple detective story MURDER, SHE SAID (UK 1961, dir.: George Pollock). The film was based on the Agatha Christie novel 4.50 from Paddington (1957), but in the book there is no such description of the look of the killer as portrayed in the subsequent film. Neverthe- less, a false appearance can be helpful for films, as it firstly conceals the identity of the assassin, and secondly, it hides the killer’s gender (Koven 2006, 100-f). “In the wake of the 1964 Bava film, this disguise became de rigueur for gialli murderers” (101). How- ever, also the Krimi featured mysterious, flamboyant and villainous murderers, who sometimes concealed their identity behind masks. Usually their identity was always revealed at the end of the film. Some titles even introduced the disguised killer in its film title, like the Wallace adaptation DER FROSCH MIT DER MASKE (1959).
The masked villain in DER FROSCH MIT DER MASKE
SEI DONNE PER L’ASSASSINO was reviewed by the British Film Institute’s magazine Monthly Film Bulletin and it was inspected as Bava’s “most expensive-looking and dec- orative horror film to date […]. [Moreover, Bava] established a new era in Italian film- making – the Red telephone era”18 (Smith 2015). The review claims the film to be an “example of the murder thriller genre” (Smith), as the term giallo was not used in the national and international film context at that time.19
The killer in IRON CLAW The disguised murderer in SEI DONNE PER L’ASSASSINO
By 1969, 34 gialli had been produced in Italy, but additional to SEI DONNE PER L’ASSAS-
SINO only two more implemented disguised killers. In the first, NUDE SI MUORE, the as- sassin wears a diving suit to conceal his identity. The second, LA BAMBOLA DI SATANA
(Italy 1969, dir.: Ferruccio Casapinta, THE DOLL OF SATAN) depicts the murderer in black gloves and a hangman’s costume. In 1970, the popularity of this genre intensified with
Dario Argento’s directorial debut, L’UCCELLO DALLE PIUME DI CRISTALLO, which “would
18 On the website is a scanned article of BLOOD AND BLACK LACE, but it does not indicate the date or issue which published that review. 19 The use of the term giallo for this type of film began in European countries and in America at different points in time. 51 prove to be the most important film in the development of the giallo” (Howarth, Vol. 1 2015, 115). The movie was praised domestically and abroad and “its impact would prove to be so significant that the genres productivity would hit an all-time high over the next two years” (115). The film includes besides the crucial giallo elements of ‘an- glophone foreigners’, ‘amateur sleuths’, an ‘urban setting’, in particular a ‘disguised killer’. American journalist Sam Dalmas witnesses the ferocious attack of a masked individual – dressed in a black coat, black leather gloves and a black hat attacking a woman. Like in SEI DONNE PER L’ASSASSINO, Argento’s killer is disguised, but in contrast to Bava’s assailant, he (or she) does not wear a stocking and dons a glossy leather trench coat and leather gloves. According to Riederer, leather clothing became popular in the 20th century, but until the 1960s leather came only in natural brown colors. Tanneries started to tan leather with special acids, resulting in patent leather, a high gloss finish, in the 1960s (Riederer 1974). The black leather trench coat signified luxury and rebellion or ‘alter- native masculinity’. Moreover, the trench coat became a frequent attire in 1960s Italian westerns, often starring Clint Eastwood (Gallagher 2006, 200). Argento, who wrote the script for the Italo-western C’ERA UNA VOLTA IL WEST (Italy/USA1968, dir.: Sergio Leone,
ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST), was possibly inspired by the Italo-western’s trench coat fashion, and hence, he imagined a disguised killer wearing a patent leather cloak in his giallo filone. As also noticed previously, an altered appearance can be helpful for films, as it hides the killer’s identity and gender. That theory is perfectly appropriate for L’UCCELLO
DALLE PIUME DI CRISTALLO, because the murderers are Monica Ranieri and her husband Alberto. Alberto tries to stop Monica’s obsession of killing people during the night when Sam sees the disguised killer attacking Monica. The majority of the murders are com- mitted by Monica and thus, her covering is a superb device for deception and the un- expected plot twist, the so-called coup de théâtre. Beginning with L’UCCELLO DALLE PI-
UME DI CRISTALLO, the masked murderer became a regular component of the giallo, but the oftentimes peddled hypothesis that the typical giallo “killer is dressed head-to-toe in black; black overcoat, black leather gloves, and black Trilby hat” (Carter 2013, 126) is a cliché that is erroneous. There is additionally an underlying assumption by Shipka that “the killer […] would only be seen in quick shots wearing black clothing (usually leather) and gloves” (Shipka 2011, 71), which is inaccurate. It is true that gialli which
52 depict such stereotypical killers exist, but most of the giallo killers do not adhere to such a cliched wardrobe. The masked murderer features most prominently in the classic giallo canon, in films like SETTE ORCHIDEE MACCHIATE DI ROSSO, RIVELAZIONI DI UN MANIACO SESSUALE AL
CAPO DELLA SQUADRA MOBILEM (Italy 1972, dir.: Roberto Bianchi Montero, THE SLASHER),
I CORPI PRESENTANO TRACCE DI VIOLENZA CARNALE and LA MORTE CAMMINA CON I TACCHI
ALTI. The ‘classic giallo’ often shows only the killer’s gloves, as it is the case in Giuliano
Carnimeo’s PERCHÉ QUELLE STRANE GOCCE DI SANGUE SUL CORPO DI JENNIFER?, focusing just on the perpetrator’s yellow latex gloves. Paolo Cavara’s LA TARANTULA DAL VENTRE
NERO concentrates mainly on the latex gloves of the sexual maniac, and Umberto Lenzi made use of red gloves in GATTI ROSSI IN UN LABIRINTO DI VETRO, frequently incorporating point-of-view shots during attack scenes. Another example is Carlo Vanzina’s SOTTO
IL VESTITO NIENTE (Italy 1985, THE LAST SHOT), where a point-of-view shot shows the murderer’s black gloves holding a pair of scissors, the murder weapon.
The red-gloved killer in GATTI ROSSI IN UN LABIRINTO DI VETRO SOTTO IL VESTITO NIENTE’s black gloved maniac
RIVELAZIONI DI UN MANIACO SESSUALE AL CAPO DELLA SQUADRA is an uncommon Italian giallo film title, as it is the only film that includes the word maniac. “Serial murder is commonly perceived a distinctively and predominantly American phenomenon” (Hickey 2003, 419), although the verifiable history of serial killers began in Europe in the late Middle Ages and Renaissance period, creating the foundation to vampire and werewolf folk tales (419). Ellen Nerenberg notes that there is no term for serial killers in Italy, because Italians see it as a foreign anomaly, so when such a maniac strikes in Italy, the press denounces them as monsters, il mostro (Nerenberg 2001, 65). In 2000 Gorby conducted an international quantitative empirical study on serial killers (excluding America) between the years 1800 to 1995. He recorded 47 cases in the United Kingdom, but in Italy only three cases could be detected (Hickey 2003, 421).
53 The Italian State Prosecutor Lanzarini states that the press has addressed 24 murder- ers as monsters, like the Monster of Genoa’, ‘the Monster of Valpolcevra’, and ‘the Monster of Aosta’, to name just a few. The most well-known serial killer was Pietro Pacciani, the supposed ‘Monster of Florence’. Lanzarini claims that in contrast to the 24 monsters, not all can be classified as serial killers. Several of these alleged ‘mon- sters’ committed one homicide, whereas a real serial killer murders at regular intervals (Nerenberg 2001, 65-66).
The story of ‘the Monster of Florence’ was released as a giallo titled IL MOSTRO
DI FIRENZE (Italy 1986, dir.: Cesare Ferrario, THE MONSTER OF FLORENCE),20 but this semi-documentary giallo was not based on the proven giallo formula. Instead of a ra- zorblade or knife, the maniac murders with a handgun; it is not a whodunit (which is typical for the giallo); the face of the murderer is known; no amateur sleuth tries to solve the crime; and no sex scenes are included.21
Another form of disguise worn by killers in LA POLIZIA CHIEDE AIUTO, NUDE PER
L'ASSASSINO, BODY PUZZLE (Italy 1992, dir.: Lamberto Bava, BODY PUZZLE) is a leather motorcycle riding suit. The perpetrator in BODY PUZZLE only wears the leather gear in some scenes, whereas in the other films the disguise is worn by the killer throughout the entire film. The attacker in L’ASSASSINO HA RISERVATO NOVE POLTRONE, has a special costume, namely an old man’s mask with curly red hair, a black cloak and black gloves.
A similar mask covers the murderer’s face in Argento’s QUATTRO MOSCHE DI VELLUTO
GRIGIO. Koven has observed that many giallo audiences believe that a common trope of gialli is a woman dressed like a man, but the cross-gendered disguise is rather rare and was only applied by Argento in L’UCCELLO DALLE PIUME DI CRISTALLO and PROFONDO
ROSSO, and Riccardo Freda in L’OSSESSIONE CHE UCCIDE (Italy/France 1981, MURDER
OBSESSION) (M. Koven 2006, 102). Two gialli exist which depict a man dressed as a transvestite, both films were directed by Lamberto Bava, the son of Mario Bava. In LA
CASA CON LA SCALA NEL BUIO, Bruno, a music composer, rents a villa from his friend Tony
(Michele Soavi), who is at the end revealed as the cross-dressing killer. In LE FOTO DI
GIOIA, model Gloria (Serena Grandi) owns a model agency. Her mannequins are killed one by one, and finally the killer is exposed as her brother Tony (Vanni Corbelli),
20 An American version of “the Monster of Florence” was planned in 2012, starring George Clooney, but this project came to a standstill because of MGM’s massive debts. Four years prior, Tom Cruise acquired the film rights (Bettinger 2011). According to Sugarpulp’s website, the film was to start shooting in sum- mer 2018 (Sugarpulp 2017). 21 All together seven films, which can be classified as gialli, use the word ‘mostro’ for their Italian titles. 54 dressed as a transvestite with a blonde wig and necklace. He admits having committed all the murders, because he has always been in love with his sister, Gloria. Thus, incest can as well be a trigger for the sex-related crimes in the giallo, which is also evident in
NELLE PIEGHE DELLA CARNE (Italy/Spain 1970, dir.: Sergio Bergonzelli, IN THE FOLDS OF
THE FLESH). The film portrays the brother-sister love relationship between Falesse/Es- ter (Pier Angeli) and Colin (Emilio Caba), and although they discover only later that they are siblings, it does not prevent them from their continuing romantic relationship.
220.127.116.11. The Perpetrator’s Motive for Bloodshed
Generally, the attackers in the giallo commit their sordid crimes because of childhood traumas, sexual ambiguity, psychological problems or greed. In some cases the father of one of the characters is the killer, such as in PERCHÉ QUELLE STRANE GOCCE DI SANGUE
SUL CORPO DI JENNIFER?. Here, professor Isaacs (George Rigaud), the father of Sheila Heindricks (Annabella Incontrera), commits the murders (primarily on women), be- cause he holds them responsible for the homosexual inclination of his daughter. Simi- larly in Massimo Dallamano’s COSA AVETE FATTO A SOLANGE?, where the father of Solange Beauregard (Camille Keaton) revenges the death of his daughter, who died of an illegal abortion. Solange’s friends helped her to have the abortion after Solange had become pregnant while being a member of a secret college sex-club. Conse- quently, the girls are killed one by one by Solange’s father. Therefore, revenge can be another motive for the killer. Solange’s father murders the college girls brutally, some of them are even stabbed in the vagina with a butcher knife. This sort of killing became persistent, with the knife being adopted metaphorically as a phallic symbol. COSA AVETE
FATTO A SOLANGE? was the first part of the ‘Schoolgirls in Peril’ trilogy, a series of gialli which focused on the sexual escapades of young school- and college girls. The second part, LA POLIZIA CHIEDE AIUTO, was also directed by Massimo Dallamano and here, young girls are slaughtered, because they have worked for a prostitution ring fre- quented by high-ranking politicians. The third and last part of this trilogy is ENIGMA
ROSSO (Italy/Germany 1978, dir.: Alberto Negrin, RED RINGS OF FEAR). Some gialli, in particular LA POLIZIA CHIEDE AIUTO, reflect contemporary social and political issues in Italy, plus it addresses the transition of sexual mores and family structures, as the in- vestigating Commissioner Valentini (Mario Adorf), a single father raising his daughter
55 Patrizia (Roberta Paladini), uncovers that his own daughter worked as a call girl for the prostitution ring.
The giallo also addresses religious mores, depicting a priest as the killer. In CHI
L'HA VISTA MORIRE it is assumed that the killer might be a transvestite, but at the end it is the priest’s cassock which was misinterpreted as a woman’s dress. However, the murderer was an imposter and not a real priest. The priest, nevertheless, functions as the killer in NON SI SEVIZIA UN PAPERINO, as the young priest Don Alberto (Marc Paurel) kills young boys, trying to protect them from the modern and nefarious world, which becomes noticeable in the rural Apulian village. SETTE ORCHIDEE MACCHIATE DI ROSSO features a murderous priest too, Father Saunders (Renator Romano), who assaults his victims with knives, razorblades and a drill. Furthermore, he dons the disguise of a black cloak, hat and gloves, like the stereotypical giallo killer. At the end he is drowned by Marco (Antonio Sabato) in a swimming pool. “The ambiguity of gender with regard to the priest’s cassock also points to an ambiguity of gender with regard to priests themselves – they are born men, but cannot live ‘like men’, from the heteronormative context of Italian masculinity and machismo” (Koven 2006, 103). In SOLAMENTE NERO an assassin, wearing a pointed hat and black gloves, is killing people in Venice. At the end, the amateur detective Stefano (Lino Capolicchio), who is on visit in Venice, iden- tifies the murderer, who turns out to be his brother, priest Don Paolo (Craig Hill). Um- berto Lenzi’s LA SPIAGGIA DEL TERRORE, which is set in Florida, also makes use of a clerical killer, Reverend Bates (Lance LeGault), who being dressed in a motorcycle suit, slays adolescents, because they sell their soul and body during Spring Break. He, seeing himself as a guardian angel, does away with the sinners. Catholicism has played a dominant force in Italian culture and most of the giallo directors have been raised as Catholics. The question arises why gialli made use of the killer priest which was quite uncommon given the status of religion. Firstly, some films used impostors disguised as clerics, and here it can be argued that the prime aim was to mislead the audience. Secondly, in several films priests served as murderers, a convenient device to throw viewers off the scent of the perpetrator as in that time a cleric was an implau- sible suspect. Finally, the cases of sexual abuse in Italian churches began unveiling in the 1970s and therefore, giallo directors, who frequently defied the classic moral val- ues, have represented in their films contemporary socio-cultural issues, such as An- tionio Bido in SOLAMENTE NERO, claiming:
56 The killer priest amused me because it was a way of saying that not all priests are saints. In short, there are priests capable of committing murder. I don’t know but it’s possible. Certainly there have been priests who have violated boys and girls and things like that. In a certain sense I did it to be a little blasphemous. (O'Brien 2011, 262)
These aspects can help to understand why gialli employed priests as murderers. “Rep- resenting someone who should be above corruption as corrupt, serves to remind us that we are all human, and therefore we are all capable of sin – including Catholic priests” (265). Besides portraying disguised maniacs, there exist numerous gialli which include ‘normal’ killers too. “Considering how iconic the black gloves are, almost metonymic of the genre as a whole” (102), the number of gialli, depicting killers without any disguise, is relatively high. Most of the gialli erotici and thriller gialli include non-disguised mur- derers, who kill based on the same motives as their disguised counterparts, but here greed has a more important role, such as in CINQUE BAMBOLE PER LA LUNA D'AGOSTO. The victims in this film are murdered because of a profitable industrial paste which was developed by professor Farrell (William Berger). Whoever sells this formula will be rich, and this is the motivation for the killings. Structurally and narratively, this giallo resem- bles Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None (1939), as in the novel one victim after another is killed by a mysterious murderer, who is revealed at the end. Moreover, both, the novel and Bava’s film, take place on a remote, isolated island without any escape route. Greed is often the incentive for driving characters insane, such as in the giallo erotico IL DOLCE CORPO DI DEBORAH, where Deborah’s husband Marcel (Jean Sorel) tries to drive his wife Deborah (Carroll Baker) crazy, and finally attempts to kill her, because he wants to inherit her money. Sorel and Baker acted together in another thriller-giallo, PARANOIA (Italy/France 1970, dir.: Umberto Lenzi, A QUIET PLACE TO KILL). Here the main narrative ingredients are greed and foolishness. In both movies, sunny boy Sorel – the giallo-esque Alain Delon type – survives as a crook, using his sex appeal to get by and away with crime. The corpus of thriller-gialli and gialli erotici that focus on greed and driving characters insane is extensive, and this sort of filone was primarily produced from 1968 to 1975. Some important representatives are ORGASMO,
COSÌ DOLCE... COSÌ PERVERSA, LA VOLPE DALLA CODA DI VELLUTO (Italy/Spain 1971, dir.:
José Maria Forqué, IN THE EYE OF THE HURRICANE), LO STRANO VIZIO DELLA SIGNORA
WARDH, TUTTI I COLORI DEL BUIO, L'UOMO SENZA MEMORIA and SPASMO. It is noticeable
57 that the majority of them were directed by Umberto Lenzi and Sergio Martino, whereas Dario Argento concentrated on the black-gloved killers at that time.
Another type of criminal is portrayed in TUTTI I COLORI DEL BUIO, with a coven of murderers. Jane’s (Edwige Fenech) fragile character and her hallucinations are central in this film, but the audience does not know whether fiction or reality is depicted. In
SHORT NIGHT OF GLASS DOLLS, a satanic sex cult kidnaps, tortures and finally kills beau- tiful, young women. According to Howarth this film belongs not really to the giallo canon, because of its “muddled mess” (Howarth, So Deadly So Perverse Vol. 1 1963- 1973 2015, 38). It also sticks out, because of its location of Prague, being under Com- munist power at that time. The film starts with the American journalist, Gregory Moore (Jean Sorel), who is brought into a Czechoslovakian morgue. The doctors assume him to be dead, but one of them remains skeptical as rigor mortis has not set in. Gregory cannot move his body, but he is aware of what is going on. He begins recalling how he ended up in a morgue and remembers that he had started to investigate the disappear- ance of his girlfriend Mira (Barbara Bach). Lado used numerous flashbacks for Greg- ory’s recollections, which is a typical giallo trait, but the film has an untypical giallo ending: Gregory is killed secretly by one of the doctors, belonging to the secret sex cult Club 99. The members of this sect are not caught nor punished, which is another de- viation from traditional giallo narration. A different sex cult is presented in PERCHÉ
QUELLE STRANE GOCCE DI SANGUE SUL CORPO DI JENNIFER?, but this polygamous sect has less significance, as Jennifer (Edwige Fenech) just remembers her tormented ex-mar- riage with the leader of the sect, who had sex with other sect members. Director Giuli- ano Carnimeo used flashbacks for the depiction of Jennifer’s former sexual misery. A further intriguing form of a murderer is the character of Silvia Hickerman in IL PROFUMO
DELLA SIGNORA IN NERO, as she just imagines all the killings. The ending, however, of IL
PROFUMO DELLA SIGNORA IN NERO is quite obscure, showing scenes of cannibalism and Silvia being a member of a satanic cult. The film is quite difficult to read as a typical giallo, because of its bizarre ending and fictitious killings, but possibly this was the intention of director Francesco Barilli:
In the DVD special feature interview Barilli reveals that the film was a composite of two scripts he had been working on, one dealing with a woman who goes insane, the other with cannibalism. When he couldn’t get a producer to back the latter he decided to combine them, and we get a film which is ostensibly a psychological thriller which hits a wall and becomes something entirely else for the final few minutes. Barilli also describes the film in a way which suggests a possible political/metaphorical/philosophical reading: he said the idea for film was not to make a gut crunching cannibal/zombie film but to depict “a world that chooses you, stalks you, makes you crazy and then eats you.” Of course, there is not
58 enough in the film to suggest such a symptomatic reading, but it lets the viewer know that Barilli does not see working in a popular filoni as a limitation. (Totaro 2011)
The offenders and characters’ delinquency in the giallo occupy a wide spectrum. Mur- der is not the only crime depicted, but also:
transgressions such as blackmail (QUATTRO MOSCHE DI VELLUTO GRIGIO)
drugs (SEI DONNE PER L’ASSASSINO)
alcoholism (GIORNATA NERA PER L'ARIETE, Italy 1971, dir.: Luigi Bazzoni, THE
cruelty to animals (NELLE PIEGHE DELLA CARNE)
adultery (COSA AVETE FATTO A SOLANGE?)
teen pregnancy (COSA AVETE FATTO A SOLANGE?)
incest (NELLE PIEGHE DELLA CARNE)
prostitution (GLI OCCHI FREDDI DELLA PAURA, Italy/Spain 1971, dir.: Enzo G. Cas-
tellari, COLD EYES OF FEAR)
pederasty (MIO CARO ASSASSINO, Italy/Spain 1972, dir.: Tonino Valerii, MY DEAR
KILLER) (M. Koven 2006, 76-72).
18.104.22.168. Psychoanalytical Approach to Giallo Killers
Finally, it is crucial to point out that either the police, psychologists, or the killer them- selves explain the motive for murder at the end of the film. Especially gialli which were produced up to 1975 use this form of motive analysis, the meta-gialli, being produced in the 1980s and 1990s, and the contemporary neo-gialli omit it. Nevertheless, the giallo did not invent the psychoanalytic theorization of the murderer, but used it repeat- edly. Bava’s first gialli did not employ this narrative component, but Argento’s L’UC-
CELLO DALLE PIUME DI CRISTALLO includes the psychological explanation perfectly. At the end of the film psychiatrist Dr. Renoldi (Giovanni Di Benedetto) reveals why Monica Ranieri committed the sordid crimes:
Ten years ago, Monica Ranieri, who was born with paranoid tendencies, was brutally at- tacked and suffered a severe trauma. Nevertheless, she recovered sufficiently to return to a normal life. Her mental disturbance remained dormant for ten years until she came across a painting that depicted the horrible scene of which she had been the protagonist. Her latent madness came to life, violent and irresistible. Strangely, she did not identify herself with the victim, but with her attacker. In order to explain the behavior of her husband, who at- tempted murder on various occasions to protect his wife, we must assume that he suffered from an induced psychosis. That is, he was influenced by his paranoid wife to the point of becoming homicidally psychotic himself. (Argento 1970, 1:34:01-1:34:50)
59 Hitchcock’s PSYCHO incorporates a scene presenting psychoanalysis at the end of the movie, showing Norman Bates in custody and the audience hears Bates’ second char- acters’ voice, his mother’s, explaining why he perpetrated such a dreadful murder. Ar- gento, a great admirer of Hitchcock, borrowed from Hitchcock, and applied it in several movies. The killer in PROFONDO ROSSO, Carlo’s mother Marta (Clara Calamai), dis- closes at the end why she assassinated Carlo’s father (a scene which is shown at the beginning of the film, but the attacker is not visible). A myriad of giallo killers experience a trauma in their youth, and this is repeat- edly exploited as the motive for their killing spree. Plus, it is sometimes used as a preposterous excuse, such as in LO SQUARTATORE DI NEW YORK, where Peter (Andrea Occhipinti) mutilates and murders innocent women, because his daughter has an in- curable disease. Professor Franz (John Richardson), the killer in I CORPI PRESENTANO
TRACCE DI VIOLENZA CARNALE, uses the death of his brother as an apology for his mur- derous behavior. His brother fell from a cliff while attempting to save a doll from the same fate. Since then, Franz sees women as dolls, and amputates limbs and heads from his female students who start blackmailing him when they found out about his brother’s death and Franz’ mental illness. Shipka proposes that real-life events in Italy, connected with the slaying of women who had been cut into bits, had a direct impact on Martino’s I CORPI PRESENTANO TRACCE DI VIOLENZA CARNALE (Shipka 2011, 93). Dolls in general play a vital role in gialli. This is evident in SPASMO, as not only the title se- quence portrays dolls, but also both main protagonists, Christian (Robert Hoffmann) and his brother Fritz (Ivan Rassimov) are obsessed with puppets. Fritz tries to drive his brother Christian insane, because both stand to inherit a vast fortune, making greed a further compelling motive for murder.
An untypical method of psychoanalysis is portrayed in Bava’s IL ROSSO SEGNO
DELLA FOLLIA. After its melancholic and artistic title sequence the first murder is taking place in a train compartment. After the homicide, the undisguised killer introduces him- self as John Harrington (Stephen Forsyth), a 30-year-old fashion designer. He admits that he suffers from paranoia, claiming: “I am completely mad. The realization at which annoyed me at first, but now is amusing to me. Nobody suspects that I am a madman, a dangerous murderer. Not Mildred, my wife, nor the employees of my fashion center, nor, of course, my customers” (Il rosso segno della follia, 06:35-07:15). Thus, Harring- ton has the self-awareness to be a lunatic and the psychoanalysis on himself is unique
60 in the giallo. Moreover, for this to be presented at the beginning of a film is also un- common. Later in the movie Harrington admits having killed his mother, using this in- cident as a stimulus for further killings. According to Michel Foucault, Harrington would be the ideal of a ‘dangerous individual’, referring to people with “moral insanity, instinc- tive insanity, and degeneration” (Elden 2016, 67). Foucault coined this term in 1976, indicating that madness leads to monstrous crimes which are often contrary to nature and are committed without cause (67). The disguised or non-disguised maniacs suffer mostly from childhood traumas, sexual frustration, or other events which traumatize them. A horrific tragedy is some- times portrayed in the opening act, such as the brutal stabbing of Carlos’ father in
PROFONDO ROSSO, or the death of Michael Stanford’s (Stefano Patrizi) father in L’OS-
SESSIONE CHE UCCIDE. Several films depict killers who slaughtered their mothers or fa- thers. In NON HO SONNO, the killer, Lorenzo (Roberto Zibetti), kills the mother of his best friend Giacom, as an adolescent. Later as an adult, Giacomo only realizes this barbaric act when he uncovers the killer’s identity. The audience sees Giacomo witnessing the murder as a teenager in flashbacks, the vicious teenage-killer sticks a flute violently in his mother’s mouth. A common technique for the depiction of the killer’s traumatic past are flashbacks, which are present in nearly every giallo.
Numerous gialli, as for instance in LO STRANO VIZIO DELLA SIGNORA WARDH and
NELLE PIEGHE DELLA CARNE, employ Freudian quotes which is presented at the begin- ning of both of these films. LO STRANO VIZIO DELLA SIGNORA WARDH starts with a scene where a man is slaughtering a prostitute. After that, a quote from Sigmund Freud is displayed on screen: “The very emphasis of the commandment: Thou shalt not kill, makes it certain that we are descended from an endlessly long chain of generations of murderers, whose love of murder was in their blood as it is perhaps also in ours” (Lo Strano vizio della Signora Wardh, 0:02:01). Although the ‘black-gloved and black disguised perpetrator’ is mostly seen as the classic giallo killer, it is important to note that a large number of gialli have non- disguised murderers. The traumatic past of the frequently fetishistic killer is a common ingredient, but not a must, as well as the profiling of the killer, which sometimes occurs. In terms of gender, the majority of the killings are committed by men, but Argento in- troduced female killers too, and this formula was even adopted by other directors who tried to imitate his œuvre. Bava was the first to have a blade wielding maniac in his masterpiece SEI DONNE PER L’ASSASSINO, but “where Bava’s gialli always had an air of
61 quaintness about them, Argento’s were cool, modern and hip. Both employed graphic violence, but Bava’s was more theatrical and over-the-top, while Argento’s seemed all too real.[…] [Argento] goes for the straight kill” (Shipka 2011, 84). However, it is worth noting that Argento’s first gialli depicted killings, but they were not soaked in gore. Ar- gento’s ‘Animal trilogy’ was an international and domestic success, but it was also a turning point for Argento, claiming: “It occurred to me that I should change my style around 1972. If I brought the horror thriller back into style, I now wanted to distance myself from it. Everywhere I looked there were pale imitations of my work with catch- penny titles that evoked my success” (88). Although Argento tried to avoid making another typical giallo, he produced PROFONDO ROSSO in 1975, which is very similar to a conventional giallo, and became a great success. Argento concentrated on the giallo- fantastico from 1975 until 1982, but returned with the meta-giallo TENEBRE IN 1982, thereby creating another giallo with an emblematic killer.
Murders in the giallo are primarily committed with knives. This has been observed by Koven, who claims that: “Most victims in these films are stabbed, slashed, or chopped up, and of course, the single most popular weapon for this purpose is a knife – often a large kitchen knife […] [or the] switchblade knife” (Koven 2006, 62). Gialli have em- ployed all kinds of sharp instruments, such as razors, scalpels and letter openers, but the fetishistic depiction of these utensils was firstly exploited by Argento who used the visceral impact of these implements for the morbid proclivities of the killer. Argento introduced phallic objects, such as razors and knives, which are used to penetrate the victim’s flesh. This was first seen in L'UCCELLO DALLE PIUME DI CRISTALLO, and here the razor’s substitution for the phallus is obvious in the murders. One of the victims, for instance, is slashed with a large knife, but before committing this act, the killer rips the girl’s blouse and underpants to shreds and lacerates her skin. One of the most morbid stabbings are genital mutilations and lacerations with knives. In COSA AVETE FATTO A
SOLANGE?, the perpetrator slaughters a young college student while penetrating her vulva with a knife. A similar scene is on offer in LE FOTO DI GIOIA, but here the woman’s sex organs are pierced with a glowstick. Koven also points out that murders are occasionally committed with decorative weapons, “that is, weapons found at the scene, rather than brought to the murder site
62 premeditatedly, which are intended as part of the diegetic décor” (62). Thus, a victim is sometimes dispensed with a lance or a spear, stabbed with an ornate or an antique spiked glove, such as in SEI DONNE PER L'ASSASSINO. Bava’s employment of this glove might be a concealed critique towards the bourgeoisie in the film, which have a collec- tion of suits of armor and other utensils of war and murder. “Bava is really returning this objet d’art to its original usage” (63).
An electric drill is the weapon of choice in MIO CARO ASSASSINO and SETTE OR-
CHIDEE MACCHIATE DI ROSSO; a chainsaw is used by George (Bruno Corazzari) when he is trying to kill the female protagonist Sara (Senta Berger). In LA BESTIA UCCIDE A SANGUE
FREDDO, the disguised assassin primarily murders women in an institution for affluent women, using axes and hatchets for his horrific deeds. An ice pick is chosen for one killing in MORIRAI A MEZZANOTTE (Italy 1986, dir.: Lamberto Bava, MIDNIGHT KILLER), a tool which later became a crucial murder weapon in an American erotic thriller, which is analyzed later. Musical instruments can be utilized for bloodshed too, such as a clarinet, which is put in use for the stabbing of one victim in Argento’s NON HO SONNO.
In NON HO SONNO Argento includes almost every type of barbaric murders which had been previously seen in gialli.22 “The film operates like a checklist: in addition to death by musical instrument and fountain pen, people are slashed with a knife, chopped with an axe, hanged, bashed fatally into a wall, drowned, and shot” (63). In general, giallo murderers do not repeat a murder, and only seldomly will a killer adopt the same killing method for all crimes. This was firstly presented in SEI DONNE PER L'ASSASSINO, as each victim is murdered individually and inventively. In addition to tools and knives, strangulations are widespread in this filone. The most frequent method of strangulation is done with bare hands, and the audience ob- serves the killer choking his victims, often laced in black leather gloves. Another form of strangulation is the use of scarfs, telephone cords, wires and garrote wires. Drown- ing features, as in SEI DONNE PER L'ASSASSINO, has become a common form of killing, where often a disguised or non-disguised maniac drowns (usually) women in their bath- tubs. Before the drowning, the women are often depicted naked in their bathroom, and directors sometimes offer close-ups of their nudity, exhibiting attractive bodies. These women are brutally attacked by the perpetrator in their home, which is another vital characteristic of the giallo – the murder being committed in an immediate and familiar
22 NON HO SONNO (2001) is a neo-giallo and over the last twenty five years the giallo trend had diminished immensely. In the 1980s some gialli were produced, but in the 1990s, such productions were very lim- ited. 63 environment. In Antonio Bido’s IL GATTO DAGLI OCCHI DI GIADA, an old man is drowned in his bathtub, and according to Koven, the film “demonstrates a certain self-awareness of the codes and conventions by denying the more standard beautiful naked woman drowned in the bath” (64).23 The aforementioned killing methods are the most ordinary for the gialli. There are others, but these are rare, such as burning and poisoning. While murders involving poison are common in the literary giallo, it is scarce in the cinematic realm. The clas- sical Agatha Christie murder – the consumption of a noxious drink – appears only in one film, Umberto Lenzi’s ORGASMO. However, a few other methods of poisoning are employed in gialli. In LA TARANTULA DAL VENTRE NERO the killer paralyzes his victims with venom before eviscerating them. Another way of poisoning is using cyanide baths, where the murderer kills their victim and dissolves their bodies, as in NELLE PIEGHE
DELLA CARNE (Koven 2006, 64-65).
No giallo employed such a wide variety of killing methods as Mario Bava’s REA-
ZIONE A CATENA.24 The film raised the bar, using more gore than any other giallo. Here the women are presented as strong characters, which is a departure from other gialli, where women are reduced to being mere objects of lust. “Bava recognizes women’s ability to be victim and victimizer. He sees their potential to be stronger than that of males. And, most importantly he appreciates the irony in their relationship with the male characters. […] Bava refuses to relegate his female characters solely to the role of victim” (Howarth, So Deadly So Perverse Vol. 1 1963-1973 2015, 170). Moreover, Bava created extremely innovative ways of shedding blood and the murderous aims diverge from other films of this genre. While other gialli tend to display a disguised, perverse maniac, the focus of REAZIONE A CATENA is greed, and the characters’ capa- bility to eliminate others due to avarice. The film starts with the killing of an elder coun- tess, but the assassin – her husband – will soon be executed by another character. Howarth even claims that the convoluted screenplay could be read as a modern ver- sion of Macbeth: “Like Shakespeare’s play, Bava’s film deals with a weak-willed hus- band who is compelled to commit murder in an attempt to lay claim to a title. Once
23 Scheinpflug notes, that IL GATTO DAGLI OCCHI DI GIADA is challenging to analyze as Antonio Bido ad- mitted in an interview. His intention was to direct a movie about the Italian Vergangenheitsbewältigung – a process of coming to terms with the Holocaust – but the producers who backed that project, de- manded Bido frame his story as a conventional giallo, as this form of filone was popular. The film does not address the typical traits of the killer’s gender issues, such as impotence or transsexuality, nor does it portray the slashings of attractive, half-naked women (Scheinpflug 2014, 113-114). 24 This giallo is pivotal when analyzing American horror movies as it set rules which began to be imple- mented in early slasher films. 64 Alberto’s hands become stained with blood […], he becomes more assertive and en- ters into the spirit of proceedings with greater enthusiasm” (170). Bava incorporated some typical giallo traits, such as a peeping Tom who observes adolescents, a red telephone, flashbacks and leather gloves. He also added inventive methods of murder, such as choking, a machete being dug into a head, a stabbing with a gaff, a spear being poked through a couple having sex, a decapitation, and finally a shot gun is used accidentally by children to shoot their parents at the end of the film. REAZIONE A CATENA can be regarded as the catalyst for future gialli and horror films which began depicting more carnage and a wider variety of killing methods.
2.3.7. The Victim’s Demise
Female victims, such as school girls, college girls, prostitutes and models are generally the victims of this filone, but the assumption that primarely women suffer in the giallo is a fallacy. Koven’s statement that “the giallo is fairly egalitarian in its choice of victims: the vast majority of the films surveyed feature killings of both men and women in pretty equal measure” (Koven 2006, 66) is however problematic. Although male victims doubtlessly exist, the number of female victims is evidently higher in the giallo. It would be wrong to claim that most of the killers are misogynistic, as sometimes females act as murderers, but it is more appropriate that the perpetrators are misanthropic person- alities. Additional to their premeditated killings, the giallo murderer tries to eliminate the amateur sleuth who witnesses the initial murder. The attack on random characters, who are at the wrong place at the wrong time, is uncommon in the giallo, but became more frequent in the horror genre as here, the maniacs kill whoever gets in their way.
The atrocity against women had its genesis in SEI DONNE PER L'ASSASSINO. Soon, other directors implemented the depiction of half-naked female characters and inter- laced it with forceful brutality, which the perpetrator employed, against the d’amsels in distress’. Unfaithful women are a magnet for fierce attacks in RIVELAZIONI DI UN MANIACO
SESSUALE AL CAPO DELLA SQUADRA MOBILEM, the ‘half-moon killer’ in Lenzi’s SETTE OR-
CHIDEE MACCHIATE DI ROSSO also attacks only women, and the perpetrator in LA BESTIA
UCCIDE A SANGUE FREDDO savagely kills rich women by smashing a morning star on their heads.
The killer slams a morning star on the head of a victim in LA BESTIA Women are the killer’s main target in LA BESTIA UCCIDE A SANGUE UCCIDE A SANGUE FREDDO FREDDO
In NON SI SEVIZIA UN PAPERINO, Lucio Fulci implemented a merciless, physical assault of four Italian workers who beat the reclusive Maciara (Florinda Bolkan) to death as they suspect her to have killed some boys. In this attack – which lasts for almost four minutes – the audience is confronted with ferocious violence against women. Maciara is punched in her face and hit with chains, resulting in multiple lacerations to her ab- domen, feet and face. Fulci, notorious for depicting detailed gore, showcases his talent in his depiction of Maciara’s and the killer’s, Don Alberto’s, death. His plummeting off the cliff is rendered in slow motion, merged with Don Alberto’s flashback and his reve- lation why he had murdered the innocent boys. The physical trauma to Don Alberto’s head is visible, smashing several times against rocks for one and a half minutes.
Maciara brutally attacked Don Alberto’s head deformed
Besides showing detailed images of Maciara’s and Don Alberto’s demise, the primary murder victims in this film are children. However, Don Alberto’s aim is to protect the boys’ innocence and not to molest them. The depiction of violence against men and significantly women became ubiquitous, beginning in the early 1970s, especially with
Bava’s REAZIONE A CATENA. For instance, the mutilation of female bodies and faces became ordinary in the giallo and the so-called ‘Glasgow smile’ – a cut from the corners
66 of a victim’s mouth up to the ears – was occasionally on display, e.g. in Dario Argento’s
GIALLO.25 Furthermore, gialli started to showcase corpses and mutilated bodies, like a hacked to death victim being examined in the morgue in LA POLIZIA CHIEDE AIUTO. Bi- zarre slayings can be detected in GIALLO A VENEZIA. The film starts immediately with a detailed stabbing, and after forty minutes another victim, a prostitute, is jabbed with scissors in her crotch. The misogynistic killer rams the scissors repeatedly into her genitalia. However, the perpetrator not only murders women, but also douses petrol over a male victim whom he sets on fire. The audience is exposed to the horrific scene of a man burning and crying of pain, but the most repulsive scene follows soon after the arson attack, where a woman’s leg is severed with a saw while she is fully con- scious. These repugnant scenes are some of the most offensive in the giallo canon, and were predominantly an element of the exploitation gialli, which were produced from
1975 to 1982, until Argento’s TENEBRE set a new standard, and the meta-giallo was born.
A prostitute is stabbed with scissors (GIALLO A VENEZIA) The killer is cutting a leg of a victim (GIALLO A VENEZIA)
2.3.8. Seduction and Submission all'italiana: Il Giallo Erotico 26
Starting with SEI DONNE PER L'ASSASSINO, a liberal attitude towards sexuality can be frequently observed and hence, is a staple ingredient of the giallo recipe. Although there is no strong sense of sexuality in SEI DONNE PER L'ASSASSINO, beautiful young models saunter around a secluded design studio in alluring and revealing dresses.
25 One of the first victims whose body was mutilated, her breasts slashed, and her face marked with a ‘Glasgow smile’ was Elisabeth Short in Los Angeles in 1947. The ‘Black Dahlia’ case was highly prom- ulgated because of the deaths of several women in Los Angeles. The identity of the killer was never discovered. 26 This chapter was penned by the writer of this dissertation and was published as an essay in the pub- lication Eroticism in Films and Video Games (2019). 67 Female sexual emancipation in Italy started in 1958, and an emancipation process also became visible in Italian films (Bini 2011, 56-61). Female independence made its way into film narratives and was particularly evident in gialli. Chaste women are a rare com- modity in gialli, and sexualized female characters populate the giallo landscape. The first gialli to display half-naked women in sexy attire included LIBIDO (Italy 1965, dir.:
Ernesto Gastaldi, LIBIDO), COL CUORE IN GOLA (Italy/France 1967, dir.: Tinto Brass,
DEADLY SWEET) and LA MORTE HA FATTO L'UOVO (Italy/France 1968, dir.: Giulio Questi,
DEATH LAID AN EGG), but here the major focus is on the thriller plot and not on eroticism.
LA MORTE HA FATTO L'UOVO can be seen as the first attempt to portray a sexual deviant (Jean-Louis Trintignant), with a taste for sadomasochism and macabre fantasies. The character enjoys pretending to kill women during sexual encounters. The audience witnesses the fake killings, but no nudity is displayed.
The sexual revolution of the 1960s is evident in Romolo Guerrieri's giallo IL
DOLCE CORPO DI DEBORAH. Here, another significant component was added: visible na- kedness. According to Tentori and Bruschini, authors of Italian Giallo Movies (2013),
IL DOLCE CORPO DI DEBORAH can be categorized as a psycho-giallo (Tentori und Bruschini 2013, Kindle), but it could be argued that the category giallo erotico would be more suitable. IL DOLCE CORPO DI DEBORAH starts with a scene that later influenced
Brian De Palma's mystery thriller DRESSED TO KILL (USA 1980).The film begins with a shower scene where two lovers, Marcel (Jean Sorel) and Deborah (Carroll Baker), are having sex and this act is captured in sensual close-ups. In a subsequent scene, we see the two lovers at a lap dance bar, observing a beautiful erotic dancer who is un- dressing to the assembled audience in a sexually alluring way, stretching herself into seductive poses. She does not only entertain and titillate the male patrons but also Deborah whose enjoyment is visible by the look on her face and the focus of her gaze. Another scene shows Deborah lying naked on a bed, her buttocks completely exposed for almost one minute before she has sexual intercourse. Moreover, the movie poster that advertised the film already hints at what kind of movie the audience might expect, as Deborah's naked body appears on the Italian and German movie posters.
IL DOLCE CORPO DI DEBORAH was the impetus for future erotic gialli and protago- nist Jean Sorel frequently appears as the male ‘Adonis’ playing the role of a desirable and sexually driven hero, and sometimes villain. In IL DOLCE CORPO DI DEBORAH, his intention is to kill his wife Deborah, but in UNA SULL'ALTRA, directed by Lucio Fulci, Sorel acts as "the smug George, seamlessly moving from untrustworthy playboy to hero-in-
68 distress" (Howarth, So Deadly So Perverse Vol. 1 1963-1973 2015, 105). UNA SULL'AL-
TRA includes several erotic elements which had an impact on future gialli. One of these elements is a photo shoot of a model lying naked, depicted as an object of desire.27
Similar representations are a feature in PERCHE QUELLE STRAN GOCCE DI SANGUE SUL
CORPO DI JENNIFER? and NUDE PER L'ASSASSINO.
Photo shoot scene in UNA SULL'ALTRA
Another prominent feature is Fulci's use of striptease bars in UNA SULL'ALTRA. Fulci shot the entire film in San Francisco between December 1968 and January 1969 and used the then famous Varni's Roaring Twenties strip bar as one of his primary locations. Fulci's representation of the go-go club and its seductive dancers is a key element in
UNA SULL'ALTRA. Most notably, no previous giallo had depicted sexual intercourse in as much detail as UNA SULL'ALTRA, as the sex scene lasts for three minutes, starting with an explicit kissing scene, moving on to implied oral sex and leading to lovemaking and the depiction of a climax. Moreover, the film openly addresses female homosexuality, and this theme is a crucial component of countless later gialli. Although the lesbian scene is not portrayed graphically, the audience can imagine the desire of the two women.
On the one hand, UNA SULL'ALTRA is still hailed a solid "thriller with a few morbid touches"28 (Brett 2008). On the other hand, it is also acknowledged that the film devi- ated from the typical thriller formula with its introduction of overt sexual elements: "Those upset with the lack of gore should be informed that the film makes up for it with
27 This scene was surely influenced by Michelangelo Antonioni's BLOW-UP, released three years earlier. See Jörg Helbig's article in Eroticism in Films and Video Games (2019). 28 The film was advertised with the tagline "Questo film inizia dove Hitchcock finisce" (This film begins where Hitchcock ends) (Bartolini 2017: 305).
69 nudity" (Brett 2008). In Fulci's second erotic giallo, UNA LUCERTOLA CON LA PELLE DI
DONNA (Italy/Spain/France 1971, A LIZARD IN A WOMAN'S SKIN), the eroticism was al- ready openly emphasized in the tagline "An erotic nightmare".29 In the early 1970s, the giallo boom became even more palpable due to some highbrow gialli, such as Dario Argento's L'UCCELLO DALLE PIUME DI CRISTALLO and Mario
Bava's IL ROSSO SEGNO DELLA FOLLIA. It is, however, noteworthy that neither Bava nor
Argento included overt sex scenes in their movies. In Bava's SEI DONNE PER L'ASSAS-
SINO, the audience can see scantily-clad models, but no other erotic content is dis- played, and in Argento's masterpieces the element of sexual titillation is almost absent. The ingredient of sex became a crucial factor within the giallo filone, and some directors, such as Sergio Martino and Aldo Lado started to focus specifically on the erotic in their films. Martino concentrated on the detailed depiction of sexual inter- course, lesbian scenes, seduction and rape. In 1971 he cast Algerian beauty Edwige
Fenech to star as Julie Wardh in his giallo erotico LO STRANO VIZIO DELLA SIGNORA
WARDH. Fenech had celebrated her giallo debut in TOP SENSATION (Italy 1969, dir.: Ot- tavio Alessi, TOP SENSATION)30, praised by Troy Howarth as "one of the all-time great sexy gialli" (Howarth, So Deadly So Perverse Vol. 1 1963-1973 2015, 112).
Edwige Fenech (kneeling) in TOP SENSATION
In LO STRANO VIZIO DELLA SIGNORA WARDH, Fenech could live up to the claim of being 'the giallo queen' and, according to Douglas Brode, "the most fascinating onscreen icon of eroticism since Bardot" (Brode 2016, Kindle). LO STRANO VIZIO DELLA SIGNORA
WARDH starts with a murder of a man slaughtering a prostitute. Mikael Sevastakis notes that "the film opens with the 'Vienna Slasher' stalking prostitutes and butchering them
29 https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0067361/taglines?ref_=tt_stry_tg 30 Previously, Fenech had already starred in several German sexploitation films as well as in the Ger- man-Italian coproduction I PECCATI DI MADAME BOVARY (Germany/Italy 1969, dir.: Hans Schott- Schöbinger, DIE NACKTE BOVARY).
70 for sexual gratification, his blade replacing his phallus as an instrument of pleas- ure/pain, approximating Jean's brutality toward Julie by slashing her body with broken glass to achieve orgasm" (Sevastakis 2016, 27). This is one of the film's most memo- rable scenes, as Julie (Fenech) recalls her sadomasochistic relationship with Jean (Ivan Rassimov) several times and this memory is relived through flashbacks. In one of these flashbacks, Julie remembers a torturous game of brutal lovemaking on a bed of broken glass. Hence, this scene conveys an impression that Jean is raping Julie and during this horrific act she finds pleasure in her molestation. This feeling intensifies while watching this two-minute assault, as at the beginning Julie is shivering and her fear is visible, but after the shattering of the glass, Julie's agony seems to vanish, alt- hough we can see now graphic pain, because the splinters of glass cut her skin while they are having sex. In another sequence, Julie and George (George Hilton) are en- joying some intimacy and both are displayed completely naked on a sofa while a peep- ing Tom (Jean) is secretly observing them having intercourse.
Julie and George copulating
Compared to many other gialli, Martino's LO STRANO VIZIO DELLA SIGNORA WARDH con- centrates more on eroticism, and the titillating nudity became one of the director's trademarks.31 Martino's penchant for nudity and arousal featured in future gialli is pal- pable, such as in TUTTI I COLORI DEL BUIO, IL TUO VIZIO È UNA STANZA CHIUSA E SOLO IO NE
HO LA CHIAVE and I CORPI PRESENTANO TRACCE DI VIOLENZA CARNALE – almost all of them starring Edwige Fenech.
TUTTI I COLORI DEL BUIO concentrates on a sexually driven sect and a disguised killer is not present. IL TUO VIZIO È UNA STANZA CHIUSA E SOLO IO NE HO LA CHIAVE, on the
31 In this film the influence of Antonioni's BLOW-UP is apparent: Martino copies the famous scene where two young women (a blonde and a brunette) are playfully wrestling on the floor, tearing off each other's clothes.
71 other hand, is a combination of a giallo suspense-thriller and a giallo erotico. Martino focusses on lesbian scenes where Floriana (Edwige Fenech) and Irina (Anita Strind- berg) have sex. I CORPI PRESENTANO TRACCE DI VIOLENZA CARNALE, which has been de- scribed in a review as "a window into the reality of sexual violence" (Welton 2014), might well have influenced the American slasher movies, as young and beautiful fe- male college students are slayed and strangled by a maniac wearing a ski mask. Edwige Fenech acted in numerous Martino productions, and her onscreen lech- ery became one of her hallmarks, which Normanton describes as "Licentious erotica […] was prevalent in Italian cinema at this time […] [and] Eurocult actress Edwige Fenech […] was no stranger to sex romps and the gialli of the period" (Normanton 2012, 461). By the mid-seventies the production quality of gialli had begun to diminish. The erotic aspects in gialli began to change and eroticism became more violent and gro- tesque. This transition was evident in Andrea Bianchi's NUDE PER L'ASSASSINO, with Edwige Fenech in the leading role. The film starts with an abortion performed by Dr. Castelli (Gianni Airo). In a later scene, the doctor is murdered by someone who is disguised in leather motorcycle gear, and the killer cuts off Castelli's penis. The film also includes a sex scene between two women, showing how Gisela (Giuliana Cec- chini) smacks Lucia (Femi Benussi) several times in her face while having sex and calling her a slut. Lucia is killed by the disguised attacker a short time later. There are additionally two extended sex scenes between Magda (Edwige Fenech) and her boy- friend Carlo (Nino Castelnuovo), who fulfilling the role of playboy, seduces several other women. In the final scene, Carlo announces his intention to penetrate Magda anally. The film ends with this scene. Bianchi's film was one of the first soft-core gialli, as it featured rougher sex-scenes and perversity. Two other notable examples of the giallo erotico, which merge softcore with
(borderline) hardcore elements, are LA SORELLA DI URSULA and GIALLO A VENEZIA. LA
SORELLA DI URSULA is a giallo which includes scenes of rather explicit oral sex, mastur- bation, lesbianism, sexual intercourse and genital mutilation. One of the wildest sex scenes is filmed from a high-angle shot which foreshadows the first sex scene in Paul
Verhoeven's movie BASIC INSTINCT (France/USA/UK 1992), where Catherine Tramell
(Sharon Stone) kills her victim with an ice pick. GIALLO A VENEZIA includes a scene showing a man masturbating in a sex-cinema as he watches two lovers make out. His erect penis is visible for several seconds.
72 GIALLO A VENEZIA is a more depraved giallo, depicting multiple scenes of sex, gore, rape, torture and lust. As with many gialli, the director focuses more on style over content, filling the screen with depraved sexual violence, voyeurism and misogyny. The film adheres to only a few standard gialli tropes, such as flashbacks, graphic mur- der and telephone harassment, plus it shocks the audience with its brutality, for in- stance when the killer cuts a leg off a woman while she is fully conscious.32 In one of the last shots, the physical and psychic violence are portrayed par excellence as we see Fabio (Gianni Dei) watching from a safe distance as his girlfriend Flavia (Leonora Flavi) is raped by two construction workers. Fabio has made his wife offer herself to the workmen and is sexually gratified as he watches his wife being raped multiple times on a derelict Venetian dock. Both, LA SORELLA DI URSULA and GIALLO A VENEZIA are ex- amples of sleazy style over content gialli, which focus on sexploitation and not on a thrilling giallo-esque plot. The giallo witnessed a short revival in the early 1980s with Dario Argento's meta-giallo TENEBRE, but only a few further productions were released in the 1980s and 90s. Italian gialli erotici productions also dropped, but the era did see the release of LE FOTO DI GIOIA, with Italian sex-symbol Serena Grandi, who had acted in several erotic and softcore movies in the 1980s. The Italian giallo erotico had a huge impact on American productions of the 1980s and 90s. Films such as BODY HEAT (USA 1981, dir.: Lawrence Kasdan), BODY DOUBLE (USA 1984, dir.: Brian De Palma), SLIVER (USA
1993, dir.: Philip Noyce) or JADE (USA 1995, dir.: William Friedkin) applied the giallo erotico formula, namely eroticism in combination with murder, mystery and suspense.
In particular, BASIC INSTINCT is regarded as a landmark erotic thriller due to its "sexual explicitness, its sexual politics […] or its sexual manipulativeness" (Leitch 2002, 154).33 Eroticism is a potent ingredient of the giallo erotico. The genesis for illicit ro- mance in the giallo erotico can be found in IL DOLCE CORPO DI DEBORAH, which includes graphic nudity and sexuality. Some gialli incorporate only minor amounts of sexuality, but, starting with UNA SULL'ALTRA, sexual promiscuity was often portrayed lavishly. Au- diences knew that actresses like Rosalba Neri, Barbara Bouchet and Edwige Fenech always signaled the sexually motivated giallo, the giallo erotico. The demise in popu- larity for the giallo began in the mid-seventies, and the quality of production decreased. This development was also detectable in the giallo erotico, where directors depicted
32 This scene may have influenced the Japanese film GUINEA PIG (1985, dir.: Satoru Ogura) and the US- production AMERICAN GUINEA PIG (2015, dir.: Stephen Biro). 33 See chapter 2.3.5 which deals with the topic on American erotic thrillers. 73 lurid details of sexual behavior, and thus, these films lost their appeal. Still, the legacy of the giallo erotico is still present in Hollywood's erotic thrillers today.
Before Dario Argento’s L'UCCELLO DALLE PIUME DI CRISTALLO introduced one of the most important elements of the giallo – voyeurism – had not only been utilized in Alfred
Hitchcock’s REAR WINDOW but also other productions previously. Hitchcock, who char- acterized REAR WINDOW as his ‘most cinematic’ film, established a new sort of Peeping Tom with the character of freelance photographer L.B. Jefferies (James Stewart), who is temporarily bound to a wheelchair due to an accident.34 Hitchcock’s impact on the giallo was discussed in a previous chapter, however, the voyeuristic aspects of Hitchcock’s REAR WINDOW, VERTIGO and PSYCHO need to be highlighted as they have had a tremendous impact on the Italian giallo, which in turn, added some other unique voyeuristic components. Similarities to REAR WINDOW can be found in PASSI DI DANZA SU UNA LAMA DI RASOIO (Italy/Spain 1972, dir.: Maurizio Pra- deaux, DEATH CARRIES A CANE). The photographer Kitty (Susan Scott) observes a masked perpetrator attacking a woman in a nearby house through a cityscape tele- scope. Although Kitty is not temporarily impaired, and the crime is not committed across from her apartment, the narrative bears resemblance. Kitty and L.B. Jefferies try to solve the crime. Additionally, they cannot prove their assumptions and are both unsure if somebody was harmed.
34 The film takes place within a single set of Greenwich Village apartments and the majority is shot from the perspective of Jefferies’ apartment where he starts observing his neighbors with a long lens. He watches his neighbor Miss Lonelyhearts, the appealing dancer Miss Torso, and the salesman Lars Thor- wald and his wife. The film spans four days in the life of Jefferies, who is visited by his nurse Stella (Thelma Ritter), who claims that “we have become a race of peeping Toms”, his detective friend Doyle (Wendell Corey), and his girlfriend Lisa (Grace Kelly). Jefferies soon begins to spy on his neighbor Thorwald, firstly with binoculars and later with a telephoto lens, as Thorwald’s activity of washing a saw and knife and later locking a suitcase arouses Jefferies’ suspicion. Jefferies is a typical example of a peeping Tom, that he is also a photographer by profession even exploits the notion of voyeurism (Pearson 2009, 199-203). Jefferies’ spying is a dangerous act as Lisa and he are almost murdered by Thorwald.
L.B. Jefferies spying on his neighbor (REAR WINDOW) Kitty observing a murder (PASSI DI DANZA SU UNA LAMA DI ROSOIO)
Another form of voyeurism is detectable in the amateur sleuths who witness crimes, such as Sam Dalmas in L'UCCELLO DALLE PIUME DI CRISTALLO and Marcus Daly in
PROFONDO ROSSO. Both observe murderous attacks and become themselves voyeurs. Argento, in particular, included voyeurism in the giallo and intertwined it with obses- sion. According to Mendik, “voyeurism (as facilitated through technical devices such as shot-reverse-shot and subjective camera angles [point-of-view shot]), empowers the hero or other leading male protagonists with a look that is aggressive in its aim to scrutinize the female form” (Mendik 2015, 69). Furthermore, Mendik notes that a film scholar even identifies Sam Dalmas as “an imperfect and unfocused observer, a visu- ally impotent character who overlooks a crucial detail”.35 It is claimed that Argento’s manipulation of male desire has become synonymous in his movies, such as in his debut L'UCCELLO DALLE PIUME DI CRISTALLO. Argento, being a Hitchcock aficionado, ex- plains:
Manipulating men should be done in reality and not just in cinema! It is important because it is also the manipulation of male voyeurism. This is important because voyeurism is cen- tral to these characters and also to the cinema, because the camera looks inside the life of the people. Hitchcock recognized this perfectly, which is why women are so good at ma- nipulating male desire in his films. […] Manipulating male desire often comes from the childhood trauma […]. I do think the themes in Hitchcock are very heavily influenced by Freud; really it is the big influence in his films. Every film is full of Freudian citation, such as Vertigo (1958). (118)36
35 This statement appears in Gian Piero Brunetta’s The Cinema of Italy (2004, 216). 36 Freudian citations are occasionally a component of some gialli, these citations are mostly rendered at the beginning of the film, such as in LO STRANO VIZIO DELLA SIGNORA WARDH and NELLE PIEGHE DELLA CARNE. The childhood trauma of giallo killers and victims has been discussed in a previous chapter. 75 In contrast to Hitchcock, who only showed male voyeurs in his films, females can also be the observer in the giallo. This is perfectly visible in LA SORELLA DI URSULA, as Dag- mar (Stefania D'Amario) pries on the promiscuous women who are murdered at a lux- urious seaside hotel. Voyeurism is ever present in the giallo, and not only the amateur detective is lured by this characteristic, but also victims and killers. In addition, voyeurism is not always displayed in the same way. Some gialli depict lechering characters as sco- pophiliacs, such as the photographer in LA POLIZIA CHIEDE AIUTO who takes pictures of young girls having sex with high-ranked politicians. In GIALLO A VENEZIA, Fabio pries from a safe distance while his girlfriend Flavia is raped by two dock workers. Fabio is sexually gratified as he watches his wife being raped multiple times on a derelict Ve- netian dock. There is sexual fulfilment courtesy of voyeurism in LA SORELLA DI URSULA, but here the killer spies on young women who are having unrestrained sex from behind curtains. Afterwards the perpetrator, Dagmar, kills them brutally. A similar scenario happens in LO STRANO VIZIO DELLA SIGNORA WARDH, portraying George and Julie copu- lating on a sofa, while the killer, Jean, observes both through a window. A killer sex maniac who secretly watches lesbian students having intercourse is depicted in I CORPI
PRESENTANO TRACCE DI VIOLENZA CARNALE. Another element of voyeurism is not only the utilization of telescopes for their spying, but the use of photo cameras. The beginning scene in L'UCCELLO DALLE PIUME
DI CRISTALLO shows a young woman who is being observed, moreover, the voyeur is taking pictures of her while he watches her walk through the city streets. The audience sees through the eyes of the camera lens and the click of the camera is audible over Ennio Morricone’s soundtrack. The viewer should recognize that it is the killer who is spying on his prey. Photography has played a major part in several gialli. Either per- petrators use photo cameras for their prying or photographers take pictures of naked or scantily clad models who are posing erotically. The first gialli portraying mannequins were UNA SULL'ALTRA and PERCHÉ QUELLE STRANE GOCCE DI SANGUE SUL CORPO DI JEN-
NIFER?. The photo studio Albatros is one of the main locations in Bianchi’s NUDE PER
L'ASSASSINO, and here the audience can see naked women posing in front of cameras.
The photographers are homosexual, like in PERCHÉ QUELLE STRANE GOCCE DI SANGUE
SUL CORPO DI JENNIFER?. Some studio models are killed one after another whereby the model Magda (Edwige Fenech) and the macho photographer Carlo (Nino Castel- nuovo) try to solve the crime. Thus, both become amateur sleuths. In the end, the killer
76 is revealed to be Patrizia, a former model whose sister was murdered, and it is unveiled that the sisters had an incestuous relationship.
A similar plot can be found in LE FOTO DI GIOIA. The film opens with a photo shooting and some characters are introduced: Gloria, a former model and now owner of a model agency, three scantily dressed models posing in a swimming pool, and two photographers who tell the models to “keep laughing to look sexier”. While Gloria is monitoring the photo shoot, another character is presented, a physically disabled teen- age neighbor who is spying with a telescope. Like J.B. Jefferies, the boy is confined to a wheelchair, and lured into voyeurism. While L.B. Jefferies finds more attraction to- wards solving a crime and is, hence, spying on his neighbor, the boy is more captivated by Gloria and her models.
Photo shooting in LE FOTO DI GIOA Models posing in the swimming pool (LE FOTO DI GIOA)
Models and photo shoots are represented in SOTTO IL VESTITO NIENTE too. In this meta- giallo, the sister of the main character, Bob Crane (Tom Schanley), is abducted from a photo shooting in Milan. Although the focus of this film is not primarily on licentious models, both films, SOTTO IL VESTITO NIENTE and LE FOTO DI GIOIA can be regarded as paying homage to Mario Bava’s SEI DONNE PER L'ASSASSINO, the first giallo set within the world of modelling. Argento entered the world of fashion and supermodels in GI-
ALLO and merges the abduction of an American supermodel with giallo-esque charac- teristics as she and other girls are kidnapped and brutally murdered by a mentally dis- turbed killer with a disfigured face. The madman is depicted as a Peeping Tom, prying on his victims from a taxi which he uses for the abduction of the models. Photographs used by amateur sleuths or police in their investigations are a fur- ther crucial component in the giallo. For instance, the female murderer in Lenzi’s GATTI
ROSSI IN UN LABIRINTO DI VETRO is exposed because of a picture taken by an American tourist, depicting the assassin and her weapon, captured in this photo. A picture of the
77 assassin Patrizia and her sister Evelyn gives Magda and Carlo the final hint in their investigation in NUDE PER L'ASSASSINO. The pictures of the dead girl and the sexual act she had had before she was murdered, taken by the pervert Bruno Paglia (Franco
Fabrizi) in LA POLIZIA CHIEDE AIUTO, help the police in their investigations too. In conclu- sion, the voyeuristic field in the giallo encompasses killers, amateur detectives and victims as Peeping Toms who use telescopes and photo cameras for either sexual pleasure or pure enjoyment, but the frequent depiction of photo shootings and photo models is also a vital constituent of the giallo.
2.3.10. Film Technique
As noted by Koven, the “most notable visual cinematic device in the giallo is the point- of-view (POV) shot, wherein the camera takes the perspective of one of the characters, most often the killer stalking the victim” (Koven 2006, 146). The POV shot has become a cliché of the giallo. Mario Bava first used it in LA RAGAZZA CHE SAPEVA TROPPO. The subjective camera has been commonly used when the killer is stalking his prey. How- ever, sometimes the amateur detective’s observation of the crime is portrayed as a point-of-view shot, such as in L'UCCELLO DALLE PIUME DI CRISTALLO and PROFONDO
ROSSO. Occasionally the victim sees the approaching danger through a point-of-view shot and some directors even make swift cuts between the perspectives of the killer and the victim.
The most peculiar point-of-view shots are presented in LE FOTO DI GIOIA, char- acterized by the killer’s POV. The viewer has the feeling that the killer has a bloody eye. Interestingly, Fulci’s IL GATTO NERO applies an odd ‘cat-cam’ so that the audience has the feeling of perceiving the action from the cat’s perspective. Koven adds that
“Argento uses ‘bug-cam’ in PHENOMENA to give a subjective perspective to the insects helping Jennifer (Jennifer Connelly) in her investigation” (Koven 2006, 147).
These POV shots, whether killer-cam or any of the other subjective camera devices, are self-conscious violations of the norms of continuity filmmaking. Pasolini identified this self- consciousness as a as a hallmark of the “cinema of poetry.” These kinds of subjective shots fuse together a character’s subjective mental state (here most often the killer’s) with the camera itself into what Deleuze saw as a “free indirect discourse.” Argento, in particular, tends to film sequences set entirely within the killer’s mind, as, for example, we see in DEEP RED, where we are presented with abstract images from the killer’s childhood – toys mostly – completely decontextualized on a black background, that the camera almost fetishistically explores. Giallo cinema also has tendencies towards “free indirect discourse” in scenes when the killer fondles his or her weapons before going out to kill. The camera often takes a subjective position of the killer and we view the beauty of the cold, shiny steel, again
78 frequently filmed on a black background to offset the shine. And like the set piece, these sequences go on for longer than is strictly necessary for the narrative to progress. With Argento’s almost surreal dream/fantasy sequences, like the one previously noted in DEEP RED, no narrative information is conveyed, but only a poetic exploration of the killer’s mania. (Koven 147-148)
Regardless of whether the directors use point-of-view shots for the killer’s, victim’s or amateur sleuth’s subjective perspective, the effect is alluring for spectators. The audi- ence perceives the action more realistically and is forced to slip into the character’s role. Koven concludes that “when the killer stalks his or her prey […] we find ourselves within the killer’s mind, wandering the streets or apartment corridors, approaching the victim, we become culpable in the stalking itself. It is we who approach the victim, through the camera as surrogate” (148). Another typical camera shot is the extreme close-up, in particular of the eyes, as used by Dario Argento in IL GATTO A NOVE CODE. The audience is presented with extreme close-up shots of eyes before each assault begins. “Argento’s cinematic world concentrates on the eyes of the killer. This way the audience will identify with this per- son as the malevolent presence in the film, before finding out his/her identity at the finale (through the close-up of the eyes of the murderer)” (Paul 2005, 41). In PROFONDO
ROSSO, Argento continues to use extreme close-ups. The film starts with the introduc- tion of Helga Ullman, a psychic, who is going to be the killer’s next victim. The specta- tors observe the madman’s stalking through point-of-view shots. In a following scene, quick shots of a knife are shown, then a cut to an extreme close-up of the killer who is covering the eyes with mascara, which leads to the assumption that the murderer is female. Then, the killer enters a men’s bathroom and looks into a rusty and scratched mirror. Argento thus tried to build up tension and an ambiguous characterization of the perpetrator, which makes it difficult for audiences to identify whether the madman is transgender, male or female.
In TENEBRE, Argento utilized stylistic close-ups, not only to highlight the killer’s need for medicine, but again, the focus is on the eyes. After Jane (Veronica Lario) is slaughtered with an axe, an extreme close-up of a bloody eye is visible. Afterwards a repeated dream sequence depicts a seductive young woman who had sexual inter- course with several men in previous scenes. She is stabbed in a following scene with a knife, her flesh penetrated with a knife, again rendered in a close-up shot. Moreover, Argento applies other extreme close-ups too, such as the strangulation sequence of Gianni (Christian Borromeo), who is choked to death with a rope. Argento was not the
79 only director to employ extreme close-ups, however. IL GATTO NERO is such an exam- ple and is highly criticized by Thrower, claiming that, “Much complaint has been made about THE BLACK CAT’s frequent close-ups of eyes. Fulci often uses them, and they proliferate in this film more than any other: it has to be said that as a shorthand for elaborate psychological power-struggles they are indeed inadequate” (Thrower 1999, 190). Extreme close-ups are, nevertheless, required to accentuate what the character is looking at. Extreme close-ups are applied first and foremost as insert shots for mur- der sequences, for instance, a knife or blade entering the human flesh. Compared to the ‘money shot’ in pornography, where the hard-core porn presents sexual penetra- tion, the giallo focusses on the gory penetration, the blade or knife mostly used as a phallic symbol, perforating the victim’s flesh or copulatory organs (Koven 2006, 149- 150). Besides the excessive use of point-of-view shots and extreme close-ups, the giallo canon provides other eloquent techniques, such as the split diopter shot. This effect features two split screens which are joined together. Often, two divergent actions take place simultaneously and it conveys the feeling of collapsed space. Moreover, it has the benefit of being able to focus on the fore- and background at the same time, which would otherwise be impossible, owing to depth of field. Although the proto-split diopter shot debuted in Orson Welles’ CITIZEN KANE (USA 1941), it took some decades before this technique was employed more repeatedly in American movies. In the giallo,
Lucio Fulci added this technique in NON SI SEVIZIA UN PAPERINO and used it during in- terrogation sequences.
Split diopter shot in CITIZEN KANE Interrogation sequence in NON SI SEVIZIA UN PAPERINO
80 Another form of the split diopter shot, the split-screen, was applied in Dario Argento’s
QUATTRO MOSCHE DI VELLUTO GRIGIO. “There, he created a visual cause-and-effect re- lationship with opposing film frames” (Muir 2002, 299). The split-screen debuted in Lois
Weber’s SUSPENSE (USA 1913) and PIKOVAYA DAMA (Russia 1916, dir.: Yakov Protaza- nov, THE QUEEN OF SPADES), before it gained popularity in the 1960s and 1970s. In
SUSPENSE, the split-screen is implemented for a telephone scene, which appears as well in QUATTRO MOSCHE DI VELLUTO GRIGIO.
Split-sceen debut in SUSPENSE Argento’s telephone scene in QUATTRO MOSCHE DI VELLUTO GRIGIO
Another important shot which was presented in the thriller-giallo LA VOLPE DALLA CODA
DI VELLUTO, was the arc or 360 degree shot.
A 360-degree tracking shot is an arc shot that rotates a full 360 degrees. This can create more complex and engaging scenes by creating movement and changing the background. Arc shots can also be used to mark transitions, create suspense, add intensity or emotion- ality to a scene and much more. (Casual Viewer 2017)
Although the 360-degree shot was not José María Forqué’s invention, he insinuated a memorable scene in LA VOLPE DALLA CODA DI VELLUTO, presenting two lovers, kissing and touching each other intimately. The sequence takes approximately two and a half minutes and the cameraman and director framed the action using an arc shot (although the camera turns only for about 260 degrees) and created an outstanding romantic performance between Ruth (Analia Gadé) and Paul (Jean Sorel) who is hanging down from a tree and kissing her emotionally and touching her belly in an erotic way. Hitch- cock used a 360-degree shot in VERTIGO, depicting Scottie (James Stewart) kissing Judy (Kim Novak) affectionately. It can be argued that Forqué’s portrayal is reminiscent to Hitchcock’s, but Forqué specialized more on the erotic aspect, with more close-up shots and a vertical rotation of the camera.
Medium-long shot of the two lovers Paul touching her belly. Rotating camera Another quite distinct shot, which is regularly observed in the giallo, is a high-angle shot, which is often used during sex scenes. In LO STRANO VIZIO DELLA SIGNORA WARDH, George and Julie are intimate on a sofa, while being observed by a Peeping Tom. First, Martino frames the scene using medium and long shots for the foreplay and the scenes where both are watched by the voyeur, but as soon as the sexual act intensifies Martino switches to a high-angle shot, with Julie’s naked body serendipitously on top. LA SO-
RELLA DI URSULA employs high-angle shots for sex scenes too. This giallo erotico con- sists of several offensive sex performances, and some are filmed with high-angle shots, such as the scene of the two teenagers copulating in the derelict castle. Director Enzo Milioni utilized medium shots, close-ups and extreme close-ups of the foreplay, depicting breasts, pubic hair, and genitalia of both sexes. Subsequently, a high-angle shot is applied, showing both completely naked, but the intimacy is ended abruptly – switching back to a long shot – as the killer enters the room. According to Koven, extraordinary opening themes are vital for the giallo. The first was SEI DONNE PER L'ASSASSINO, which starts with a unique credit sequence.
Each of the actors featured in the film are given their own tableau, bathed in a combination of red and green chiaroscuro lighting, with appropriate black spots. The actors pose in costume as the characters they play in the film, but also within each mise-en-scène is posed a mannequin doppelganger. Sometimes the mannequin is meant to echo the pose of the actor or to act as the actor’s shadow, holding the same pose but in the opposite direction. In one playful example, Francesca Ungaro’s mannequin appears to be trying to strangle the actress. These tableaux reflect the playful nature of Bava’s film, and as noted previously, it was one of the first “proper” giallo films. I cannot recall any other film, let alone giallo, that features the actors posing so self-referentially in the opening credit sequences. (Koven 2006, 151)
Another form of opening credits is used in UNA FARFALLA CON LE ALI INSANGUINATE, where Ducio Tessari implemented one of the most notable and elaborate opening scenes in the giallo canon. The film starts with opening credits and a butterfly-shaped iris is visible. Moreover, a memorable theme by Gianni Ferrio, who used Tchaikowsky’s piano concerto no1, is audible. The opening credits are printed in yellow on a black background, but inside the shaped iris the audience can see a woman, Marta Clerici (Lorella De Luca), driving her car around Milan. After the opening credits the butterfly-
82 shaped iris disappears, and Marta arrives at her residence. Afterwards, the audience is again exposed to names and new characters are presented. Tessari added to the visual introduction of the individuals their characters’ name and the relationship to each other. Koven calls this form of a character’s introduction as prosaic cinema, plus he claims that: “While these character attributes may not be entirely relevant to the film narrative, they are to be read by the audience as a kind of mnemonic device, and we are asked to associate them with each character” (152). Leonard Jacobs also favors Tessari’s œuvre and its memorable opening sequence.
Opening sequence in UNA FARFALLA CON LE ALI INSANGUINATE The character’s name and the relationship is presented
BUTTERFLY’S opening credits signal the structure for the rest of the film: we watch stylized, carefully choreographed shots that first frame the film’s action through the outline of a but- terfly, and then provide a character “cheat sheet,” using text on the screen to tell us how one character relates to another. The credits introduce the idea that we, as the audience, may be charged with “keeping score” as the mystery develops, and they highlight the lack of a single protagonist. (Jacobs 2016)
Finally, it is crucial to mention flashbacks, which fulfill important functions in this filone. The cinematic flashback can be regarded as a “filmic translation of the literary ‘analep- sis’ – a narrative mechanism that fills in narrative gaps and ellipses” (Pirolini 2010, 86). Flashbacks are employed in the filone for different reasons compared to the Classical Hollywood rules which dictate that “the flashback must portray a portion of story time preceding the events leading to the introduction of the memory itself (unlike the vision); and second, the character from whose memory the flashback emerges must be con- scious at the time the flashback occurs (as opposed to the dream)” (Keil 2001, 99). The giallo canon defies these standards and has created its own flashback formula.
One of the first gialli, IL DOLCE CORPO DI DEBORAH, depicts quite a few flashbacks, such as Marcel’s remembrance of Suzanna (Ida Galli), with whom he had an intense rela-
83 tionship before marrying Deborah. Marcel’s recollection of this togetherness is pre- sented in several scenes when he describes to Deborah how special Suzanna was and the audience is exposed to visual flashbacks of this recall. In the giallo, on the one hand, the murders are frequently presented as flash- backs, in particular, when either the eyewitness or the killer recalls the carnage, which happens mostly at the end of the movie. In L'UCCELLO DALLE PIUME DI CRISTALLO, the amateur sleuth’s memories of the tragic attack at the Ranieri art gallery are portrayed as flashbacks as Sam realizes that his retrospection could solve the crime. On the other hand, flashbacks of sexual activities, such as in Martino’s LO STRANO VIZIO DELLA
SIGNORA WARDH, are a way of visually depicting sex and intertwining this with a char- acter’s remembrance. In this giallo, Julie’s first flashback of lovemaking with her previ- ous sadistic boyfriend Jean is introduced. Julie is lying in the mud, the rain is pouring on them while Jean is physically abusing Julie, but somehow Julie finds affection for Jean’s perverse play. Sevastakis claims that this flashback is reminiscent to Luis Buñ- uel’s love scene, where Gaston Modot and Lya Lys make love in the mud in the surreal film L’AGE D’OR (France 1930, THE GOLDEN AGE) (Sevastakis 2016, 32). The script for
L’AGE D’OR’ reads, “A man and a woman are […] lasciviously rolling about in the mud. […] Close-up of the lovers. The woman is letting the man do what he likes, an expres- sion of infinite tenderness in her eyes. […] The man is biting her ear with a look of insane lust […] (Buñuel 1968, 28). Martino’s first flashback is similar, although he ex- tends the scene and presents graphic violence as Jean hits Julie, rips her dress apart and seduces her. Martino shows several flashbacks linked to sexuality in LO STRANO
VIZIO DELLA SIGNORA WARDH, depicting lust, physical distress, sadomasochism and Jean’s forced sex, which Julie finds arousing.
TENEBRE introduces another form of flashback and here recollections are re- peated before each murder.
The scenario once again recalls Freud’s account, by conflating images of eroticism and sexual violence as a woman strips to seduce a group of young men before being beaten by an onlooker. This potential assailant is then chased by the assembled crowd and sex- ually humiliated by having the heel of the woman’s shoe forced into his mouth while being pinned down by her lovers. (Mendik 2015, 31)
These ambiguous dream-like flashbacks are difficult to read, they are interrupted and the whole narrative of these scenes is only comprehensible at the end of the film. Only then, the audience realizes that the attacker in these flashbacks – the man who was ‘orally raped’ – is Peter Neil, the author and second killer, and the flashbacks are his
84 own memories that he recalls before his killings. Therefore, it can be argued that Peter Neil’s sexual humiliation by a beautiful woman was the impetus for his savage killings. The last of these flashbacks depicts the attacker, Peter, murdering the woman who degraded him. “This [beautiful] woman is actually portrayed by transsexual actor Eva
Robins, echoing the character of Carlos' transvestite lover in DEEP RED (1975), who was portrayed by a woman. This subversive casting showcases Argento's interests in gender, and the obtuse line that often defines it” (Gracey 2012).
Dario Argento used the dream-like flashback first in QUATTRO MOSCHE DI
VELLUTO GRIGIO, which fuses Argento’s arthouse aspirations with giallo thrill. This flash- back is about someone who is decapitated with a sword. Recurrent, interrupted recol- lections, as in TENEBRE, are featured and again only the last flashback sequence un- veils the puzzle. Hence, Dario Argento’s œuvre created a template in the early 1970s for future gialli, and tenebrous flashbacks, point-of-view shots and close-ups have be- come typical of the filone.
Carlo Rustichelli’s rhythmic masterpiece score for SEI DONNE PER L'ASSASSINO – the only one that he composed for this filone – merged smooth Latin jazz with orchestral moods and became one of the most impressing musical arrangements of the genre. In sub- sequent years, the giallo’s prominence rose and the outstanding composer Ennio Mor- ricone contributed to the giallo’s popularity. Between 1968 and 1972, Morricone orchestrated on average around twenty film scores a year for Italian genre cinema, mainly Italo-western and gialli. He helped raise standards with his introduction of baroque influences, Italian opera, folk melodies and free jazz. Morricone started to use instruments, such as trumpets, merging with per- cussion instruments, rattles and whistles, but also with female or childlike voices. In
1970, he created the soundtrack for L'UCCELLO DALLE PIUME DI CRISTALLO and for the rest of Argento’s ‘Animal Trilogy’. Morricone’s ‘musica traumatica’ – that is his own title for the three Argento scores – emerged spontaneously while watching the gialli. How- ever, the melodies for all three films were different, as in L'UCCELLO DALLE PIUME DI
CRISTALLO the audience hears a timid child tune singing ‘lalala’ with clanging bells and then adult voices take over the main melody (Graf 2015, 101-105).
85 The second film of the trilogy, IL GATTO A NOVE CODE, followed the same melodic patterns and its title melody Nina nanna in blu is an exotic, but sentimental theme ac- companied by a female singer, singing nina nanna. The last soundtrack of the ‘Musica traumatica’ trilogy, QUATTRO MOSCHE DI VELLUTO GRIGIO, begins with 1970s Euro-disco sound mixed with guitar riffs and a singer reminiscent of James Brown (105). The main protagonist Roberto (Michael Brandon) is a rock musician and thus, Argento’s and Morricone’s opening theme suits Roberto’s environment as at the beginning of the film he is playing the drums. Although Morricone’s opening theme is extradiegetic, the au- dience has the feeling that the sound is diegetic, consequently, the music is played by the rock band. After the rock melody the score changes and a typical Morricone theme – a tragic baroque melody in combination with a female voice called Come un Madri- gale – is audible. The melody is similar to Morricone’s hit Come Maddalena, which
Morricone composed for the film MADDALENA (Italy/Yugoslavia 1971, dir.: Jerzy Ka- walerowicz, MADDALENA). Morricone’s initial collaboration with Argento ended with the last film of the ‘An- imal trilogy’. There was then a 25-year hiatus before Morricone orchestrated again for
Argento on LA SINDROME DI STENDHAL in 1996. Morricone has worked for other giallo directors too. Altogether, Morricone wrote scores for nineteen gialli, such as:
Title Director Year
1 L'UCCELLO DALL PIUME DI CRISTALLO Dario Argento Italy/Germany 1970
2 LE FOTO PROIBITE DI UNA SIGNORA PER BENE Luciano Ercoli Italy/Spain 1970
3 IL GATTO A NOVE CODE Dario Argento Italy/France 1971
4 QUATTRO MOSCHE DI VELLUTO GRIGIO Dario Argento Italy/France 1971
5 UNA LUCERTOLA CON LA PELLE DI DONNA Lucio Fulci Italy/Spain/France 1971
6 GIORNATA NERA PER L'ARIETE Luigi Bazzoni Italy 1971
7 LA CORTA NOTTE DELLE BAMBOLE DI VETRO Aldo Lado Italy/Yugoslavia 1971
8 SENZA MOVENTE Philippe Labro Italy/France 1971
9 GLI OCCHI FREDDI DELLA PAURA Enzo G. Castellari Italy/Spain 1971
10 MIO CARO ASSASSINO Tonino Valerii Italy/Spain 1972
11 COSA AVETE FATTO A SOLANGE? Massimo Dallamano Italy/Germany 1972
12 CHI L'HA VISTA MORIRE Aldo Lado Italy/Germany 1972
13 IL DIAVOLO NEL CERVELLO Sergio Sollima Italy/France 1972
14 SPASMO Umberto Lenzi Italy 1974
15 L'ULTIMO TRENO DELLA NOTTE Aldo Lado Italy 1975
16 MACCHIE SOLARI Armando Crispino Italy 1975
17 COPKILLER - L'ASSASSINO DEI POLIZIOTT Roberto Faenza Italy/USA 1983
86 18 LA SINDROME DI STENDHAL Dario Argento Italy 1996
19 FANTASMA DELL'OPERA Dario Argento Italy/Hungary 1998
“Although critically dismissed as exploitation and misogynist, many […] [gialli] were also graced with effective and memorable musical arrangements by composers of En- nio Morricone and Bruno Nicolai [who was also Morricone’s right hand]” (Moliterno 2009, 152). Nicolai designed some memorable and amazing giallo soundtracks, such as the “mellow, upbeat, jazzy score” (Sevastakis 2016, 110) for PERCHE QUELLE STRAN
GOCCE DI SANGUE SUL CORPO DI JENNIFER?. In TUTTI I COLORI DEL BUIO, Nicolai created a “kaleidoscopic myriad of jarring, […] unsettling bass driven beats that fuses [sic] into wild free form jazz with penetrating shrill’s of intense terror, that crescendo’s and drifts into a harmonised psychotropic dreamlike trance of grace and tranquil” (Mindenhall n.d.). Moreover, he scored soundtracks for the several gialli, such as FEMMINE INSA-
ZIABILI (Italy 1969, dir.: Alberto De Martino, THE LOS ANGELES CONNECTION).37 Besides Morricone and Nicolai, other Italian composers were hired to make gialli soundtracks, such as Riz Ortolani (UNA SULL'ALTRA; SETTE ORCHIDEE MACCHIATE DI
ROSSO; NON SI SEVIZIA UN PAPERINO) and Gianni Ferrio (UNA FARFALLA CON LE ALI INSAN-
GUINATE; L’UOMO SENZA MEMORIA). Stelvio Cipriani is another important name on the composers’ list, as he wrote the theme for Bava’s proto-slasher REAZIONE A CATENA.
“Cipriani’s deft score for BAY OF BLOOD oscillates between strangely upbeat and funky rhythms, with some beautifully melodic orchestral music, complete with a bongo-driven lounge score that’s delightful in places and ominous and terrifying edgy when it needs to be” (Mindenhall n.d.). His talents were also called upon for FEMINA RIDENS; L’IGUANA
DALLA LINGUA DI FUOCO (Italy/France/Germany 1971, dir.: Riccardo Freda, THE IGUANA
WITH THE TONGUE OF FIRE); LA MORTE CAMMINA CON I TACCHI ALTI; LA POLIZIA CHIEDE
AIUTO; and SOLAMENTE NERO. Furthermore, it is worth mentioning one of the few female songwriter, Nora Orlandi, who contributed her scores for three gialli masterpieces: IL
DOLCE CORPO DI DEBORAH; A DOPPIA FACIA and LO STRANO VIZIO DELLA SIGNORA WARDH. Orlandi orchestrated elegant and sophisticated melodies, using “an extraordinary vari- ety of rhythms and styles in this score: lounge, samba, bossa nova, jazz, liturgical chant, suspense music, psychedelic sounds” (Quartet Records n.d.).
37 Nicolai furthermore scored for the gialli: LA CODA DELLO SCORPIONE (Italy/Spain 1971, dir.: Sergio Mar- tino, CASE OF THE SCORPION'S TAIL); LA NOTTE CHE EVELYN USCÌ DALLA TOMBA; LA DAMA ROSSA UCCIDE SETTE VOLTE; IL TUO VIZIO È UNA STANZA CHIUSA E SOLO IO NE HO LA CHIAVE; UN BIANCO VESTITO PER MARIALÉ (Italy 1969, dir.: Romano Scavolini, A WHITE DRESS FOR MARIALE); GATTI ROSSI IN UN LABIRINTO DI VETRO; and the neo-giallo AMER (France/Belgium 2009, dir.: Bruno Forzani, Hélène Cattet, AMER). 87 Finally, the Italian progressive-rock band Goblin played an important part in cre- ating the unmistakable giallo sound. According to Goblin’s keyboarder Claudio Simo- netti, the band was founded in 1975, because Dario Argento was looking for a musical score for PROFONDO ROSSO. Simonetti, who was performing at that time with his band
Oliver, got the chance to make the theme for PROFONDO ROSSO and Goblin was born.
Simonetti notes that due to PROFONDO ROSSO’s worldwide success the band started to focus primarily on composing for movie soundtracks, often for Argento. For SUSPIRIA, which came out two years after PROFONDO ROSSO, Goblin was given Carte blanche and Simonetti believes that SUSPIRIA was Goblin’s magnum opus (Fehse 2015). In contrast to the classic giallo soundtracks by the aforementioned composers, Goblin has blended jazz, psychedelic rock, heavy metal with synth-pop/rock elements. Even today, music magazines still write about Goblin’s impact on Argento’s films and other projects, as Goblin were acclaimed for non-Argento productions, such as DAWN OF THE
DEAD (USA/Italy 1978, dir.: George A. Romero). “It’s tough now to think of Argento’s movies without Goblin’s innovative accompaniments, and for better or for worse, after
PROFONDO ROSSO they were intrinsically linked not just with the horror genre, but with a very specific (and later beloved) set of cult movies” (Twells 2013). Goblin wrote soundtracks for PROFONDO ROSSO, SUSPIRIA, TENEBRE (as Simonetti/Pignatelli/Mo- rante), PHENOMENA and NON HO SONNO. Claudio Simonetti worked on other Argento productions, such as OPERA (together with Brian Eno), LA TERZA MADRE, IL CARTAIO, and
GIALLO. The gialli soundtracks have made countless films of this genre memorable, but most notably the gialli which included scores by Ennio Morricone, Riz Ortolani, Bruno Nicolai and Goblin form the core canon. Undoubtedly, great directors, such as Bava, Martino and Argento tried to enhance their gialli with exceptional music compositions.
88 3. THE AMERICAN GIALLO – THE GIALLO INFLUENCE ON NORTH- AMERICAN CINEMA
I have always been a fan of Italian cinema. For that reason, when the opportunity arose to shoot GANGS OF NEW YORK [USA/Italy/Germany 2002, dir.: Martin Scorsese] at Cinecittà, I jumped at that chance. First of all, because it represents Italian cinema, and also because it has the most extraordinary artisans. – Martin Scorsese, 2012. (Carolan 2014, 1)
The motion picture industry was born thanks to the early endeavors of pioneers like Max and Emil Skladanowky and the Lumière brothers in the late 19th century. The first technical innovations in film occurred in Europe, and Italy played a pivotal role in the early history and development of cinematography. According to Carolan, American filmmakers appreciated the artistry of early Italian film productions and imitated the triumphs of the Italian golden age from 1909 and 1916. At that time Torino (or Filmopoli, as it was referred to by journalists), was the center of Italian film production. Transat- lantic collaborations were common including Enrico Guazzoni’s QUO VADIS? (Italy 1912), which is considered by many to be the first feature-length film, premiered in New York in 1913. Two American producers, George Kleine and Frank J. Marion se- cured the exhibition rights for the U.S. after they had witnessed its impressive produc- tion in Italy. Kleine, charged the exorbitant price of $1 per ticket, and yet the film was still a box office hit and was hailed an outstanding achievement. It was acclaimed by The New York Times as: “the most ambitious photo drama that has yet been seen here” (The New York Times 1913). The most commercially interesting discovery from
QUO VADIS’ electrifying success was that it proved that Americans were willing to pay a higher price to watch aesthetic films. Such films had not been shown in American cinemas before. During the 1910s creative and enticing Italian productions influenced Hollywood profoundly (Carolan 2014, 4-8). Tinseltown (as Hollywood is also known) was established around the same time, and D.W. Griffith directed the first Hollywood production, IN OLD CALIFORNIA (USA 1911). The Nestor Film Company, the first motion picture studio in Hollywood, was set up in October 1911. Within a short time, now re- nowned names such as Universal Pictures and Lasky-Demille Barn Studio, became established studios in Hollywood (Wanamaker and Nudelman 2007, 31-36). World War I was calamitous for the Italian film industry which had seen huge artistic output and financial return up to 1914. Due to the swift growth of Hollywood filmmaking, the United States flooded Italy with American films and
exploited Italy for its wealth of talent and natural beauty. Leading directors such as Henry Kind and George Fritzmaurice worked in Italy with popular actors of the day such as Lilian
89 Gish […] on films such as THE WHITE SISTER [USA1923, dir.: Henry King], ROMOLA [USA 1924, dir.: Henry King], and THE ETERNAL CITY [USA 1923, dir.: George Fritzmaurice]. (Carolan 2014, 8)
However, it was BEN-HUR (USA 1925, dir.: Fred Niblo) – the most celebrated American production in Italy at the time – that was partly responsible for the “decline of the Italian film industry as it diverted Italian artistic and technical talent from domestic production” (8). The Mussolini regime saw the potential of cinema and used commissioned newsreels and documentary films for their propaganda machinery. The LUCE (L’un- ione cinematografica educativa), which focused on producing fascist documentaries, was enacted in the 1920s. The Venice Film Festival was established in 1932, and the Cinecittà studios were founded in 1937. In the same year Mussolini’s son Vittorio vis- ited Hollywood and one year later Mussolini allocated the ENIC (Ente nazionale indus- trie cinematografiche), a monopoly in the movie industry which banned the American studios MGM, Paramount, 20th Century Fox and Warner Brothers from the Italian mar- ket. Cooperation between both film nations did not resume until after the war in 1948, when American films were again allowed into Italy. The miracolo economico (economic miracle) of the 1950s had an enormous effect on cinema. American filmmakers re- turned to Rome which became a haven for actors, directors and the international jet set. In the 1950s and 60s, Cinecittà received the title ‘Hollywood on the Tiber’, becom- ing a magnet for talents around the world. It lured, in particular, American actors and directors as more than 5,000 movie theaters were closed in the United States in the aftermath of WW2 (Prickette 2012, 120-121). Bondanella states that the Italian film industry of the 1960s thrived because of international financing, American money and the quite reasonably prized Italian and Spanish locations. Italian directors, actors and camera men frequently concealed their identity behind English pseudonyms, like Carlo Pedersoli, who turned into Bud Spen- cer38 and Mario Girotti, who became Terence Hill (Bondanella and Pacchioni 2017, 396). In the 1960s and 70s, Italy’s popular cinema boom became indisputable and the filoni started to have an impact on American filmmakers too.
The transatlantic exchange of ideas and themes between Italian and American film has continued from the 1960s until the present day. In the past fifty years, there have been far fewer milestones that mark critical intersections in the relationship between these two cin- emas. But as American cinema became ascendant in Italy as well as elsewhere in mass
38 Bud Spencer played one time in a giallo, in Argento’s QUATTRO MOSCHE DI VELLUTO GRIGIO. 90 culture, the influence of Italian directors and themes remained pervasive, although largely unacknowledged. (Carolan 2014, 12)
However, numerous American directors have conceded that they have been admirers of Italian cinema and have, therefore, been influenced by their cinematic craft. Some American filmmakers have even filmed at Cinecittà.39 After Cinecittà’s privatization in 1999, Jack Valenti, chief of the Motion Picture Association of America, in cooperation with the Italian cinema community, laid the foundation for importing more Italian films to American cinemas (Regis 2009, 57-58).
In reality, US directors and studio chiefs had their eyes set once again on Rome, lured back by Cinecittà’s upgraded post-production facilities. The strong dollar, Italy’s offer of diverse scenic locations, excellent set and costume designs, rising costs at Shepperton Studios from 1997, and especially the favourable production conditions offered by Cinecittà Studios were fundamental elements for Hollywood’s return to Cinecittà. (58)
Starting in the new millennium, the American production and distribution company Miramax started to invest in Italian cinema. Miramax has invested directly in Cinecittà and in numerous Italian productions, particularly in projects which might be appealing to American audiences, mainly movies consisting of nostalgia, melancholia and allur- ing women. One of these films, MALÈNA (Italy/USA 2000, dir.: Giuseppe Tornantore,
MALÈNA), used Monica Bellucci’s staggering sensuality (59-f). Between 2003 and 2005, Cinecittà expanded its infrastructure and has taken over the studios in via Pontina (the former Dinocittà) and Ouarzazate in Morocco. The latter is located in the North African desert and is larger than any studio in the United States or Europe. The Ouarzazate studios have been used for American productions, such as GLADIATOR (USA 2000, dir.: Ridley Scott), ALEXANDER (USA/GB 2004, dir.:
Oliver Stone), KINGDOM OF HEAVEN (USA/GB/Germany/Morocco 2005, dir.: Ridley
Scott) and the television series GAME OF THRONES (USA 2011-2019, dir.: various) (60- 61). Unquestionably, Italian cinema has had a pivotal role in global cinema. Italy was not only one of the first countries where motion pictures played a substantial cultural role, it has also been a magnet for auteurs who have lived out their cinematic dreams. Cinecittà studios, the directors’ craft and the city of Rome have been a major attraction for American filmmakers and actors alike. In the 1960s and 70s, countless American
39 Francis Ford Coppola (THE GODFATHER III, USA 1990), Anthony Minghella (THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY, USA 1999), Michael Hoffman (WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE’S A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM, USA 1999), Philip Haas (UP AT THE VILLA, USA/GB 2000), Jonathan Mostow (U-571, USA/France 2000), Martin Scorsese (GANGS OF NEW YORK) and Wes Anderson (THE LIFE AQUATIC WITH STEVE ZISSOU, USA 2002). 91 actors appeared in popular Italian cinema, filone, including gialli. Undoubtably, Italian films have influenced American directors, and some have openly and emphatically acknowledged the influence. One such director is Martin Scorsese who claims that he has “always been a fan of Italian cinema. For that reason, when the opportunity arose to shoot GANGS OF NEW YORK at Cinecittà, I jumped at that chance” (Carolan 2014, 1). Francis Ford Coppola has also openly admitted that “Cinecittà is like all the studios that I know best, because it, like Hollywood, is a place where you can do anything, and do it well” (1). Quentin Tarantino, the master of grindhouse cinema, has likewise de- clared being “a huge fan of the Italian mafia movies. Especially like the films of Fer- nando di Leo” (Tarantino, An interview with Quentin Tarantino 2008). There are open admirers of Italian film in Hollywood, but then there are those, such as Brian De Palma, who accepts being influenced by Hitchcock’s craft, but refuses his giallo-esque pen- chant, although it is clearly evident in several movies.40 The transatlantic exchange of ideas has had an effect on actors, directors, distributors, but also on genres. On the one hand, the giallo’s style started inducing directors and other genres and its traits have been incorporated into American productions. On the other hand, a new genre known as the slasher arose in the United States, which was highly influenced by the giallo.
40 Brian de Palma and his Americanized gialli will be analyzed in an upcoming chapter. 92 3.1. A NEW GENRE EMERGES - THE SLASHER
I think the reason that all these slasher movies came in the ’80s was a lot of folks said, ‘Look at that HALLOWEEN movie. It was made for peanuts and look at the money it’s made. We can make money like that. That’s what the teenagers want to see,' […] "So they just started making them, cranking them out. Most of them were awful.” – John Carpenter, 2016. (qtd. R. Parker 2016)
It is generally assumed that the slasher, a subcategory of the horror film, had its gen- esis with John Carpenter’s HALLOWEEN (USA 1978). Although it is often argued that the first examples were PSYCHO or PEEPING TOM (UK 1960, dir.: Michael Powell), many still falsely believe that HALLOWEEN is “the first official slasher movie” (Dimare 2011, 1085).
“The terror that emanated from the blade of Michael Myers, followed by the carnage of FRIDAY THE 13TH(1980), was to have an unprecedented impact, and for the next few years these two films inspired an onslaught of knife-wielded maniacal killers” (Normanton 2012, 16).
Undoubtably, HALLOWEEN and FRIDAY THE 13TH have influenced countless other slash- ers – a genre which rose to prominence in ‘The Golden Age of the Slasher’ between
1978 and 1984 – resulting in a myriad of rip-offs of the FRIDAY THE 13TH franchise41, like
SLEEPAWAY CAMP (USA 1983, dir.: Robert Hiltzik), sequels, and other backwoods slasher movies. In all of them a maniac slaughters primarily teenagers, for instance in
DON’T GO IN THE WOODS (USA 1981, dir.: James Byron), MADMAN (USA 1981, dir.: Joe
Giannone) and JUST BEFORE DAWN (USA 1981, dir.: Jeff Lieberman). It is quite challenging to define the slasher, but Kerswell puts it perfectly together by stating what a slasher is:
A blend of horror and thriller conventions (from earlier films that could be dubbed ‘proto slashers’), it is a ‘cat and mouse’ movie, usually involving a number of teenage victims, as its most basic. The murders are mostly outlandish and bloody, invariably involving the killer brandishing a knife, a machete, an axe – or any number of other sharp objects – at his victims, usually with deadly consequences. While the location of the slasher movie varies greatly, usually to give the somewhat familiar storyline some individual identity, venues such as fairgrounds, campsites, and dorm rooms are generally used as a way of isolating the doomed young cast. The killer is usually driven by a perceived injustice from the past, often related either to the location where most of the action takes place or to one or all of the people in the terrorized group. The stalker is often (but not always) male, disfigured, masked, and also – usually by the last reel at least – quite psychotic. He or she may pos- sess seemingly supernatural powers of regeneration and is likely to be found leaping into the frame for one last scare at the film’s climax. Increasingly, he or she is hardly enough to show up again in a sequel. (Kerswell 2018, 9-12)
41 The franchise marketing began soon after the first FRIDAY thrived at the box office, resulting in eleven upcoming sequels. The last one was a remake of the first version, released in 2009. 93 The majority of these traits should seem familiar to readers of this dissertation, as they were mentioned in the chapter on the giallo. Hence, it is paramount to acknowledge that HALLOWEEN should not be considered as the catalyst for the slasher, but instead, the giallo. This hypothesis has been addressed by few scholars, particularly Koven, yet it has been widely overlooked in most horror movie analysis.
3.1.1. The Giallo Influence on Slasher Movies
The giallo diversified into several filone, and the main aim of these strands was to titillate and entertain audiences, while focusing on contemporary interests and trends. Hence, the giallo frequently converged with other genres, like thriller, poliziottesco, softcore, sex film, exploitation and horror. Intersections developed within the horror- giallo too, such as the gothic, supernatural (giallo-fantastico), and although there is no official definition for it, the ‘slasher-giallo’. The initial cinematic offering in this category was REAZIONE A CATENA by Mario Bava in 1971. Another notable representative is Ser- gio Martino’s I CORPI PRESENTANO TRACCE DI VIOLENZA CARNALE from 1973. What makes these two movies so special and atypical to other gialli is “the high level of graphic gore” (Howarth, 2015: 169). One year after Argento’s debut, Bava returned to the giallo, bringing more blood- shed, as he knew that Italian audiences were looking for more carnage, in REAZIONE A
CATENA, concluding, Bava produced the first modern slasher prototype. The film starts with a bizarre murder scene of Countess Cristina, who is murdered by her husband. The husband is subsequently stabbed to death by an unknown killer. After this incident several characters are introduced, most of them greedy heirs who try to seize the lavish estate. Compared to other gialli, women are presented here as strong characters, not a common trope in gialli of that time, “which often reduced the women to objects of lust or menace” (170).
94 22.214.171.124. Friday the 13th - A Blatant Imitation of Reazione a Catena
Most of the thirteen killings in REAZIONE A CATENA are so unique and impressive that it is not difficult to spot the influence on FRIDAY THE 13TH. In particular, the sequel, FRIDAY
THE 13TH – PART 2 (USA 1981, dir.: Steve Miner) copied two death scenes almost shot for shot. In the first, Mark (Tom McBride), who is bound to a wheelchair, is killed by Jason Vorhees with a machete to the face. The same ruthless killing was applied in Bava’s slasher-giallo ten years earlier, where Bobby (Roberto Bonanni) is whacked with a machete in his face. Bobby belongs to a group of four teenage partygoers who arrive at a cabin intending to party, but all of them are slaughtered by the psychotic killer. The perpetrator enters the cabin, sneaks in the bedroom and finds a couple, Duke (Guido Boccaccini) and Denise (Paola Montenero), who are having sex. The killer takes a spear from the ground and stabs it through Denise’s back, who is lying on top of Duke. After Mark is killed in FRIDAY THE 13TH – PART 2 by Jason, he enters the cabin and sneaks into the bedroom and kills Jeff (Bill Randolph) and Sandra (Marta Kober) with a spear. The whole sequence, starting with the machete killing and then with the spear murder, was copied from Bava’s giallo, as Miner also applied some minor details, like the spearhead being depicted after penetrating the lovers.
Bobby’s killing (REAZIONE A CATENA) Mark is butchered with a machete (FRIDAY THE 13TH – PART 2)
The couple killed with a spear (REAZIONE A CATENA) Sandra in trepidation as she sees the killer and the spear (FRIDAY THE 13TH – PART 2)
The spearhead penetrates the bodies and mattress (REAZIONE) The spearhead is drilled through both bodies (FRIDAY THE 13TH)
Although the scenes are so similar, both directors, Steve Miner and Sean S. Cunning- ham, denied that they had ever seen REAZIONE A CATENA before (Rockoff 2015, 72).
Cunningham’s statement seems credible, because the first part of the FRIDAY THE 13TH franchise did not include such blatant references. Miner’s assertion did not satisfy the fans, because “the similarities were too pronounced”, notes Rockoff. Moreover, Rockoff presents a theory how Miner might have been affected by Bava’s film. Ron
Kurz, the writer of PART 2, collaborated closely with Phil Scuderi, whom he credits with suggesting the aforementioned death scenes. Scuderi, seen as the shadowy financier of FRIDAY THE 13TH and LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT (USA 1972, dir.: Wes Craven), ran
Hallmark Releasing. One of the films he distributed was REAZIONE A CATENA, which was retitled by him as LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT 2 (72). Kevin Kondo adds that REAZIONE A
CATENA played at one of Scuderi’s theaters in 1972. Moreover, his partner Stephen Minasian met Bava in the 1960s or early 70s (Konda 2018). “They must have fed
TWITCH’s [REAZIONE A CATENA’s] best moments and basic premise to Cunningham and the gang and pawned it off as their own original creation” (Konda). Additionally, Martin
Kitrosser, the script supervisor for the first FRIDAY movie adored Bava’s craft so much that he named his own son Mario Bava Kitrosser. Kitrosser advised Cunningham and Scuderi to dedicate the film to the Italian director as he saw direct imitation in the first movie too, but his demand was rejected.42
Other giallo-esque similarities can also be found in FRIDAY THE 13TH – PART 2. The film begins with a recollection of the gruesome happenings at Crystal Lake. Trau- matized Alice (Adrienne King), who decapitated Jason Vorhees’ mother Pamela (Betsy Palmer), recollects the grizzly attacks at Crystal Lake, which are shown as flashbacks.
42 Kitrosser continued working for the FRIDAY THE 13TH franchise as a writer for FRIDAY THE 13TH: THE FINAL CHAPTER – PART 4 (USA 1984, dir.: Joseph Zito) and FRIDAY THE 13TH: A NEW BEGINNING – PART 5 (USA 1985, dir.: Danny Steinmann). 96 Moreover, all killings are emphasized as point-of-view shots, in particular from the per- spective of Jason. The murder weapon, be it a machete or a spear are seen through the eyes of a point-of-view shot, a technique common to the giallo. A Peeping Tom, observing two adolescents kissing in the cabin, is featured in FRIDAY as well. The her- mit Crazy Ralph (Walt Gorney) – who also played the same character in the first FRIDAY – is killed by Jason while he is watching the teenagers. An identical scene can be found in I CORPI PRESENTANO TRACCE DI VIOLENZA CARNALE. Here, the reclusive voyeur, spying on two girls having sex, is attacked and killed by the madman. Another essential fea- ture in FRIDAY are teenagers in peril, a trait which regularly appears in slashers. In
REAZIONE A CATENA the four teenagers are all killed by the maniac, as are the main characters in I CORPI PRESENTANO TRACCE DI VIOLENZA – young, attractive college stu- dents – slaughtered one after the other. Finally, FRIDAY uses a pastoral, isolated land- scape for Jason’s abhorrent killing spree, something which is usually uncommon in the giallo as most of them play in urban locations, with only a few exceptions, REAZIONE A
CATENA and I CORPI PRESENTANO TRACCE DI VIOLENZA CARNALE.
126.96.36.199. Slasher Versus Giallo
The two ‘proto-gialli’ REAZIONE A CATENA and I CORPI PRESENTANO TRACCE DI VIOLENZA
CARNALE presented several tropes and traits which became pervasive in the slasher. Although gialli tend to take place in urban settings, the two Italian prototypes are set in rural settings. REAZIONE A CATENA uses the picturesque setting of Lago di Fogliano in
Latino for its infamous thirteen murders. The first half of I CORPI PRESENTANO TRACCE DI
VIOLENZA CARNALE is set in urban environment, while the rest takes place at an isolated mansion in the mountains, in the village of Tagliacozzo in L’aquila. Slasher movies have found favor in the same settings as these two proto-gialli. Most of them transpire in smaller towns, suburbs, villages, woods and camping grounds, and only a few are set in large towns. Therefore, the slasher’s preference for periphery juxtaposes the giallo’s predilection for urbanity. According to Pat Gil, in slashers “the suburban haven, away from the dangers of the city, not only fails to protect its children, it has become the breeding ground of living nightmares unknown to urban landscapes” (Gill 2002, 16). Another striking element in slashers is the depiction of adolescents in hazard who do not get any help from their parents or relatives. The only aid the teenagers get is from their friends, who are usually murdered too. Gill notes, “What is striking about
97 most of these films is the notable uselessness of parents, their absence, physically and emotionally, from their children’s lives. Teens must deal with the extraordinary resilient monsters on their own” (17). Teenagers are not the traditional victim types in gialli, as middle-aged individuals are usually slaughtered, with the notable exceptions of REA-
ZIONE A CATENA and I CORPI PRESENTANO TRACCE DI VIOLENZA CARNALE. The latter is about young college students who are assaulted by a psychotic madman. Some characters are introduced, such as the American student Jane (Suzy Kendall), Daniela (Tina Aumont) and Stefano (Roberto Bisacco), an obsessive stalker with the affection for fierce sex. After two female students are strangled with a scarf by an attacker wearing a white ski mask, Daniela recognizes whom the ascot tie might belong to. The entire school is in hysteria and Daniela and her friends decide to leave town and stay at a secluded mansion in a small village for a couple of days. “At the villa, the girls massage each other after taking baths; drink; smoke; do some nude sunbathing; have lesbian sex; and trip down long staircases, severely inuring [sic] their legs” (The Horror Club 2016).
American film poster of I CORPI PRESENTANO TRACCE DI VIOLENZA CARNALE
After some initial titillating scenes, the film turns into a nightmare as we learn that the stalker has followed the girls to their retreat. Martino built up tension with a twenty-five- minute ending which was unique at that time, also within the giallo. After Jane wakes up in the morning she discovers that all her friends were murdered and mutilated by the assassin and soon afterwards a cat and mouse game starts between her and the attacker, who is finally revealed to be professor Franz. I CORPI PRESENTANO TRACCE DI
VIOLENZA CARNALE is seen in some reviews as a catalyst for the American slasher genre, which started a couple of years later, but not with HALLOWEEN. Luisito González comments that “Watching TORSO [the American title] is like seeing a ‘making of’ feature
98 for the entire slasher category. There is so much that was definitely borrowed from this for the template and it is done here with such panache that you have rarely seen it bettered [sic]” (González 2012).
188.8.131.52.1. The Final Girl
Another remarkable feature of I CORPI PRESENTANO TRACCE DI VIOLENZA CARNALE is Jane’s role as a final girl. Carol Clover introduced this term when referring to the female heroine in American horror films. Clover believes that the final girl “is the one who encounters the mutilated bodies of her friends and perceives the full extent of the pre- ceding horror and of her own peril; who is chased, cornered, wounded; whom we see scream, stagger, fall, rise and scream again” (Clover 1992, 35). Jane has to undergo an identical scenario as she finds her friends butchered and is later chased by the lunatic with the ski mask. She is hit, choked, wounded, and must endure much agony until Dr. Roberto (Luc Merenda) saves the day and kills Franz. Although Clover reck- ons that the final girl “alone looks death in the face, but she alone also finds the strength either to stay the killer long enough to be rescued (Ending A) or to kill him herself (Ending B)” (35). Besides these attributes, Jane can be regarded as the archetypical final girl when examining her role in full while quoting Clover’s additional definition of this impersonation:
[The Final Girl is] the one character of stature who does live to tell the tale […] She is introduced at the beginning and is the only character to be developed in any psychological detail. We understand immediately from the attention paid it that hers is the main story line. She is intelligent, watchful, level-headed; the first character to sense something is amiss and the only one to deduce from the accumulating evidence the pattern and extent of the threat; the only one, in other words, whose perspective approaches our won privileged understanding of the situation. (44)
I CORPI PRESENTANO TRACCE DI VIOLENZA CARNALE can be seen as the precursor of all slashers, because Jane is introduced at the beginning of the film; the psychological examination shows that she is the strongest of all female characters in the film and thus, only she has the strength to endure misery. Moreover, she keeps a clear head and plays a cat and mouse game with the killer who has slaughtered all her friends, but she also has to suffer hardship before Dr. Roberto saves her. I CORPI PRESENTANO
TRACCE DI VIOLENZA CARNALE is not the only film to incorporate a final girl, countless gialli have depicted women being tortured and molested by crazed psychos. Some-
99 times, the women strongly resist the attacks and either kill the perpetrator(s) or manip- ulate them, but more often the heroines receive help from male ‘helpers’ – mostly from amateur sleuths who assist in their investigations – when they challenge the killer. Undoubtably, the final girl has its roots in the giallo. Although gialli generally portray weak female characters, occasionally, strong heroines, such as Julie Wardh (Edwige
Fenech) in LO STRANO VIZIO DELLA SIGNORA WARDH, are outstanding personifications of a final girl. Julie, who is driven insane by her husband, her ex-partner and her current lover, who even all try to kill her, exposes the men to the police at the conclusion of the film. The final girl – a character seen in various American slashers, for instance Lau- rie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) in HALLOWEEN, Alice Hardy (Adrienne King) in FRIDAY THE
13TH or Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) in SCREAM (USA 1996, dir.: Wes Craven) – was initially employed in the giallo and in the ‘slasher-giallo’ I CORPI PRESENTANO
TRACCE DI VIOLENZA CARNALE, which is seen by Owens as a “‘hybrid’ because it has obvious roots in gialli, but was released at the end of that era and often plays as an early slasher“ (Owens 2018). Moreover, Owens argues that “it would be nice to call
TORSO the movie that either bridges the gap between the two genres or passes the baton to a new genre” (Owens 2018). Therefore, I categorize it, including REAZIONE A
CATENA and DELIRIA as a ‘slasher-giallo’, because it consists of additional tropes and its center of attraction is a maniac on the loose who has a craving for bloodshed and kills everyone who is trying to obstruct this process. American slashers share the same idiosyncrasies, as Jason Vorhees (FRIDAY THE 13TH), Michael Myers (HALLOWEEN),
Freddy Krueger (A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, USA 1984, dir.: Wes Craven), and Matt
Cordell (MANIAC COP, USA 1988, dir.: William Lustig) all kill owing to their longing for carnage and they execute anyone who crosses their path. The majority of gialli belong to the classic giallo. The boundaries among gialli frequently overlap, but it is still possible to assign them to subcategories. From the canon of approximately 500 gialli, the ‘slasher-giallo’ is quite rare. This has also been observed by Koven who notes that “it must be said that the Italian slasher movie is a rarity” (Koven 2006, 168). Despite the fact that all the three mentioned ‘slasher-gialli’ thrived, “the slasher movie never really seemed to grab Italian vernacular audiences, at least not in such a way as to warrant emulation” (168). It might be considered that Italians thought that these movies were regarded as old-fashioned and the people were
100 reminded of the classics which diminished immensely after its heyday between 1970 and 1975. 184.108.40.206.2. The Slasher as a Filone
A horror movie that depicts “groups of teenagers menaced by a stalker, set in domestic or suburban spaces frequently by young people, the only a survivor a female who (in the early cycles) has not participated in underage sex” (Cherry 2009, 6) is categorized by Cherry as a slasher. The SCREAM tetralogy fits perfectly into this category, focusing on teenage bloodshed in the American small-town of Woodsboro. The killer’s target, final girl Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell), embodies the virginal character as she hasn’t had sexual intercourse with her boyfriend Billy (Skeet Ulrich) whom she has been dating for a couple of years (and who is one of the killers in part 1). Even Sidney, who is terrorized by the maniac on the phone, defines a slasher to be a movie where “some stupid killer [is] stalking some big-breasted girl who cannot act”.
Billy Loomis trying to kill Sidney Prescott (SCREAM)
Gill notes that “combining inventive violence and a clever, eerily evocative suburban mise-en-scène with engaging, believable, contemporary teen protagonists and a su- perhuman killer” (Gill 2002, 16) are the key elements for a slasher film. HALLOWEEN would adhere to such a definition of slasher as Michael Myers – a supernatural killer who is set on fire, shot more than a dozen times, loses an eye, is beaten to death with a metal pipe, shot in the face, plummets from a house, stabbed and decapitated – withstands all these atrocities and reappears in numerous sequels. Hence, the super- natural element is the impossibility in defeating the monster.
Michael Myers decapitated in HALLOWEEN H20
Clover offers a similar definition of a slasher, but adds a few elements: “The killer is the product of a sick family, but still recognizably human; the victim is a beautiful, sex- ually active woman; the location is not-home, at a Terrible Place; the weapon is some- thing other than a gun; the attack is registered from the victim’s point-of-view and comes with shocking suddenness” (Clover 2015, 74). TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE (USA 1974, dir.: Tobe Hooper), inspired by the Ed Gein murders, revises this template, telling the story of five young people who travel with a minivan through Texas. On their trip they get stuck in a desert wasteland and go to an abandoned house where they are killed one-by-one by a degenerated, cannibalistic family and their offspring, Leath- erface, a maniac who slaughters the teenage victims with a chainsaw and who hides his face behind three masks: the killing mask, the old woman and the pretty woman mask. At the end, only one victim survives, Sally (Marilyn Burns), the final girl.
The Sawyer family and Leatherface
“Slashers, being part of the horror genre, haven’t been readily accepted by the aca- demic community” (Pedritis 2014). Pedritis is right, since only a few other scholars have analyzed this issue. For instance, Carol J. Clover focused on the aspect of gender and sexuality in horror movies in Men, Women, and Chain Saws (1993); Vera Dika evaluated the structuralist approach of the slasher in The Stalker Film 1978-1982
102 (1987), thus being a pioneer in this field of study. Mikel Koven, examined the slasher in the article The Terror Tale: Urban Legends and the Slasher Film (2003). It should be noticed that Clover and Dika do not allude to the giallo connection at all, and Koven mentions this filone only in the following reference:
There is some connection between the slasher film and Italian giallo books and movies, most notably that Mario Bava's REAZIONE A CATENA (1971 […]) was the inspiration for FRIDAY THE 13TH. But furthermore, the giallo films of both Bava and Dario Argento have much in common with the "Scooby-Doo"-like murder mysteries. (M. J. Koven 2003, 15)
Nevertheless, Koven comes to the conclusion that although slasher movies share sim- ilar tropes, they belong to three different categories, which he “would now characterize as filone, appropriating the term from the Italian” (Koven 2006, 162f). The first type, ‘Terror tale’ films, is based on urban legends and teenagers are primarily the protagonists, but also the prime victims. The attackers are usually known, they are not analyzed psychologically nor are their murderous intentions for their urge to kill examined in detail. Typical locations for the killing spree are university campuses, campsites, schools, intending (Koven 2003, 11) “to perpetuate a climate of fear and random violence where anyone is a potential victim” (Freeland 2018). Typical exam- ples of this filone are HALLOWEEN, FRIDAY THE 13TH, THE BURNING (USA/Canada 1981, dir.: Tony Maylam) and URBAN LEGEND (USA/France 1998, dir.: Jamie Blanks). The second category covers ‘Psycho Character Studies’ films which try to in- vestigate the psyche of the crazed killers. According to Koven, this type of slasher is the least common, but I suggest that in recent years, the number of horror films that fulfil this criterion have increased. Here, “the killer and his illness and motivation are explored both psychologically and sociologically in an attempt to understand the cul- tural phenomena of serial killers” (Koven 2003, 3), and this category encompasses titles like MANIAC (USA 1980, dir.: William Lustig), SILENT NIGHT DEADLY NIGHT (USA
1984, dir.: Charles E. Sellier Jr.), HENRY: PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER (USA 1986, dir.:
John McNaughton) (3), MANIAC COP, STEPFATHER (USA 2009, dir.: Nelson McCormick) and the remake of the original version of 1980, MANIAC (USA/France 2012, dir.: Franck Khalfoun). The third kind of slashers is called ‘Scooby-Doo’ movies, named after the chil- dren’s animated television series, which deals with a gang of teenagers who solve mysteries. In contrast to the other types, the ‘Scooby-Doo’ slashers involve a human killer, often trying to explain the killings as parts of legends. These slashers are usually
103 “gory murder mysteries […] where the ‘game’ for the audience is to attempt a hypoth- esis as to whom the killer may be out of a set group of people” (2). The slashers that apply the ‘Who is the killer?’ formula are amongst the most frequent exponents, thus they are the ‘classics’ of this genre. They can be compared to the ‘classic giallo’ which shares similar tropes as ‘Scooby-Doo’ slashers: a disguised murderer who kills people with knives and blades. Often their strong desire for killing has a reason, such as an event in the past and/or extreme traumas which were the impetus for the bloodshed. Dika opines that different actions of a ‘past event’ formed the killer’s trauma and the first part of the film (either at the beginning or presented with flashbacks) unveils the killer’s traumatic preceding event:
The members of a young community are guilty of a wrongful action. The killer sees an injury, fault, or death. The killer experiences a loss. The killer kills the guilty members of the young community. (Dika 1987, 93f)
My contention is that Koven’s so-called ‘Scooby-Doo’ slasher is definitely the one which has been influenced the most by the Italian giallo, as both share not only the ‘whodunit’ concept, but also the traumatic ‘past event’ which can be seen in Monica
Ranieri’s (L’UCCELLO DALLE PIUME DI CRISTALLO) traumatization, as she was brutally at- tacked by a rapist as an adolescent ten years prior before becoming a killer herself. The harrowing past experience is the stimulus in a number of gialli, but a disturbing occurrence also bothers the victims or main protagonists, which is perceivable, for in- stance, in SPASMO, as Christian (Robert Hoffmann) and his brother Fritz (Ivan Rassi- mov) are still grieving over their father’s tragic death, who died when they were chil- dren, and have been very close ever since. At the end we learn that the two have had homicidal tendencies. Christian’s mental problems began as a child and he murdered several people, although throughout the movie it seemed him to be the victim and Fritz being the actual killer. For the siblings the horrifying childhood incident of their father’s lunacy has been traumatizing them for over two decades and Fritz “must confront his unfortunate past, acknowledge a horrifying present and embrace a tragically depress- ing future” (Filmwalrus 2007) at the end of the film when unveiling his brother to be the madman. SPASMO ends with the depiction of Fritz, entering a room full of naked man- nequins and stabbing them while looking into the mirror and hearing the doctor’s words, “The mental disease of his father and brother is hereditary”. Dika points out that a slasher also comprises a second part, set in the present day, and here, the assailant returns to take revenge on those who caused their prior
104 trauma. “The killer begins his bloody task, alternatively observing the actions and the bodies of his young victims, and then killing them” (94). This is then the moment where “a heroine emerges from the group of the young people, sees the killer, and does battle with him” (94), but she does not name the brave woman as a final girl. Dika lists nar- rative functions which symbolize the second part of a slasher, the ‘present event’, and almost all of them are applicable to the giallo. Hence, Dika’s narrative theory of the ‘present event’ amplifies the giallo’s ramification on this American horror sub-genre.
Present Event An event commemorates the past action. The killer’s destructive impulse is reactivated. A seer warns the young community. The young community takes no heed. The killer stalks the young community. The killer kills members of the young community. The heroine sees the murders. The heroine does battle with the killer. The heroine subdues the killer. The heroine survives but is not free. (94)
The aspects listed above concur with norms present in the giallo, with one exception; the ‘young community’ is replaced by a ‘bourgeoise middle-aged society’. There are gialli which focus on adolescents, such as COSA AVETE FATTO A SOLANGE? (college girls in London), PHENOMENA (boarding school for girls in the Swiss Alps), REAZIONE A CA-
TENA (four teenage partiers), I CORPI PRESENTANO TRACCE DI VIOLENZA CARNALE (a group of young students), L'ULTIMO TRENO DELLA NOTTE (two teenagers who travel by train from
Munich to Italy), SUSPIRIA (teenage members of a ballet school in Munich) and TRAUMA
(a girl with eating disorders), but the majority incorporate characters between the ages of thirty to forty. Koven contends that the giallo and the slasher diverge in time frame. While the events in the giallo tend to take place over several days and nights, the horrific inci- dents in slashers tend “to get compressed into a single night or a couple of nights at best” (Koven 2006, 162). The extension of the period of time in gialli allows for the amateur sleuth’s investigation, in contrast to the slasher’s focal point; survival. Koven’s theory is partially correct, as I agree that ‘Terror tale’ slashers apply this formula, re- sulting in Jason Vorhees’ and Michael Myers’ bloodshed in only one single night, but the ‘Scooby-Doo’ slashers are generally stretched over a couple of days.
105 220.127.116.11. A Socio-Historical Examination of the American Slasher
HALLOWEEN is regarded by numerous scholars to be the genesis for the slasher, but I suggest that this view is inaccurate, as four years prior to HALLOWEEN, BLACK CHRIST-
MAS was released, and should be considered the first slasher produced on North Amer- ican soil. Clark incorporated giallo-esque elements in his film, and hence, set some crucial rules for this subgenre. BLACK CHRISTMAS should be seen as the stimulant for the ‘classical period’ of the slasher. This subgenre of slasher has been popular within the horror genre for over four decades, but the formula has changed over time. Con- cepts and rules which defined the slasher genre during the initial classical period were revamped and sometimes dropped during the age of the meta-slashers and neo-slash- ers. Petridis states that it is vital to differentiate between slashers and he sees the classical period to begin in 1974 and lasting up to the mid to late 1980s. The postmod- ern period, which I refer to as the meta-slasher, occurred in the 1990s and the neo- slashers have emerged since the new millennium (Pedritis 2014, 76). The following section will examine the socio-historical approach of the giallo-inspired slashers and define the characteristics and concepts which have been implemented in the American examples.
18.104.22.168.1. The Classical Slasher
As mentioned previously, I assert that BLACK CHRISTMAS was the prototype of the North
American slasher, as it was released four years prior to Carpenter’s box office hit HAL-
LOWEEN. The slasher was a North American phenomenon in the late 1970s and 80s.
However, it is imperative to note the importance of the Italian proto-slasher REAZIONE
A CATENA, which not only introduced the rural location for the gruesome killings of thir- teen individuals, but also an inconsequential sub-plot. Harper calls it “a historical ac- count of the roots of the slasher movie” (Harper 2004, 179). Normanton notes, “Its significance in slasher folklore cannot be underestimated for this minor masterpiece is now acknowledged as being the precursor to FRIDAY THE 13TH (1980) and the genera- tion that followed” (Normanton 2012, 32), but I suggest that Normanton errs stating that “the evolution of the slasher genre began with John Carpenter’s HALLOWEEN (1978), before descending into the mayhem of the 1980s” (33).
106 BLACK CHRISTMAS is regarded to be one of the most pivotal Canadian horror films and a gem of ‘Canuxploitation’ – a term linked to independent Canadian filmmak- ing – launching with the collaboration of the Canadian film duo John Dunning and An- dré Link in 1962. They founded Montreal-based Cinépix, later Lionsgate, and both were responsible for the swift progress of Canadian productions, such as David Cronen- berg’s SHIVERS (Canada 1975) and Ivan Reitman’s MEATBALLS (Canada 1978), but it was Clark’s BLACK CHRISTMAS that became one of the best known examples of the
Canuxploitation movement (Billington and Wringley 2016, 5). BLACK CHRISTMAS was Cinépix’s first horror film, but not the last of the so-called Canadian tax shelter films that were produced in Canada between 1975 and 1982. The government allowed in- vestors to deduct 100 per cent of their investment in Canadian films from their taxable income. This resulted in a gigantic growth of Canadian film productions. Quentin Tar- antino’s favorite slasher, MY BLOODY VALENTINE (Canada 1981, dir.: George Mihalka)
(Magder 2017) was another successful classic of ‘Canuxploitation’ including HAPPY
BIRTHDAY TO ME (Canada 1981, dir.: J. Lee Thompson) which “is widely regarded by genre aficionados as one of the finest entries in the ‘slasher’ cycle” (Billington and Wringley 2016, 5). American director Bob Clark was one of the most remarkable contributors to the tax shelter era when he arrived in Canada in 1972 and directed his third movie, BLACK
CHRISTMAS, and as Corupe claims “generally acknowledged as North America’s first slasher film” (Corupe 2019). One year before his death, Clark disclosed in an interview that “BLACK CHRISTMAS is both a cult film and a successful commercial film and has been considered by quite a few people as the seminal slasher horror” (Clark 2006). Moreover, he revealed that he was the one who gave Carpenter the impetus to direct
After I made BLACK CHRISTMAS, John Carpenter asked if I was going to do a sequel, but I said "No, I don't intend to, I'm not here to make horror films, I'm using horror films to get myself established. If I was going to do one, though, I would do a movie a year later where the killer escapes from an asylum on Halloween, and I would call it Halloween." As John has pointed out, the movie he was offered already had that title, and he wrote a screenplay. And then several movies ripped BLACK CHRISTMAS off. (Clark 2006)
The film is packed with various giallo-esque characteristics and “bears many of the hallmarks of the slasher frenzy that would sweep across the film industry as the decade drew to a close” (Normanton 2012, 77). Clark’s story includes a sorority house, packed with beautiful female students who are being stalked by an indistinct figure through the window, applying the point-of-view technique. The prowler enters the mansion through
107 an attic window, becoming an intruder in a ‘safe environment’, a feature frequently used in gialli, like in SEI DONNE PER L’ASSASSINO (where the killer invades his victim’s apartment and kills her there) or the madman’s home invasion in L’UCCELLO DALLE PI-
UME DI CRISTALLO, resulting in the slaughter of a young woman. In BLACK CHRISTMAS, the housebreaker starts calling the girls in the sorority house and over time the phone calls become obscene and grotesque.43
The telephone terror, which will later be a crucial element in the slashers WHEN
A STRANGER CALLS (USA 1979, dir.: Fred Walton) and SCREAM, was first seen in the giallo, and in countless gialli the killer calls his victims using distinctive red or black telephones. Instead of employing a rural location, the preferred locale of slashers,
Clark offered up a sorority slasher which spawned several such films, including THE
HOUSE ON SORORITY ROW (USA 1983, dir.: Mark Rosman) and its remake SORORITY
ROW (USA 2009, dir.: Steward Hendler), THE INITIATION (USA 1984, dir.: Larry Stewart),
SORORITY HOUSE MASSACRE (USA 1986, dir.: Carol Frank) and KILLER PARTY (USA 1986, dir.: William Fruet). The genesis of a maniac who kills adolescents in a protected environment, such as a college, was set with the gialli LA RESIDENCIA (Spain 1970, dir.:
Narciso Ibáñez Serrador), COSA AVETE FATTO A SOLANGE?, SUSPIRIA and PHENOMENA.
Another significant reference to COSA AVETE FATTO A SOLANGE? is the fact that here and in BLACK CHRISTMAS the female character is pregnant and intends to abort the preg- nancy. While the character Solange dies of a miscarriage in COSA AVETE FATTO A
SOLANGE?, Jessy (Olivia Hussey) survives in BLACK CHRISTMAS. Moreover, Jessy starts investigating the disappearance of her housemates, who are menaced in succession by the killer. Hence, Jessy assumes the role of the amateur detective – a crucial giallo element – and tries to solve the crime. The students have been murdered by the ma- niac whom he locks away like trophies in the attic, reminiscent of CINQUE BAMBOLE PER
LA LUNA D'AGOSTO where the protagonists are executed in succession and stored in cold storage. Finally, John Saxon plays the police chief of town in BLACK CHRISTMAS. Saxon, who starred in several gialli, was the main protagonist in the proto-giallo LA RAGAZZA
CHE SAPEVA TROPPO. Like Carpenter, Clark avoided excessive gore despite the fact that the body count continued to rise steadily. Instead he opted for tension and carefully planned scenes which evoke panic and terror with the killer hiding in the house. On its release,
43 The dialogue was too obscene for the BBFC which removed it for the British release when the killer shouts “Let me lick ya, you pretty piggy cunt”, and, “I’ll stick my tongue up your pretty pussy”. 108 the film was considered to be a thriller, but the additional tropes of an enigmatic mad- man using knives and hooks for his murder spree of beautiful girls are redolent of the giallo. Normanton notes that “Carl Zitterer’s score added to this impression of this Ital- ian trend, as he skillfully augmented the sense of perturbation” (Normanton 2012, 78). Normanton also observes that only now has the film received positive critiques, although it was nominated as ‘Best Horror Film’ by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror in 1976, it was seen as clichéd and exploitative at that time. The film also received a nomination for ‘Best Motion Picture’ at the Edgar Allan Poe Awards in the same year. Normanton contends that “The cliché at this point can have only been derived from gialli such as Mario Bava’s landmark A BAY OF BLOOD (1971), be- cause North American cinema had not attempted a film of this ilk and on such a scale”
(78). For many years BLACK CHRISTMAS, the story line which had been inspired by a series of homicides during Christmas time in Quebec, was not seen as a slasher, but more as a thriller due to the lack of gore and blood and was, thus, not even mentioned when referring to the slasher canon. A remake was released in 2006, which included more bloodshed and violence than the original, but omitted the ambiguity of Clark’s disturbing finale (77).
22.214.171.124.2. Borrowing from the Italians
Due to the financial success of initial slasher films like BLACK CHRISTMAS, THE TEXAS
CHAINSAW MASSACRE and HALLOWEEN, filmmakers began shooting low-budget slashers in the late 1970s and early 80s, resulting in a myriad of ‘lowbrow’, and a few ‘highbrow’ examples. Nearly all horror movies were generically assigned to the slasher category at that time, and films like FRIDAY THE 13TH, SLEEPAWAY CAMP and PROM NIGHT (Can- ada 1980, dir.: Paul Lynch) all had a masked murderer slaughtering primarily young females on campsites or college campuses in isolated locations without any possibility of escape. After numerous adolescents are slaughtered, a female tends to survive and the killer is exposed as either a traumatized boy who started this murder rampage in an attempt to avenge his mother’s death (FRIDAY THE 13TH), or a male teenager who witnessed the death of his friend while playing hide-and-seek at an age of eleven and who seeks to avenge the death seven years later, resulting in the murder of any chil- dren who were connected to the friend’s death (PROM NIGHT).
109 While revenge is not a common motivation for killers in the giallo, the way the murderer executes his victim correlates with the Italian counterparts. None of the ma- niacs in the slasher use guns or rifles, their preferred weapons of choice are household implements such as switchblades, knives, razorblades, hammers, axes, and technical gadgets, such as electric drills. Identical ways of killing can be identified in the giallo, starting with SEI DONNE PER L’ASSASSINO. The most iconic element of slashers are the murder weapons, and each franchise is identified by the tools of murder on display, claims Pedritis (Pedritis 2019, 12). Jason Vorhees prefers wielding a machete, Michael Myers a knife, Leatherface his chainsaw, Freddy Krueger sports a tailored blade glove, Pinhead is partial to hooks and chains, and Candyman is a master with a meat hook. Pedritis builds on Clover’s theory of sexual punishment and expounds that the weap- ons in the slashers are “phallic symbols and the murders can be perceived as an alle- gory of the penetration itself as part of a sexual act” (12). Clover’s and Pedritis’ theory of the phallic motif is accurate, but the origins go back to Argento’s œuvre, beginning with L’UCCELLO DALLE PIUME DI CRISTALLO. Argento implemented the phallus as a symbolic structure and that fetish is visible in the objects he uses. The killer’s outfit is again tailored from leather (jacket, gloves, hat), and weap- ons (knives and razorblades). These characteristics became staple features in Ar- gento’s movies, even in his gialli-fantastico. Besides Argento, other giallo directors have made use of the phallic fetish, but Argento was the initiator, as the gialli which had been produced before 1970, including Bava’s, focused on the killer and the attacks without any allusion to phallic obsession. The victims, starting with the giallo, followed by the slasher, are predominantly women in misery and agony who have had to endure an assailant’s assault.
Argento’s fetish in L’UCCELLO DALLE PIUME DI CRISTALLO Freddy Krueger’s murder tool: his bladed fingers
110 An additional interrelationship can be identified between PROFONDO ROSSO and HAL-
LOWEEN. PROFONDO ROSSO starts with bloodshed and in a later flashback young Carlo is depicted, holding the blood-smeared knife which his mother used to kill Carlo’s fa- ther. This might have inspired John Carpenter’s opening sequence beginning with a POV-shot showing the stabbing of a young female. The six-year-old Michael Myers is shown holding a knife smeared in blood, having just killed his older sister.
Carlo holding the blood-smeared knife in PROFONDO ROSSO Michael after stabbing his sister in HALLOWEEN
A further correlation between the slasher and the giallo is the disguised killer. These deranged murderers conceal their identity behind masks, hats and gloves. Michael Myers wears a ‘Captain Kirk’ mask, while Jason Vorhees hides his mutilated face be- hind an ice-hockey mask. Such disguises allow both to be portrayed as faceless and inhuman individuals. “This ‘inhuman effect’ is especially pronounced when audiences can’t see a slasher’s eyes. […] Thus, masks not only anonymize and depersonalize, they also dehumanize” (Sipos 2010, 63). The most legendary slasher killers seem to be inhuman, but the giallo killer has always been a human being, belonging to both genders, and is not depicted as a supernatural entity, capable of surviving bullets or fires. Generally, the slasher tolerates uncanny, supernatural perpetrators who return in sequels, although they are often killed at the end of the film. However, several slash- ers apply the giallo-esque, human killer, and these slashers do not nurture or allow for sequels and the killer’s death at the end of the movie concludes the thematic and nar- rative process.44
44 The single slasher sequel depicting a human killer is the SCREAM series, consisting of four movies. The killers vary in each movie and their identity is concealed at the end of each part. The primary victim remains Sidney Prescott. Each of the killers has different motives, but all are related to Sidney Prescott’s life. In PART 1 the killer is Billy, her boyfriend, and his friend Stu. In SCREAM 2 Billy’s mother avenges her son’s death and executes several people. Roman Brider, Sindey’s half-brother is the killer in PART 3.
111 Another analogy between this type of slasher and the giallo is the killer’s gender. While the supernatural maniacs are solely males, the ‘humanized’ killer is occasionally a female, as in the giallo. Notorious females committing abhorrent murders were first seen in SEI DONNE PER L’ASSASSINO, but Bava used Christina (Eva Bartok) as a submis- sive character who commits murders because of her obedience to the husband Max (Cameron Mitchell). Argento changed this relationship and Alberto Ranieri functions as an ‘aide’ killer, helping his mentally-ill wife to commit her murders. Such female murderers have continued to cause bloodshed – (as main culprits) – in several gialli, like Nina Tobias (Mimsy Farmer, QUATTRO MOSCHE DI VELLUTO GRIGIO), Silvia Hacher- man (Mimsy Farmer, IL PROFUMO DELLA SIGNORA IN NERO), Caroll Hammond (Florinda
Bolkan, UNA LUCERTOLA CON LA PELLE DI DONNA), Jane Baxter (Bernice Stegers, MACA-
BRO), and Anna Manni (Asia Argento, LA SINDROME DI STENDHAL), to name only the most well-known characters and gialli. The female giallo perpetrator, who had not been com- mon in American horror films until the emergence of the slasher, might have influenced slasher producers employing women as assailants, such as Pamela Vorhees (Betsy
Palmer) in FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 1.45
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME was a groundbreaking slasher, distinguishing itself from other contemporary slashers. By 1981, horror movies had become mainstream and were no longer aired at drive-ins and grindhouses. When HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME was released, Columbia Pictures focused on birthday-themed publicity movie posters, pro- moting it as “Six of the most bizarre murders you will ever see” and “Warning: Because of the bizarre nature of the party, no one will be seated during the last ten minutes… PRAY YOU’RE NOT INVITED.” Film critics did not praise the movie on release, and
Vincent Canby of The New York Times from May 15, 1981 claimed that “HAPPY BIRTH-
DAY TO ME looks like a comparatively expensive rip-off of such teen-age-and meat- cleaver films as FRIDAY THE 13TH and PROM NIGHT. […] it’s a mystery-horror movie with a fatal flaw – the denouement, in which a half-dozen grisly murders are explained”
(Billington and Wringley 2016, 14). At the end of HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME, the killer is revealed to be Ann, who disguises herself as her friend Virginia and who dons a latex
Sidney did not know anything about his existence, and he reveals that Sidney’s mother became preg- nant after she had been raped while being an actress in Hollywood. In the final installment the murderer is Jill, Sidney’s cousin. 45 Other examples are: Angela (Felissa Rose, Pamela Springsteen) in the franchise SLEEPAWAY CAMP, Tiffany (Jennifer Tilly) in BRIDE OF CHUCKY (USA 1998, dir.: Ronny Yu), the mother (Susan Strasberg) in SWEET SIXTEEN (USA 1983, dir.: Jim Sotos), Virginia/Ann (Melissa Sue Anderson) in the ‘Canuxploita- tion’ horror HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME, Samantha Sherwood (Samantha Eggar) in CURTAINS (Canada 1983, dir.: Richard Ciupka) and Eleanor (Rachel Ward) in NIGHT SCHOOL (USA 1981, dir.: Ken Hughes). 112 mask. She kills in several ways. The first victim, Bernadette (Lesleh Donaldson), is slashed with a razorblade, the second, Etienne (Michel-René Labelle), is choked as his scarf is wrenched by the spokes of a motorcycle, and the third, Greg (Richard Re- biere), is killed when a weight bar is dropped on his neck while lifting weights. In this college slasher, director J. Lee Thompson included a plethora of giallo traits, for in- stance a female killer wearing leather gloves and the slashing of people with razor- blades; an ‘internal’ killer (a member of the group) as in Lenzi’s GATTI ROSSI IN UN LABI-
RINTO DI VETRO; recurring flashbacks, POV-shots and split-diopter shots.
The killer’s hallmark in HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME – leather gloves and The female killer wearing a latex mask, pretending to be Virginia a razorblade
CURTAINS, another Canuxploitation slasher, exhibits several gialli tropes, but differs from other genre representatives due to its lack of adolescent victims. A director (John Vernon) is in the process of casting his next film and invites actresses to his remote mansion in the mountains where the murders take place. The film begins with an open- ing shot showing an unknown person burning pictures over a fireplace. This scene is redolent of Argento’s opening shot in TENEBRE, where an unidentified person is seen tearing out parts of a book and throwing them into a fire. The coloring is quite vivid as Ciupka used excessive colors and contrasts, similar to Bava’s gialli. Another correla- tion is the emphasis of dolls, reminiscent of Bava’s SEI DONNE PER L’ASSASSINO, IL
ROSSO SEGNO DELLA FOLLIA and Lenzi’s SPASMO. However, the strongest similarity to the giallo is that of the two female killers. Ciupka shows both seducing each other by touching their breasts and kissing each other. The highlight of CURTAINS is the killing of one of the girls (Lesleh Donaldson) while ice skating on a pond. The killer hides his identity behind an old hag mask, black leather gloves and chases the girl on ice skates, shot partly in slow motion, making this scene quite memorable. Ultimately, the girl can- not escape, and the murderer slashes her throat with a scythe. CURTAINS’ narrative
113 structure reminds of L’ASSASSINO HA RISERVATO NOVE POLTRONE and CINQUE BAMBOLE
PER LA LUNA D'AGOSTO, because all show individuals who are murdered and no one survives, akin to the plot in Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None (1939).
The old witch disguise in CURTAINS The killer slashing his victim’s throat
NIGHT SCHOOL depicts murders at a night school in Boston where students are decap- itated with a machete. The suspect, an anthropology professor (Drew Snyder) who is known to have seduced some of the victims, is the prime suspect. The film’s plot re- sembles I CORPI PRESENTANO TRACCE DI VIOLENZA CARNALE, as both integrate a profes- sor as a killer, as well as a college setting. At the film’s finale, the actual killer, Eleanor, the professor’s mistress, is unveiled to be the maniac. She terrorizes the female stu- dents that had an affair with the professor, her lover. She hides her identity behind a leather motorcycle gear, reminding of two other gialli, LA POLIZIA CHIEDE AIUTO and NUDE
PER L'ASSASSINO. In NIGHT SCHOOL the killer is chased by the police and its director,
Ken Hughes, included a pursuit sequence which is identical to that in Dallamano’s LA
POLIZIA CHIEDE AIUTO. Both killers flee from the police with their motorcycles and the
‘inept’ police have difficulties following them. I suggest that perhaps Bianchi’s NUDE
PER L'ASSASSINO has had the most significant influence on NIGHT SCHOOL, as in both movies, individuals are decapitated by a killer in a leather motorcycle gear who is ex- posed to be a woman at the end of the film. NIGHT SCHOOL exhibits a variety of giallo traits, such as lechery, promiscuity, a disguised female killer, the narrative structure and explicit graphic violence. Thus, due to its apparent giallo roots the film is reviewed even by contemporary critics to be “more like a Giallo than an American slasher” (Horror Movie a Day 2014).
The madman in NIGHT SCHOOL murdering females with a machete The maniac in LA POLIZIA CHIEDE AIUTO disguised in a motorcycle gear and killing with a machete
A further parallel between slashers and gialli is the explicit depiction of sex and pro- vocative behavior. Beginning with IL DOLCE CORPO DI DEBORAH, sexuality is a constant and crucial component in the giallo, and later in the slasher. In the slasher, adolescents often engage in provocation by smoking, taking drugs, drinking alcohol and having sex. Identical demeanor can be observed by characters in the giallo, mostly performed by adults, with one exception, I CORPI PRESENTANO TRACCE DI VIOLENZA CARNALE, which deals with teenage students who are killed by professor Franz. According to Pedritis, delinquent behavior by teenagers in American slashers are portrayals of the socio- political repercussions of the Reagan presidency – who was in office from 1981 to 1989 – as the “country entered a more conservative socio-political era” (Pedritis 2014, 79). Pedritis leans on William Palmer’s theory, claiming that in the 1980s, as previously in the 50s, American social history was propagated through movies. In the 1980s the fear of urban problems, such as “homelessness, drugs, disease, crime, racism seemed to be moving outward and infecting small-town America. The major issue of American social history of both decades were strikingly similar and were exposed and dissemi- nated to a mass audience through the movies” (Palmer 1995, x). An identical approach can be detected in the Italian filone as the anni di piombo, a period of social and political chaos in Italy between the late 1960s and early 80s. The social backdrop had a tremendous impact on Italian filmmaking, resulting in the pro- duction of numerous poliziotteschi, which, together with the gialli mirrored the political and social instability. Hence, it can be argued that films often try to convey contempo- rary social anxieties, which is evident in the slasher and in the giallo. According to Pedritis, “the interplay between the conservative ideas of Reagan’s era and the AIDS epidemic provides the basis for the punishment of the sexual act in slasher films of the
115 classical period. The narratives of these films are about young people who have un- protected sex and then die” (Pedritis, 2014, 80). At that time, mainstream society au- tomatically associated AIDS with homosexuality and Pedritis points out “that the killer is often a male with homosexual or even transsexual characteristics. […] A homosex- ual figure kills sexually active, straight teenagers because they don’t obey the rules of the conservative community” (80). Pedritis associates these issues with the American Reaganite-yuppie eighties, but the slasher’s sexual elements, intertwined with horrific killings, had been a core trope of the giallo, having an undoubted effect on the slasher. Moreover, the statement that “the cross-dressing killer had become such an overused stereotype that it is now some sort of a cliché” (80) is apocryphal, because my research unearthed only one slasher of the classic period which employs a transgender killer; namely SLEEPAWAY CAMP.46 In the first installment of this franchise, Angela Baker (Fe- lissa Rose) witnesses the death of her father John (Dan Tursi) and her brother as a child. In a flashback it is revealed that her father had a homosexual relationship and that the children saw their father having sex with another man. The flashback is akin to the giallo UNA LUCERTOLA CON LA PELLE DI DONNA. Lucio Fulci used as well a flashback to show the intimacy between two females (Florinda Bolkan and Anita Strindberg). The focus in Fulci’s scene is the two lovers cavorting on a red bed with a black backdrop.
In SLEEPAWAY CAMP Angela’s flashback shows her father in bed with another man as they kiss and fondle each other, again, with a dark backdrop.
Angela’s father (right) in bed with his boyfriend The two lovers in UNA LUCERTOLA CON LA PELLE DI DONNA
A further connection between SLEEPAWAY CAMP and the giallo is the method of killing.
One of the murders in SLEEPAWAY CAMP sees the killer plunge a hot curling iron into
46 DRESSED TO KILL is frequently characterized as a slasher. The killer in DRESSED TO KILL is a transves- tite, but although the film contains two typical slasher traits – the murder weapon and disguise – I argue that it should be classified as an American giallo-thriller. 116 the vagina of the victim. This horrific act alludes to some gialli, such as GIALLO A VENE-
ZIA (scissors are stuck into the genitalia of a prostitute); L'ULTIMO TRENO DELLA NOTTE (a knife is dug into the pudendum); COSA AVETE FATTO A SOLANGE? (a knife is stabbed into the vulva); and LE FOTO DI GIOIA (vagina is poked with a burning stick). At the end of
SLEEPAWAY CAMP, Angela is exposed to be transgender, showing her naked with a penis and smeared in blood, and it is revealed that the brother did not die in the acci- dent, but indeed his sister, Angela. Peter (Frank Sorrentino) was adopted by his aunt Martha (Desiree Gould), who always wanted to have a girl. Peter’s trauma of losing his father and sister and additionally, being raised as a girl, triggered his psychosis and later desire to kill. The often-held assumption that transgender or transsexual killers are a common norm in the slasher and in the giallo is false. My extensive research has revealed that only a mere handful of films include a transgender maniac, like DRESSED
TO KILL (Dr. Elliott), THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS (Jame Gump or also known as Buffalo
Bill; USA 1991, dir.: Jonathan Demme) and TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE: THE NEXT
GENERATION (Leatherface; USA 1995, dir.: Kim Henkel).
126.96.36.199.3. The Meta-Giallo and its Impact on the Meta-Slasher
Meta-slashers are self-referential and intertextual. “The term ‘meta’ is a post-modern idea that a piece of work is self-aware, and subverts mainstream conventions, or in this context subverting horror tropes, all the while making/implying to different texts, otherwise known as intertextual references” (Chandler 2016). The classical period of slashers was from the mid-1970s to the mid-80s, with the release of multiple titles. The majority were low-budget horror films which have become cult-slashers, like HALLOW-
EEN, FRIDAY THE 13TH, MANIAC COP and NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET. Although all clas- sified as slashers, there is much diversity among the plots and tropes. Whereas most slashers have an immortal and faceless killer, some have normal human beings as perpetrators. Such slashers display significant similarities with the giallo. Starting the mid-1980s, the appeal of the slasher diminished among audiences with the result of fewer films being produced and released. After a short hiatus the slasher resurged in the mid-1990s with the release of Wes Craven’s SCREAM and Jim
Gillespie’s I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER (USA 1997). These postmodern meta- slashers differed from their predecessors due to the added elements of parody, sar- casm, homage and intertextuality. The basic characteristics stayed untouched, but
117 meta-slashers “started to mock the conventions of the classical period by self-referen- tial elements in the narrative. […] [Moreover] slasher films of the 1990s played with this predictability and included hyperconscious characters that knew the formula of the subgenre and were trying to alter it” (Pedritis 2014, 80).
SCREAM is an outstanding example of a film packed with self-referentiality and intertextuality. Director Wes Craven refers to almost twenty horror films, the majority of which coming from the classical period. Some of the mentioned films in SCREAM exhibit several giallo-esque features and were profoundly influenced by the giallo, such as
TERROR TRAIN (USA/Canada 1980, dir.: Roger Spottiswoode), HALLOWEEN, FRIDAY THE
13TH, CARRIE (USA 1976, dir.: Brian De Palma), PROM NIGHT and THE TOWN THAT
DREADED SUNDOWN (USA 1976, dir.: Charles B. Pierce). SCREAM begins with Casey Becker (Drew Barrymore) who receives an anonymous phone call asking her about her favorite scary movie. Casey mentions HALLOWEEN, FRIDAY THE 13TH and NIGHT-
MARE ON ELM STREET, and then the caller is revealed to be a masked sadistic killer who murders Casey with a knife after only a few minutes into the movie. Further correlations can also be determined. The killer’s intrusion into the vic- tim’s home is a regular trope in the giallo as in SEI DONNE PER L’ASSASSINO and in future gialli, the killer only invades the homes of females. A further analogy is the focus on telephone harassment. Telephones were a crucial prop and narrative device in the filone and a myriad of gialli utilized either black or red telephones. The killer usually phones their victims in the giallo. One of the most iconic killers is Peter in Lucio Fulci’s
LO SQUARTATORE DI NEW YORK, calling and quacking like a duck. Slashers started to borrow the notion of telephone terror from the Italians with BLACK CHRISTMAS and WHEN
A STRANGER CALLS, a slasher about an urban legend of babysitters who receive phone calls from a man who eventually kills the children. SCREAM employed telephone terror to great effect, and revolutionized telephone harassment in the slasher, introducing the act to a new generation of horror fans. Moreover, gialli often show police detectives and departments, creating the need for amateur sleuths to try and solve murders.
SCREAM presents the Woodsboro police as inept and incompetent, especially the bum- bling deputy sheriff Dewey Riley (David Arquette), as he attempts to solve the crime. As in the giallo, amateur detectives are mostly the ones who solve the crime, as in
SCREAM, where the Sidney Prescott character unmasks Billy and Stu as the killers. The concept of two killers committing ferocious crimes was first seen in SEI DONNE PER L’AS-
SASSINO, and Dario Argento applied this formula not only in L’UCCELLO DALLE PIUME DI
118 CRISTALLO, but also in TENEBRE. The notion of two or more maniacs can also be ob- served in LO STRANO VIZIO DELLA SIGNORA WARDH, TUTTI I COLORI DEL BUIO and REAZIONE
A CATENA, before being adopted in North American slashers, such as CURTAINS and
Although scholars, as Pedritis claim that “SCREAM […] introduced the elements of self-referentiality and intertextuality to the subgenre” (Pedritis 2014, 81), the first giallo, LA RAGAZZA CHE SAPEVA TROPPO, includes self-referential patterns in the opening set piece. Nora reads the giallo novel The Knife while on her flight to Rome. Argento also utilized intertextuality and transmediality. In the opening sequence of L’UCCELLO
DALLE PIUME DI CRISTALLO, for instance, yellow giallo Mondadori novels are clearly visi- ble at a newsstand, while the victim, an attractive female, is being observed by the perpetrator who is taking pictures of her. It might be argued that Bava’s and Argento’s intention was to establish a connection to the popular giallo mystery novels which had been popular in Italy for decades. This form of intertextuality is exhibited in several later gialli, especially in Dario Argento’s INFERNO, TENEBRE and NON HO SONNO. Instead of indicating the fictional influence, like in the giallo, “Wes Craven con- tinued his experiments in self-referentiality with the successful film SCREAM, a slasher film where the killer is highly and explicitly aware of the tropes of the slasher, and the potential victims must be aware of these tropes in order to survive” (Clayton 2015, 10). Craven and scriptwriter Kevin Williamson – who also wrote the script for the meta- slasher I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER – dismantled the original classical slasher tropes, in particular the punishment of sexuality and lust. “Postmodern slasher films deconstruct the subgenre’s central concern – that is, the relationship between sex and death – by suggesting that the Final Girl need not remain virginal to survive and that such films need not adhere quite so stringently to the virgin/whore dichotomy” (Olson and Reinhard 2017, 102). Craven and Williamson inserted mocking intertextual and self-referenced connections to older horror films and slashers. SCREAM character Randy Meeks (Jamie Kennedy) even introduces infamous rules on how to survive a horror film while the adolescents are watching HALLOWEEN.
There are certain rules that one must abide by in order to successfully survive a horror movie. […] 1) You can never have sex. The minute you get a little nookie you're as good as gone. Sex always equals death. 2) Never drink or do drugs. The sin factor. It's an ex- tension of number one. And 3) never, ever, ever, under any circumstances, say “I will be right back”. (Scream 1996)
119 Intertextual elements were crucial for meta-slashers and another pivotal example is
HALLOWEEN H20: 20 YEARS LATER (USA 1998, dir.: Steve Miner). Pedritis observes that,
Its self-referential and intertextual elements include Jimmy (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) wearing a hockey mask just like Jason’s from the FRIDAY THE 13TH franchise, or when Molly (Michelle Williams) is in class and sees the killer outside the window, something that is reminiscent of a scene with Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis) from the first HALLOWEEN. There are also elements that connect the film to the most well-known pre-slasher film, PSYCHO. Janet Leigh, who was Marion in PSYCHO, plays the secretary of the school, Norma, in this film. There is a scene where she speaks with the character played by Curtis, Laurie. In their dialogue there is the quote: ‘If I could be maternal for a moment…’ which is a reference to reality, because Leigh is Curtis’s mother. After this dialogue, Leigh leaves in a car of the same model as the car from PSYCHO [it was exactly the same car which was used in PSY- CHO], while the music playing in the background is also from this film. Even the license plate is the same as the one in the second car Marion buys in PSYCHO. (Pedritis 2014, 81)
The postmodern period, momentous for the slasher, helped the genre to re-establish itself, diverge and develop, similar to the gialli of the 1980s. The giallo began to lose favor with audiences around 1975 and by 1976 production nosedived, owing to the oversaturation witnessed in the years previous.47 Even Dario Argento turned away from classical gialli tropes and concentrated on the giallo-fantastico, with projects like
SUSPIRIA and INFERNO. After a six-year hiatus, in which mainly ‘lowbrow’ gialli were produced, Argento resurrected the genre with the meta-giallo TENEBRE, setting new standards. The film is self-reflective regarding the tropes which had been prevalent years before and Argento put all of them together into one film. TENEBRE not only in- cludes an American protagonist travelling from New York City to Rome, but it features:
an amateur sleuth who witnesses a crime
a female helper a disguised killer wearing a black coat and leather gloves
a second killer who starts his murder spree after the first perpetrator is killed flashbacks unravelling the disturbed character’s traumatization
a razorblade as murder weapon threatening phone calls and finally
excessive violence which was new for Argento.
47 1975 marked the last year in the production of renowned gialli. During 1976 and 1982 the number of gialli declined drastically and within this period only 24 gialli were released. Out of them only two, IL GATTO DAGLI OCCHI DI GIADA and SOLAMENTE NERO can be classified as ‘highbrow’. 120 Hence, Howarth notes that “one almost gets the sense that Argento intended for the film to be his final word on the genre” (Howarth 2015, 107-108). Moreover, TENEBRE also displays intertextuality:
The story is one of the most ingenious in all of Argento’s films. It adopts the format of a metacinematic commentary on the giallo genre as a whole, with particular focus on Ar- gento’s role in it. Peter Neil is an obvious stand-in for the director. He is a successful giallo novelist whose books have sold millions of copies worldwide. He faces critics and detrac- tors who accuse him of practicing misogyny in his works and he is also confronted with a deranged fan whose love of his work has turned into an obsession. (106)
After TENEBRE’s domestic success, Italian moviegoers began to become aware and warm to American slashers. They recognized multifarious giallo-esque tropes with some additional characteristics. A transformation process was occurring in Italian pop- ular cinema, turning Michele Soavi’s DELIRIA into “part slasher film, part giallo and part dark comedy” (138). The meta-slasher’s end did not occur abruptly, but in succession. Although some titles of the early millennium, such as URBAN LEGENDS: FINAL CUT (Canada 2000, dir.: John Ottman) and VALENTINE (USA/AUS 2001, dir.: Jamie Blanks) can be regarded as the final meta-slashers, the transformation to neo-slashers was transpired in and around 2002, with a new list of tropes becoming the crucial elements.
188.8.131.52.4. Neo-Slasher in Comparison to Neo-Gialli
The slasher genre witnessed a swift revival in the 1990s, which lasted for approxi- mately six years. During that time, slasher characteristics were revamped and the for- mer crucial constituents, the final girl and sexual portrayal were converted into a re- laxed and non-chaste representation. Moreover, another attribute, intertextuality, was added, giving the slasher a modern look. Around 2002, slashers morphed yet again, due to socio-political events in the United States and the attack on the World Trade Center in 2001. “The United States entered a conservative period that was ideologi- cally very similar to the 1980s and focused on ‘family values’. What stigmatized the presidency of Bush and forced society into conservative beliefs was the War on Terror, which was a result of the events of 9/11” (Pedritis 2014, 82). Where in the 1980s the AIDS virus caused major concern, the new millennium disseminated a fear of terrorism, and both factors had a huge impact on contemporary horror films. While lavish sexu- ality was an elementary ingredient in the 1980s slasher, neo-slashers “viewed horror as the perfect medium for re-presenting 9/11 and its aftermath” (Briefel and Miller 2011, 121 1). Soon after the 9/11 attacks Robert J. Thompson, a professor of media and popular culture at Syracuse University, claimed in a The New York Times article,
The horror movie is just sitting there waiting to deal with this. […] It is one of the most versatile genres out there, a universal solvent of virtually any news issue. And it is now perfectly positioned to cop some serious attitude, to play a role where it's not simply a date movie but going further back, to the 1950's, where you have the horror movie as metaphor. (Lyman 2001, 58)
The horrific events of 9/11 had an immense influence on horror cinema, indeed, the new subgenre, torture porn, emerged. Since 2002 the narrative core of mainstream horror has been on familiar folklore monsters, whether it be zombies as in WORLD WAR
Z (USA 2013, dir.: Marc Forster), marauding giant monsters in CLOVERFIELD (USA
2008, dir.: Matt Reeves), home-invasion films (THE STRANGERS, USA 2008, dir.: Bryan
Bertino), or in remakes of popular horror films (THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, USA 2003, dir.: Marcus Nispel). The reincarnations focus much more on notions of xeno- phobia and revenge (Briefel and Miller 2011, 225). TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE was the first remake and others immediately followed. Many were faithful to the originals in terms of giallo tropes, like BLACK CHRISTMAS (USA/Canada 2006, dir.: Glen Morgan).48 Kevin J. Wetmore argues that the American slasher remake mixes two ele- ments, “a nostalgia for a time in which America was strong (or at least perceived as strong on defense and the promotion of sexual morality), and the fear and nihilism of the post-9/11 horror film, resulting in an uneasy balance” (Wetmore 2012, 196). Alt- hough the 2000s remakes exhibited similarities, an extensive transformation occurred in the depiction of gore and violence, becoming more morbid, intense and extreme. The sexual component was severely curtailed, and sex is not a major issue in remake slashers any more. Pedritis suggests that after the 9/11 attacks the subgenre began investigating how evil was created. Such a shift in focus is discernible, for example, in the HALLOWEEN remake of 2007. In the original version from 1978, Michael, at an age of six, kills his sister without reason. The film’s focus is not the analysis of Michael’s warped psyche, but on the killings. The 2007 remake dedicates almost half of the movie into investigating how/why Michael turned into a monstrous creature and we see his problematic family, his tormented childhood and the unstable social environment in which he was raised.
48 Further examples are WHEN A STRANGER CALLS (USA 2006, dir.: Simon West), HALLOWEEN (USA 2007, dir.: Rob Zombie), PROM NIGHT (USA/Canada 2008, dir.: Nelson McCormick), MY BLOODY VALENTINE (USA 2009, dir.: Patrick Lussier), HALLOWEEN II (USA 2009, dir.: Rob Zombie), FRIDAY THE 13TH (USA 2009, dir.: Marcus Nispel) and MANIAC. 122 Furthermore, the victims in neo-slashers are selected differently compared to classical slashers. There is a distinctive lack of moral values in neo-slashers. The chaste and virginal final girl has no place in neo-slashers, as AIDS is no longer a threat to sexually active and responsible teens in the 2000s. The focal point of neo-slashers is terrorism. Victims are chosen randomly, mirroring the 9/11 attacks where many Americans were killed indiscriminately (Pedritis 2014, 83). “In post-9/11 America, the fear of pointless death is one of the main concerns. This social anxiety became part of the neo-slashers formula” (83). A transformation took place in gialli as well. Beginning in 2001, the interest in neo-gialli grew, resulting in numerous international and national productions. In the
1990s, the giallo almost vanished and Dario Argento shot only two gialli, TRAUMA and
LA SINDROME DI STENDHAL, during that time. Argento resurrected the giallo once again, as he had done previously with the meta-slasher TENEBRE in 1982 – with NON HO SONNO in the early 2000s. Although the classic giallo imprint is detectable, the film is more animalistic and bloodier than his earlier offerings. In 2004, OCCHI DI CRISTALLO (It- aly/Spain/UK 2004, dir.: Eros Puglielli, EYES OF CRYSTAL) was released, and the giallo was praised for reviving interest in the almost forgotten genre. It was hailed to be an outstanding gem of a giallo at the German Fantasy Film Fest of 2005 and therefore, the genre celebrated a brief comeback (Fantasy FilmFest 2005). The British online reviewer Hysteria Lives notes that,
EYES OF CRYSTAL did the impossible – resurrecting a seemingly moribund genre with prob- ably the finest example of the giallo since Argento last hit his stride with OPERA (1987) – almost twenty years ago. Whether this rude, but welcome, reawakening is just a once off or a new dawn remains to be seen. (Hysteria Lives n.d.)
Undeniably, OCCHI DI CRISTALLO has become one of the most prominent neo-gialli pro- duced over the last two decades. It changed and adapted some giallo conventions, as the killer uses guns instead of razorblades and knives. However, standard giallo tropes are still detectable, like the visual focus on eyes, the typical killer’s disguise and the hunt for a serial killer. Moreover, violence towards beautiful women is highly sexual- ized, equal to the older gialli, and furthermore, the use of close-ups and color filters, famous techniques of the genre, are still detectable. After OCCHI DI CRISTALLO, which was co-produced by Rai Cinema Italy, countless low-budget gialli were released in Italy and abroad. Scheinpflug suggests that two divergent neo-gialli sectors were born, the inter- national and the Italian, each focusing on different aspects. While the Italians have
123 continued sticking to the classic giallo-concept – only applying some minor updates – the international neo-gialli paid more an homage to the giallo. AMER, the most eminent international neo-giallo production, adheres to iconic giallo conventions, such as the use of primary colors, set pieces of excessive violence and eroticism, the fetishism of objects, eyes and black leather gloves, yet Scheinpflug argues that the film cannot be read as a giallo, but more of a drama-thriller (Scheinpflug 2014, 221-236). “Hélène
Cattet and Bruno Forzani’s AMER is the ultimate homage to the Italian giallo, a dormant genre cherised [sic] by a generation of cinéphiles nurtured on home video” (Laperrière 2009), claims Laperrière in an interview which he conducted with Bruno Forzani. For- zani admitted being a huge fan of the giallo, but noted he did not want to make a pastiche. To avoid this, he consciously mixed two genres, the exploitation cinema with experimental cinema, constructing a unique neo-giallo homage, but setting “aside the police procedural part of the genre and [keeping] only the fetishistic side of key gialli sequences” (Laperrière 2009).
Cattet and Forzani have directed two other neo-gialli, L’ÉTRANGE COULEUR DES
LARMES DE TON CORPS (Belgium/France 2013, dir.: Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani,
THE STRANGE COLOR OF YOUR BODY'S TEARS) and LAISSEZ BRONZER LES CADAVRES (Bel- gium/France 2017, dir.: Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani, LET THE CORPSES TAN). Both films apply the same formula as in AMER. Besides these titles, other international neo- gialli tried to pay tribute to that Italian filone, such as LUST FOR VENGEANCE (USA 2008, dir.: Sean Weathers) and FRANCESCA (Argentina/Italy 2015, dir.: Luciano Onetti). The
French-Hongkong production, LES NUITS ROUGES DU BOURREAU DE JADE
(France/Hongkong 2010, dir.: Julien Carbon, Laurent Courtiaud, RED NIGHTS), com- bined “elements of the Italian Giallo, German Krimi films and European espionage thrillers to create something that is both unique and quite exotic” (Richards 2012), and even the filmmakers refer this horror-erotic thriller “as a Hong Kong giallo with mystery, murders, fetishism and women” (Horrorpedia 2014). Compared to neo-slashers, which have focused predominantly on remakes, neo-gialli filmmakers have chosen another path and have diverged into two categories; the national and the international neo-giallo. Each subgenre has different focal points. While terrorism and the 9/11 attacks have reshaped the slasher, the Italians have re- mained loyal to the giallo formula and to its original tropes. Although Italy was dragged into the Iraq War in 2003, sending almost three thousand troops to the combat zone to fight against terrorism, this has not influenced the gialli at all. The international neo-
124 gialli, on the other hand, have expressed their gratitude and respect to the giallo differ- ently. They pay homage to this ‘lost’ genre in films, without labeling them as gialli. Remakes have been very uncommon in the giallo filone, and Italians have never re- made any giallo, in comparison to American filmmakers who have produced two re- makes so far, STAGE FRIGHT (USA 2014, dir.: Jerome Sable), based on Michele Soavi’s
DELIRIA (the film was released in the US as STAGE FRIGHT) and SUSPIRIA (USA/Italy 2018, dir.: Luca Guadagnino), a remake of Dario Argento’s eponymous giallo-fantas- tico.
125 3.2. AN AMERICAN EQUIVALENT: THE AMERICAN GIALLO THRILLER
“Thriller – a book or a movie with an exciting story, often about crime – Italian translation: giallo”. (Cambridge Dictionary n.d.)
The term ‘thriller’, common in film studies, describes a genre of movies that conveys “intense excitement, suspense, a high level of anticipation, ultra-heightened expecta- tion, uncertainty, anxiety, and nerve-wracking tension” (Dirks n.d.). Such films were, up to the 1960s, often referred to as suspense movies. According to Rubin, “the label thriller is widely used but highly problematic […] [because] setting out to define the subject, it might seem impossible and vague” (Rubin 1999, 3). Today, TV guides cat- egorize films in genres, and one of the best represented categories is the thriller. How- ever, Rubin suggests that “the way this label is applied seems more arbitrary than illuminating” (3), as movies are often incorrectly classified. Rubin claims that the Amer- ican television series THRILLER, which was hosted by horror idol Boris Karloff, and aired on NBC from 1960 to 1962, was partly responsible for the misconception of the genre definition ‘thriller’. The show presented a wide-ranging assortment of “ghost, horror, mystery, spy, gangster, and crime stories – all backed up by the host’s authoritative assertion ‘Let me assure you, my friends, this is a thriller!” (3). The first examples of ‘thrillers’, although advertised at the time as ‘suspense’ movies, were the American film SAFETY LAST (USA 1923, dir.: Fred C. Newmeyer, Sam Taylor) and the German movie M, a ‘serial killer’ suspense movie about the child mo- lester and murderer Hans Beckert (Peter Lorre). The story was inspired by the real events of Peter Kürten – better known as ‘The Vampire of Düsseldorf’ – a German serial killer who murdered teenagers. It is also vital to name Alfred Hitchcock as the originator of the suspense film. ‘The Master of Suspense’ “helped to shape the modern- day thriller genre, beginning with his early silent film THE LODGER (1927), a suspenseful
Jack-the-Ripper story, followed by his next thriller BLACKMAIL [GB 1929], his first sound film” (Dirks n.d.). More recently, suspense movies, nowadays labelled as thrillers, seek to “pro- vide thrills and keep the audience cliff-hanging at the 'edge of their seats' as the plot builds towards a climax” (Dirks n.d.). Moreover, several sub-categories of the thriller have emerged, such as action thrillers, drama thrillers, horror thrillers, sci-fi thrillers, crime thrillers, police procedural thrillers, psychological thrillers, conspiracy thrillers, film noir thrillers, and religious thrillers. These hybrids often fuse with each other. Thus,
126 thrillers can be divided into sub-genres, similar to the filone. Rubin sees a genre as “a set of conventions and shared characteristics that have historically evolved into a dis- tinct, widely recognized type of composition within an art form” (Rubin 1999, 3), but it is important to point out that it is quite impossible to classify every subdivision of thriller equally, as each sub-genre has distinctive patterns and tropes. The relevant question for this dissertation is, which connection does the thriller have with the giallo? If looking for the Italian translation for ‘thriller’ in the English/Italian dictionary you will find the definition, giallo (Cambridge Dictionary n.d.).49 Giovanni Mu- nari wrote, “Thriller è solo il termine inglese con cui indicare un giallo” (Thriller is just the English term for indicating a giallo) (Munari 2019). He claims, after having exam- ined early giallo novels and thriller fiction, that the thriller is a genre which evolved from the giallo and was, initially, just a subcategory of the giallo. In film, however, he notes, a giallo is automatically a thriller (Munari 2019). The previous chapter dealt with the giallo’s influence on a new genre, the slasher, while the intention of this chapter is to establish a connection between the Italian giallo and its impact on American thrillers. For this purpose, I examined over one hundred American thrillers. This resulted in 55 American titles correlating signifi- cantly with the Italian giallo. Needham’s, Bondanella’s and Koven’s filone formula, which spawned other subgenres of the giallo, can also be applied to the giallo inspired American thriller, as also here a "cluster[ing] of concurrent streamlets, veins, or traditions" (Koven 2006, 6) has occurred. Koven’s model separates the giallo into four categories, the classic gi- allo, poliziottesco, giallo suspense thriller, and giallo-fantastico. My studies have re- vealed that two further types, the giallo erotico and the slasher giallo, should be clas- sified as additional giallo categories. The ‘American giallo’ can be split into the following sub-classifications: classical thriller, cop thriller, erotic thriller, and American giallo thriller (Yes, some American titles can be read as direct adaptations, or rip-offs). The 'classical thriller' is regarded by scholars as an ambiguous term that can be used in conjunction with crime, mystery and horror, but typical characteristics of the ‘classical thriller’ are the race-against-time and the high stakes plot device (Zeke 2015). Frequently the suspenseful plot includes a cat-and-mouse game between the protag- onist and a villain and a tense atmosphere. The classical thriller often merges elements of action, science-fiction, espionage, crime, psyche, but is still labeled a ‘classical
49 Also Collins dictionary states the English word ‘thriller’ to be translated as giallo. 127 thriller’ as the other tropes are too hazy. In particular, the Italian ‘giallo suspense thriller’ – based on internal (circle of family or friends) crime driven narratives, such as murder, blackmail, adultery, incest – has had an impact on this category. American films be- longing to this sub-genre include:50
. 52 PICK-UP (USA 1986, dir.: John Frankenheimer) – Action/Thriller (Drammatico)
. ABANDON (USA 2002, dir.: Stephan Gaghan) – Mystery/Thriller (Thriller)
. ALL GOOD THINGS (USA 2010, dir.: Andrew Jarecki) – Drama/Thriller (Drammatico Thriller)
. BLIND DATE (USA 1984, dir.: Nico Mastorakis) – Thriller (Horror)
. BLOODLINE (Germany/USA 1979, dir.: Terence Young) – Drama/Crime/Thriller (Giallo)
. DEAD CONNECTION (USA 1994, dir.: Nigel Dick) – Thriller (-)
. DIABOLIQUE (USA 1996, dir.: Jeremiah S. Chechik) – Drama/Thriller (Giallo) . D.O.A. (USA 1988, dir.: Annabel Jankel) – Thriller (Thriller)
. DON’T ANSWER THE PHONE (USA 1980, dir.: Robert Hammer) – Crime/Thriller (-)
. DOUBLE EXPOSURE (USA 1982, dir.: William Byron Hillman) – Drama/Thriller (-)
. EYEWITNESS (USA 1981, dir.: Peter Yates) – Thriller (Giallo)
. GOOD NEIGHBOURS (Canada 2010, dir.: Jacob Tierney) – Crime/Drama/Thriller (Poliz- iesco)
. HUSH (USA 1998, dir.: Jonathan Darby) – Thriller (Thriller)
. JENNIFER EIGHT (USA 1992, dir.: Bruce Robinson) – Thriller (Giallo)
. LOOKER (USA 1981, dir.: Michael Crichton) – Science-Fiction/Thriller (Thriller)
. LOST RIVER (USA 2014, dir.: Ryan Gosling) – Drama/Fantasy/Thriller (Fantastico Thriller)
. MASQUERADE (USA 1988, dir.: Bob Swaim) – Thriller (Giallo)
. PERFECT STRANGER (USA 2007, dir.: James Foley) – Crime/Thriller (Thriller)
. RED SPARROW (USA 2018, dir.: Francis Lawrence) – Mystery/Thriller (Spionaggio Thriller)
. SINGLE WHITE FEMALE (USA 1992, dir.: Barbet Schroeder) – Thriller (Thriller)
. SOMEONE TO WATCH OVER ME (USA 1987, dir.: Ridley Scott) – Thriller (Giallo)
. SOMEONE’S WATCHING ME! (USA 1978, dir.: John Carpenter) – Thriller (Thriller)
. STRANGE DAYS (USA 1995, dir.: Kathryn Bigelow) – Action/Science-Fiction/Thriller (Fan- tastico)
. THE NAKED FACE (USA 1984, dir.: Bryan Forbes) – Thriller (Giallo)
. UNLAWFUL ENTRY (USA 1992, dir.: Jonathan Kaplan) – Thriller (Drammatico)
50 At the end of each film a classification of sub-genre is included which was used from the film data base Ofdb and in brackets – if available – from the Italian film data base Mymovies.it. Although Italians usually categorize the thriller as giallo it seems that they still differentiate between both and according to my conducted examination the listed movies which are labelled by the Italians as gialli tend to present the typical Italian giallo storyline, referred by Koven as ‘giallo suspense thriller’. 128 The Italian poliziottesco concentrates on the hunt for a serial killer or on police investi- gations into drugs or white slavery rings. In Hollywood, this type of film is known as a police procedural thriller or cop-thriller. In most cases a murder is committed, and the police is called. There are three different types of cop thriller, which are difficult to dis- tinguish as they feature elements of the other types of cop thrillers. In the first type, a policeman is called to solve a crime. “He acts alone and, apart from his training and official position, functions pretty much the way an amateur sleuth or a private investi- gator would” (Penzler 2018). The second type focuses on police procedurals in which the whole police force collaborates to hunt and find the killer. The third concentrates on the lives of the officers involved in the investigations, hence the focus is not the solving of the murder, but delving into the lives, strengths and weaknesses of the police officers (Penzler 2018). The giallo inspired cop-thriller belongs primarily to the first type, with only one exception, he/she is sometimes supported by his/her partner. In several examples the cop automatically becomes an amateur sleuth, allowing them to ignore or bend the law.
. 10 TO MIDNIGHT (USA 1983, dir.: J. Lee Thompson) – Action/Thriller (Thriller)
. CRUISING (West Germany/USA 1980, dir.: William Friedkin) – Crime/Thriller (Dram- matico)
. D-TOX (USA 2002, dir.: Jim Gillespie) – Action/Thriller (Thriller)
. SE7EN (USA 1995, dir.: David Fincher) – Thriller (Poliziesco)
. THE FIRST POWER (USA 1990, dir.: Robert Resnikoff) – Horror/Thriller (Aventura)
. TIGHTROPE (USA 1984, dir.: Richard Tuggle) – Crime/Thriller (Poliziesco)
The giallo erotico, characterized by the exhibition of overt nakedness and sexuality, seduction, sexual dominance, submission as well as explicit sex scenes, has also had an influence on American productions, which not only employ the above mentioned features, but also incorporate murder, mystery and suspense, resulting in the ‘erotic thriller’. This subgenre was popular from the mid-1980s to the mid-90s and according to Williams, approximately 250 A-class and B-class erotic thrillers were produced in the USA by 2005. Williams notes that “erotic thrillers are noir-ish stories of sexual in- trigue incorporating some form of criminality or duplicity, often as the flimsy framework for on-screen softcore sex” (L. R. Williams 2005, 1). Another idiosyncrasy in erotic thrillers is the policeman having an affair with the person of interest, merging with ele- ments of the police procedural thriller. In the erotic thriller “the thrills are in the sex, the sex drives the thriller action, but the more traditional sense of the term ‘thriller’ strings
129 it all along” (26). The giallo erotico introduced the features of sexuality in combination with murder, and two decades later American productions followed this trend, where sex and crime became interdependent in these productions. A few of the 250 American erotic thrillers can also be read as erotic thrillers with a giallo imprint, such as:
. BASIC INSTINCT (France/USA 1992, dir.: Paul Verhoeven) – Erotic/Thriller (Thriller)
. BOUND (USA 1996, dir.: Lilly and Lana Wachowski) – Erotic/Thriller (Drammatico)
. COLOR OF NIGHT (USA 1994, dir.: Richard Rush) – Erotic/Thriller (Thriller)
. JADE (USA 1995, dir.: William Friedkin) – Crime/Erotic/Thriller (Giallo)
. NEVER TALK TO STRANGERS (Canada/Germany/USA 1995, dir.: Peter Hall) – Erotic/Thriller (Drammatico)
. SEA OF LOVE (USA 1989, dir.: Harold Becker) – Erotic/Thriller (Giallo)
. SLIVER (USA 1993, dir.: Philip Noyce) – Erotic/Thriller (Giallo)
. WILD THINGS (USA 1998, dir.: John McNaughton) – Erotic/Thriller (Thriller)
The final and least examined sub-genre is the American giallo thriller. I have drawn the conclusion that it is appropriate to label Hollywood movies, which incorporate ge- neric giallo-esque indicators like razorblades, knives used by black gloved and trau- matized maniacs as well as voluptuous female victims in urban environments as ‘Amer- ican giallo’. Fisher notes that,
The most intriguing transcultural trend in the Italian horror cycle was […] the giallo thriller [which] has since entered the pantheon of exploitation cinema for its striking generic markers (masked, black-gloved psychopaths, sensuous female victims, elaborate grizzly murders, witness turned detectives) and for its influence on Ameri- can slasher films of the 1970s and 1980s. It is, moreover, at once the most resolutely contemporary horror filone and the most self-consciously international. (Fisher 2017, 259)
Fisher and other scholars always mention the giallo’s influence on American slashers, but do not allude to the giallo impact on the American thriller genre. Over the years several American giallo thrillers have been produced, in particular by Brian De Palma, who has employed giallo tropes in numerous movies, but who has always denied being influenced by this filone, claiming in an interview that “That’s a genre I’ve heard a lot about, but I’m completely unfamiliar with” (Bleasdale 2013). Other directors have in- corporated a variety of different giallo tropes in their thriller productions. The archetyp- ical giallo killer has always played an integral part in these thrillers, which can be com- pared perfectly with the ‘classic giallo’, such as:
. ALICE SWEET ALICE (USA 1976, dir.: Alfred Sole) – Horror/Mystery (Giallo)
130 . BODY DOUBLE (USA 1984, dir.: Brian De Palma) – Thriller (Thriller)
. DRESSED TO KILL (USA 1980, dir.: Brian De Palma) – Thriller (Horror)
. EYES OF A STRANGER (USA 1981, dir.: Ken Wiederhorn) – Horror/Thriller (Thriller)
. EYES OF LAURA MARS (USA 1978, dir.: Irvin Kershner) – Mystery/Thriller (Drammatico)
. FACES IN THE CROWD (Canada/France/USA 2011, dir.: Julien Magnat) – Drama/Crime/Thriller (Thriller)
. FEMME FATALE (France/USA 2002, dir.: Brian De Palma) – Crime/Thriller (Thriller)
. JACK’S BACK (USA 1988, dir.: Rowdy Herrington) – Crime/Thriller (Thriller)
. KLUTE (USA 1971, dir.: Alan J. Pakula) – Drama/Thriller (Poliziesco)
. KNIGHT MOVES (Canada/Germany/USA 1992, dir.: Carl Schenkel) – Thriller (Giallo)
. OBSESSION (USA 1976, dir.: Brian De Palma) – Thriller (Giallo)
. SHATTERED (USA 1991, dir.: Wolfgang Petersen) – Crime/Thriller (Giallo)
. SISTERS (USA 1973, dir.: Brian De Palma) – Thriller (Drammatico)
. STILL OF THE NIGHT (USA 1982, dir.: Robert Benton) – Crime/Thriller (Giallo)
. THE EDITOR (Canada 2014, dir.: Adam Brooks, Matthew Kennedy) – Comedy/Hor- ror/Mystery/Thriller (Biografico)
. WHITE OF THE EYE (UK/USA 1987, dir.: Donald Cammell) – Thriller (Giallo)
3.2.1. The Penchant for Urbanity
The typical giallo trope of an American tourist travelling to Italy first appeared in Mario
Bava’s proto-giallo LA RAGAZZA CHE SAPEVA TROPPO, and countless filoni stuck to this plot device. Filmmakers used Rome, Florence, Miland and Venice as their murderous settings. The focus of attention was on travelling shots whereby the geographic loca- tion of the film was established by using travelogue footage in the opening title se- quences. Some American giallo inspired thrillers used the New York location for heinous murders, like KLUTE, DRESSED TO KILL, CRUISING, SEA OF LOVE, SLIVER and EYES OF
LAURA MARS. The latter is set in the world of fashion, identical to Bava’s SEI DONNE PER
L’ASSASSINO, and in both a madman is killing models. As reported by Rebecca Williams, director Irvin Kershner was pleased by the opportunity to shoot a New York movie with Faye Dunaway, whom he considered an outstanding ‘New York pro’, owing to her Lin- coln Center training. Kirshner, who had already shot two episodes (episodes 108, 126) about the Big Apple for the semi-documentary TV-show NAKED CITY (ABC, 1958-63), wanted to move the faceless killer from Carpenter’s SOMEONE’S WATCHING ME!, set in L.A., to New York, and satisfy the producer’s demand that the black gloved killer (cop John Neville – Tommy Lee Jones) had now to be someone the star (Laura Mars –
131 Faye Dunaway) falls in love with. Kershner admitted in an interview from 1999 that he was pleased to shoot a fashion milieu thriller in New York, but later he felt that EYES OF
LAURA MARS did not mirror contemporary New York life or culture. The murder rate in 1975 was the highest it had ever been, and the city was nearly bankrupt. 50,000 mu- nicipal workers protested against cutbacks. Moreover, in 1977, New York experienced a blackout, leading to riots, looting and arson, resulting in the largest number of mass arrests in the city’s history. Finally, Son of Sam serial killer David Berkowitz mercilessly killed six people and wounded seven others during his killing spree in 1976 and 1977 (R. N. Williams 2017, 10-11).
EYES OF LAURA MARS presents the stylish downtown art of 1970s Soho as the scenery in this supernatural thriller. The film showcases Hell’s Kitchen, Christopher Street Pier and Columbus Circle (The Bowery Boys 2019), which had to be closed for four days for Laura’s photo shootings.
Laura’s photo shooting at Columbus Circle POV shot of Laura at the shooting
Williams describes Kershner’s marketing campaign as follows, “when a movie is ready to be seen he goes and sells the hell out of it’, including countless billboards in New York to advertise the film, nevertheless, the movie was a financial disaster grossing only $20 million at the box office” (R. N. Williams 2017, 13-14). Charles Taylor suggests that one reason for the film’s flop might have been the dystopian perception of New
York presented by films, such as TAXI DRIVER (USA 1976, dir.: Martin Scorsese),
DRILLER KILLER (USA 1979, dir.: Abel Ferrara) and THE WARRIORS (USA 1979, dir.: Walter Hill) (Taylor 2017, 176). Comparable to Argento’s and Bava’s preference for nocturnal backdrops, Kershner’s movie is shot mostly at night, conveying a higher de- gree of lurking urban danger. At the beginning of the 1980s the advent of VHS offered the film fans the op- portunity to reevaluate EYES OF LAURA MARS, similar to the reassessment of the giallo
132 which supported its success, that turned the movie into a cult favorite. Williams claims, “Over a decade would pass before ‘Fear City’ truly moved forward from its reputation as one of the most dangerous places in the world. It is the late Irving Kershner’s vision of a city in fear that earns EYES OF LAURA MARS its unique place within the canon of significant New York chronicles” (R. N. Williams 2017, 16).
Movie poster EYES OF LAURA MARS 84: Billboard advertising (1978)
Another remarkable depiction of New York is presented in the police procedural giallo thriller CRUISING. The term refers to looking for a homosexual partner in bars, restau- rants, clubs, and streets. As stated in Vito Russo’s 1979 article, CRUISING was inspired by New York Times reporter Gerald Walker’s 1970 eponymous novel about an under- cover cop looking for a homosexual serial killer who seeks out victims in gay bars in New York. Friedkin adapted the story, making some considerable changes as he sought to include the recent murder in the S&M scene of Variety reporter Addison Ver- rill, butchered by Paul Bateson, who had a small part in Friedkin’s THE EXORCIST. Fried- kin disclosed, “I feel I have to be very accurate in my portrayal of the background of the S&M world”, which he achieved with the aid of two ex-detectives who provided Friedkin important insights into unsolved murders of homosexuals dating back to 1975. Friedkin declared in an interview that it is not a film about gay life, but “it’s a murder mystery with an aspect of the gay world as background. It’s no more about gay life than
Woody Allen’s MANHATTAN is about New Yorkers” (Russo 1979, 46). The movie, filmed entirely in New York City, starts with an establishing shot of Manhattan. A boat stops on the Hudson River as human remains of a man are discovered floating in the river.51 After the body parts are examined by the coroner, officer Steve Burns (Al Pacino) is
51 The scene is reminiscent of Lucio Fulci’s zombie movie ZOMBI 2 (Italy 1979) which also begins with a scene on the Hudson river. 133 introduced, who receives the order from his captain (Paul Sorvino) to track down the killer in the gay S&M scene.
Establishing shot in CRUISING Steve and the captain meeting beneath Manhattan Bridge
Real gay bars were used as shooting locations, like the now closed infamous Hellfire Club in the Meatpacking District, which “was a sex club for gay, lesbian, poly, trans and leather folk” (Miksche 2016). Other notable locations included Greenwich Village (where the majority of the outdoor scenes was filmed), 125th Street, Central Park, Pier 36 beneath Manhattan Bridge and Morningside Park (Russo 1979, 47-49). Parks have become a significant feature in urban landscapes over the last one hundred and fifty years, integral to the quality of city life. The most famous of these in New York is the Central Park. The giallo started to use parks for murder scenes, like a young female student (Carole Andre) who is savagely killed in a park during a thun- derstorm in UNA FARFALLA CON LE ALI INSANGUINATE; Carol (Conchita Arioldi), chased through Vienna’s Stadtpark and murdered by the killer in LO STRANO VIZIO DELLA SI-
GNORA WARDH; and the maid Amelia (Mariso Fabbri) who is lured by the killer into a city park in Rome and slashed with a razorblade in QUATTRO MOSCHE DI VELLUTO
GRIGIO. CRUISING uses the Morningside and Central Park as the setting for the brutal attacks and killings on homosexuals. A scene where a young homosexual is stabbed with a knife in Morningside Park by a killer clad with a leather jacket, black gloves, leather hat and sunglasses, is reminiscent of Carol’s death in the Stadtpark. Friedkin ends the film with Steve (Pacino) visiting his girlfriend, who discovers, while he is shav- ing in the bathroom, that he might actually be the killer, as she examines his clothes. Steve turned into the killer during his investigations, “whose psychotic tendencies are triggered by the realization of his own homosexuality” (Russo 1979, 47).
Steve taking a nocturnal stroll through BDSM clubs The killer stabbing the victim in the park
The giallo filone’s penchant for casting foreign actors is not relevant for the American giallo, with two exceptions: Eli Roth cast giallo queen Edwige Fenech in HOSTEL 2 (USA 2007) and Brian De Palma hired British actor Michael Caine for the role of Dr. Elliott in
DRESSED TO KILL, who is also the transsexual, leather clad killer. DRESSED TO KILL, the epitome of the American giallo thriller, takes place in New York, where Kate Miller (An- gie Dickinson), a middle-aged housewife, has an affair to make her life more interest- ing. The film starts with a shower scene, depicting Kate and her husband having sex first in the shower, and later in the bedroom. Due to her phantasies being raped during conventional lovemaking she visits her East Side psychiatrist Dr. Elliott whose office is just off Lexington Avenue. De Palma, who was raised in Philadelphia, but who has lived on the lower end of Fifth Avenue in Manhattan for a long time, favored New York as the primary location for the film just as Dario Argento’s predilection for Rome. As in Argento’s offering, numerous scenes were shot at famous landmarks, like Manhattan’s Civic Center, First Avenue, World Trade Center, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, although the exterior shots were filmed in New York, the gallery’s interior scenes were filmed at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (Movie Locations n.d.). Not only New York has served as the location for American gialli, but also Chi- cago (THE NAKED FACE), New Orleans (TIGHTROPE), San Francisco (BASIC INSTINCT,
SHATTERED) and Los Angeles (52 PICK UP, BODY DOUBLE, COLOR OF NIGHT, STRANGE
DAYS, UNLAWFUL ENTRY). According to Haber, the majority of movies set in New York in the 1970s and early 80s made the city look like a Hobbesian nightmare on the Hud- son. Starting the mid-1980s, filmmakers shifted their attention to another hotspot of urban angst and fear, California, and in particular, Los Angeles. New York was no longer the number one city in America that embodied depravity and danger. At the release of ESCAPE FROM L.A. (USA 1996), the sequel to Carpenter’s classic ESCAPE
FROM NEW YORK (USA 1981), Carpenter is on record for saying that, “When the first
135 movie was made, New York was thought of a hopeless gridlock situation. […] In the nineties, L.A. has had a series of catastrophes that have reminded us that we are near the apocalypse” (Haber 1996, 13).52
BODY DOUBLE, set in Los Angeles, tells the story of would-be actor Jake Scully (Craig Wasson) who is driving home after a rehearsal where he lost his part. At home he discovers his girlfriend having sex with another man and promptly moves out. At an acting class he befriends Sam Bouchard (Gregg Henry), who offers the homeless actor the chance to stay at a friend’s house in the Hollywood Hills who is currently in Europe. The living room has a powerful telescope, and Jake begins to observe a young and beautiful woman performing her erotic dances every evening in a nearby apartment block. The house where Jake stays is a non-fictional residence in the Hollywood Hills and was designed by star architect John Lautner in the 1960s and was once called by the Encyclopedia Britannica ‘the most modern home built in the world’. It stands on the San Fernando Valley side of the Hollywood Hills, near Mulholland Drive. Eight years prior to being rented for BODY DOUBLE, the second owner, Dr. Richard Kuhn, was mur- dered in the house by two men (Hillier 2015).53
Cities act as a pivotal character in telling a story, and BODY DOUBLE “flits across a number of famous LA locations like a tourist browsing through postcards: we go shopping on Rodeo Drive, have coffee at the Farmer’s Market on West 3rd Street, drink neat Jack Daniels at Barney’s Beanery in West Hollywood, and get a hot dog at Tail o’the Pup on San Vincente” (Zeller-Jacques 2011, 54). De Palma’s sleazy American giallo thriller, akin to the Italian giallo, conveys the feeling of being both, a disturbing thriller of an actor entering into the L.A. porno world, and as that of travelogue footage.
52 The dystopian L.A. scenery was also employed in the sci-fi thriller STRANGE DAYS, which intertwines with film noir and the giallo, exploring contemporary issues of racism and the abuse of police power. 53 The Chemosphere, which had become quite run down as it was rented for parties for almost 20 years, was bought by Benedikt Taschen, the owner of the German publishing company Taschen, in 1998. In 2004 the house was declared a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument as it was important for pop culture. Besides being used as setting for BODY DOUBLE, it was firstly used for ABC television program THE OUTER LIMITS on the episode THE DUPLICATE MAN (1964). Moreover, it is the house of the villain Eric Knox in CHARLIES ANGELS (2000) and it was also inspired for an episode of THE SIMPSONS where char- acter Troy McClure resides in a similar octagon house. 136
Jake at Tail o‘the Pup The Chemosphere octagon in BODY DOUBLE
The conventional trait of an anglophone foreigner who visits Italy and witnesses a mur- der is common for the giallo, but it is not a plot device that has often been used in American productions. However, one such example of an American ‘traveler’ who is embroiled in a similar situation is Dr. Bill Capa (Bruce Willis), a New York psychiatrist, who gives up his practice after a patient commits suicide by jumping from Capa’s office window in COLOR OF NIGHT. As a result of this incident, Capa suffers from psychoso- matic color blindness, making him unable to see the color red. Capa goes to Los An- geles to stay at his friend’s house, therapist Dr. Bob Moore (Scott Bakula), who invites Bill to partake in one of his group therapy sessions. After Bob is violently killed, Bill starts to investigate the crime while staying at his dead friend’s mansion. The audience is then treated to an American giallo thriller, as the film includes a lot of sexuality, red herrings, and the color red as a crucial leitmotif. Other giallo features on offer include mirrors, split diopter shots, a disguised killer (with a black cloak and hood who uses silver gloves and a knife for the brutal killings), and beautiful location shots of Los An- geles. The day after his arrival in Los Angeles, Bill and Bob go for a mountain bike ride around Malibu, somewhat reminiscent of Julie’s and George’s motorcycle ride through
Vienna in LO STRANO VIZIO DELLA SIGNORA WARDH. Several locations are used throughout the movie including the central police precinct in Beverly Hills, The Whisky, a Go Go nightclub on Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood, City Hall, and the Paradox Iron building in the Taylor Junction district in Los Angeles, which serves as the location for the showdown between Bill and the killer. The scene was shot with true Mario Bava color and flair. Mario Bava’s “color tones, in contrast to the high-pitched shine favored by American directors, take to its extreme a European sense of more somber and glowing, but no less luscious, hues. Its basic palette is keyed to black, violet and mauve (the colors, appropriately, of the night and the flesh)” (Howarth, The Haunted World of Mario Bava 2018, 210).
Bill and Bob go for a bike ride in Malibu Bill arriving at the Paradox Iron building where the showdown will take place
The Italian giallo rendered urbanism par excellence, merging horrific murders with trav- elogue footage, depicting Italian lifestyle and the temporal changes of Italian urban landscapes. These traits have had an impact on American productions and in contrast to slashers, which play out in primarily rural settings, the American giallo thriller tends to illustrate cities, city life, glitz, but also the nefariousness of urban life. Like the Ital- ians, American filmmakers have used urban settings to create suspense and facilitate crime, using high rise apartment buildings, a symbol for dwelling in dense urban areas, elevators and underground car parks, all potentially dangerous examples of modernity.
Films, such as SLIVER, EYES OF A STRANGER and SOMEONE’S WATCHING ME, as in PERCHÉ QUELLE STRANE GOCCE DI SANGUE SUL CORPO DI JENNIFER? use the setting of a high-rise apartment building for the murders so that they can be regarded as “addi- tional points in the urban chaos of the modern city” (Krummeck 2010, 6). In SLIVER, Carly Norris (Sharon Stone) moves into an exclusive high-rise building in Manhattan and starts investigating the murder of the previous tenant, Naomi Singer (Allison Mackie). Carly, who begins a sexual relationship with another resident, Zeke (William Baldwin), is soon chased by the assailant. Director Philip Noyce shot most of the film on the 32nd floor of the Art Deco on Madison Avenue in Manhattan, but some scenes were also shot in Central Park and the New York Public Library in Manhattan.
In EYES OF A STRANGER, reporter Jane Harris (Tauren Tewes) begins to suspect a neighbor, who lives in a high-rise apartment building across her, as the killer. She finds out that he is the serial killer who has been slaughtering people in Miami for some time. Most of the movie was filmed in and around a high-rise apartment building. Shots were also made in the building’s underground carpark where Jane tries to inspect the murderer’s vehicle. John Carpenter’s SOMEONE IS WATCHING ME might well have been the template for EYES OF A STRANGER, telling the story of television director Leigh
138 Michaels (Lauren Hutton), who moves from New York to an elegant apartment in a high-rise building in Los Angeles. She becomes friendly with her new assistant Sophie (Adrienne Barbeau) who lives opposite. Leigh witnesses an attack on Sophie, but the police does not believe her, so Leigh starts investigating on her own. Soon, she is receiving presents from the suspect and the assailant stalks her into the building’s underground car park. A similar storyline is evident in LO STRANO VIZIO DELLA SIGNORA
WARDH, where the protagonist is followed by the killer into the underground parking garage, where he tries to murder her. Both women manage to make their escape by fleeing with an elevator, another spatial setting which has played a vital role in giallo thrillers.
Carly looking down from her elegant apartment in SLIVER Leigh being stalked by the maniac in the underground parking gar- age in EYES OF A STRANGER
Bernard claims that, for fiction and particularly for films set in hotels, offices and apart- ment buildings, elevators have served as points of encounter. “The cab, combining freedom of access while stopped and hermetically sealed impenetrability while in mo- tion, acts as a decisive intersection of biographies and plotlines. In the midst of general fleetingness of personal exchanges, it introduces a brief moment of intimacy invisible from without” (Bernard 2014, 233f). Bernard lists numerous romantic comedies and dramas that utilize elevators, but he does not mention the pivotal role that elevators have had in American and Italian gialli, as locations for death.
Beginning with L’UCCELLO DALLE PIUME DI CRISTALLO, gialli regularly featured kill- ings in elevators, often depicting the stereotypical killer slashing the victims with razor- blades or knives. The killing of the young girl in PERCHÉ QUELLE STRANE GOCCE DI
SANGUE SUL CORPO DI JENNIFER? for instance is reminiscent of Argento’s L’UCCELLO
DALLE PIUME DI CRISTALLO, and shows the brutal murder of a female, stabbed with a
139 razor knife by a disguised perpetrator in a lift. Elevators, in high-rise apartment build- ings, not only bring strangers together, but are the perfect place for a trapped situation where the victim does not have any chance to flee. In DRESSED TO KILL, and after find- ing out that her lover has a venereal disease, Kate is brutally attacked and murdered by a killer in a lift. As discussed in the chapter on the slasher, the maniacs in these films inflict punishment on sexually active young people who have unprotected sex and it could be argued that Kate is killed on account of her licentiousness. De Palma’s elevator scene in DRESSED TO KILL lasts for almost two and half minutes. When the elevator stops on one of the floors, call-girl Liz Blake (Nancy Allen) spots Kate who is lying on the floor of the elevator. De Palma’s camera focuses on Kate’s eyes, using them as an alert not to enter the lift as the killer is still present, but as the door closes, Liz catches a glimpse of the attacker in the elevator’s convex mirror. Consequently, Liz becomes the maniac’s next target.
The killer entering the elevator Liz catching a glimpse of the maniac in the convex mirror
The elevator scene in DRESSED TO KILL is similar in many ways to Argento’s L’UCCELLO
DALLE PIUME DI CRISTALLO, where a young girl steps into a lift and is attacked by a killer slashing the victim. The girl puts her arms in front of her face, in an effort to deflect the blows of the maniac’s vicious razorblade, but finally, like Kate, the perpetrator slits her throat. The similarity is obvious, hence, De Palma was asked in an interview whether he copied the sequence. He vehemently denied such an assertion, claiming:
Actually, the only Dario Argento movie that I really know is THE BIRD WITH THE CRYSTAL PLUMAGE [L’UCCELLO DALLE PIUME DI CRISTALLO]. That’s the only one I remember seeing. I think that was in the 70s […] I’m not a big follower of Dario Argento. I know I get compared to him, but the giallo cinema I’m not a student of at all. I know that they think I look at all these films and take ideas from them, but believe me, the only one that sticks in my mind is THE BIRD WITH THE CRYSTAL PLUMAGE. And Mario Bava, I remember Marty [Scorsese] showing me some of his movies in the 70s and I couldn’t even tell you what titles are now. (Brown 2012)
140 It is difficult to believe De Palma’s statement, as he has incorporated many giallo tropes and devices in his movies to deny any influence. De Palma may not be a giallo aficio- nado, but the very tropes that make the giallo so unique, are just too obvious to over- look or ignore in his canon of films. In particular, DRESSED TO KILL contains a plethora of giallo traits and the elevator scene, a lecherous female victim, a killer dressed in leather gloves, a leather cloak and razorblade make any coincidence more than un- likely.
The killer’s utensil in L’UCCELLO DALLE PIUME DI CRISTALLO, a razorblade.
Another elevator murder occurs in BASIC INSTINCT, a remake of the movie DE VIERDE
MAN (Netherlands 1983, dir.: Paul Verhoeven, THE FOURTH MAN). Both films were di- rected by Paul Verhoeven. Verhoeven set his Hollywood remake in San Francisco. The film starts with a rambunctious sex scene, depicting a rock star having sex with a very attractive blonde woman. As they climax, she reaches back and grabs an ice pick from under the bed sheet and drives it into his neck and eye. Detective Nick Curran (Michael Douglas) is assigned with his partner Gus (George Dzundza) to investigate the murder so they start interrogating the victim’s girlfriend, Catherine Tramell (Sharon Stone), with whom Nick starts a sexual relationship. The film, shot entirely in Vertigo- esque San Francisco, includes numerous travelogue footage, including some of San Francisco’s most famous and popular tourist attractions, such as Pier 7 and the Bay
Bridge. BASIC INSTINCT conveys 90s nostalgia, but it also caused a furor due to the “male and female frontal nudity, profanity, graphic sexual encounters, extreme vio- lence, frequent obscenity, references to masturbation, voyeurism, bondage and the use of cocaine as a sexual aid” (Maslin 1992, 8). Moreover, “released as the frenzy of the HIV/AIDS epidemic was climbing to peak panic, BASIC INSTINCT pushed the enve- lope on a frank and open discussion on sexuality that most Americans were loath to have” (Larson 2015).
141 Near the end of the film, Gus takes an elevator while Nick waits in the car. Nick recalls the last pages of Catherine’s latest novel and remembers that the fictional de- tective discovers his colleague’s body in an elevator, thus he runs into the building, but finds Gus murdered. He was attacked by a female disguised killer wearing a black cloak. The perpetrator stabbed Gus with an icepick in the neck and chest. BASIC IN-
STINCT can be read as an emblematic giallo, including elements both standard and crucial to the Italian filone formula, such as overt sexuality, murder, machination, de- ceit, a disguised killer, a household tool as a weapon and travelogue footage. Finally, the story resembles Argento’s TENEBRAE, as the killers in both movies, Peter Neil and Catherine Tramell, are detective story writers and the real killings correlate with the fictional murders. An eminent feature of gialli, the detailed representation of the city, has helped audiences to experience the feeling of being virtually involved in the events portrayed on screen. The majority of Italian gialli take place in urban settings. The American giallo thriller has adopted the same locale for horrendous murders in underground car parks, high-rise apartment buildings and elevators – hitherto unusual locations for conserva- tive Hollywood.
3.2.2. The Amateur Sleuth in the American Giallo
There are, as stated by Charles and Morrison, a few reasons why amateur sleuths have become popular in fiction and film:
Amateur detectives have several advantages over their professional and police counter- parts. An amateur sleuth can frequently obtain more information from suspects than the police simply because he or she is less intimidating. The amateur detective is often more able to successfully blend into the background of a community and unearth tidbits of gossip that can lead to the killer. Many times, the amateur sleuth has personal connections that the police do not have, and the amateur sleuth does not have to play by the same rules that professional detectives and the police must abide by. (Charles and Morrisson 2002, 19)
Generally, there are three different forms of amateur sleuths in movies. The first type are private detectives with a penchant for solving crimes, and who sometimes also get hired to do the job, like Hercule Poirot, Sherlock Holmes and Miss Marple. The second type are individuals who start investigating on their own because someone close to them has been murdered, and thirdly there is the testimone oculare; people driven to find out the identity of a killer because they witnessed the murder. The third type of
142 amateur detective is a pivotal element in the giallo, beginning with LA RAGAZZA CHE
SAPEVA TROPPO, where Nora witnesses a murder on the Spanish Steps in Rome and
L’UCCELLO DALLE PIUME DI CRISTALLO, where Sam observes a brutal attack and becomes obsessed with solving the crime. In The Mystery Reader’s Advisory Charles and Morrisson mention the existence of two divergent forms of amateur detectives (Charles and Morrisson 2002, 18), intro- ducing the aforementioned first and second type, but the third example is excluded, mainly because it was, initially, just a giallo-esque phenomenon. The testimoni oculari in gialli place themselves in danger as the killers discover their identity, thus the ama- teur sleuths are motivated by revealing the mystery as an act of self-protection. As noted by Koven, “These hapless heroes are drawn into their mysteries unintentionally, and this initial unwillingness is the basis for giallo cinema” (M. Koven 2006, 86). The trope of the amateur detectives goes back to Edgar Allan Poe’s ‘Tales of Ratiocination’, consisting of three mystery stories – Murders in the Rue Morgue (1841); The Mystery Of Marie Roget (1842) and The Purloined Letter (1845), which introduced eager read- ers to the fictional detective C. Auguste Dupin. The cinematic giallo owes its existence to the yellow Mondadori paperbacks. As well as borrowing characteristics from the literary giallo, cinematic gialli introduced a new form of amateur detective, the character who is at the wrong place at the wrong time and witnesses a crime. The most noticea- ble difference between the giallo sleuth and popular amateur detectives is that the giallo amateur detectives are embroiled in the case because of their status as tes- timone oculare.
In L'UCCELLO DALLE PIUME DI CRISTALLO, Sam Dalmas tries to discover the identity of the person who he believes attempted to kill Monica Ranieri, having observed the attack through a gallery window. He visits a suspect in jail and tries to gather valuable information about the killer. Moreover, Sam visits the artist (Mario Adorf) who painted a picture depicting someone killing a woman in a winter scene. Sam obtains the picture from an art gallery during his snooping, and it helps him in his investigations. In the giallo, amateur sleuths frequently receive help from girlfriends (Julia in L'UCCELLO DALLE
PIUME DI CRISTALLO), boyfriends (Mario in SETTE ORCHIDEE MACCHIATE DI ROSSO ), and children (Carlo’s niece Lori who helps Carlo in his inquiries due to his blindness in IL
GATTO A NOVE CODE) and are, consequently, easily susceptible to attacks by the killer. Charles and Morrison claim that most of amateur detectives come from the fields of
143 journalism, religion, and academia. Such professions allow more flexible work sched- ules and accommodate the sleuth’s prying (Charles and Morrisson 2002, 19). Similar occupations have amateur detectives in the giallo, such as newspaper reporters, art- ists, musicians, opera singers, writers, photographers, puzzle designer and photo mod- els. American gialli exhibit two different types of amateur sleuth. On the one hand, there are the characters who start investigating because either a relative or friend was murdered, like John’s (James Spader) twin brother Rick (James Spader) examining his brother’s death in JACK’S BACK, or the father (Niles McMaster) who is killed by a female perpetrator due to his investigations into the slaying of his child Karen (Brook
Shields) in ALICE SWEET ALICE. On the other hand, there are the characters who get enmeshed in a murder case, because they witness the crime. The second form, pop- ular in the Italian giallo, was introduced in American thrillers in the late 1970s, with
John Carpenter’s SOMEONE’S WATCHING ME. Carpenter, who declared that he has al- ways been a fan of the Italian filone, was not only inspired by the giallo while making his hit movie HALLOWEEN, but prior to this, he had been inspired to include a number of giallo characteristics into SOMEONE’S WATCHING ME. Carpenter used lots of POV shots, an enclosed locale – a high-rise apartment building – and a female protagonist who functions as the amateur detective. Leigh begins investigating whether the stalker, who shadows and torments her, might be the killer of her friend Sophie, whom she witnesses being killed through a telescope. Leigh becomes a peeping Tom, a charac- teristic shared in the Italian giallo. She starts stalking the killer and trying to prove him to have murdered Sophie, but the police does not believe her. The only person who trusts her is her boyfriend Paul (David Birney), who turns into her helper.
Similar elements were likewise applied by Brian De Palma in BODY DOUBLE, as Jake Scully observes a young and attractive woman through a telescope every night, who dances before her window in a prolonged striptease. After several nights of noc- turnal voyeurism Jake follows his neighbor, Gloria (Deborah Shelton), and notices that a disfigured Indian is stalking her. Jake follows Gloria to the beach and on the way there the Indian grabs her purse and runs away. Jake pursues the Indian but cannot catch him due to his claustrophobia when the thief runs into a tunnel. The following night Jake watches Gloria’s usual strip performance and notices the Indian hiding in her apartment. He calls Gloria to warn her as the attacker lurks behind her. When she
144 picks up the white telephone, the Indian grabs her and tries to choke her with the tele- phone cord. Jake rushes to her flat where he watches the attacker slaughtering her with a drill. Jake becomes not only the testimone oculare to a murder, but also be- comes the suspect after the police finds Gloria’s lingerie in Jake’s pants. This mirrors the plight of Sam Dalmas or PROFONDO ROSSO’s Marcus Daly.
Jake watching Gloria with a telescope Jake notices Gloria being attacked by the killer
The majority of American gialli were produced in the early 1980s and screenwriters and directors began incorporating amateur detectives who witness a murder into their storylines. These individuals investigate either on their own or are aided by a ‘helper’, such as plastic surgeon Dr. Roberts (Albert Finney), who receives assistance from photo model Cindy (Susan Dey) in Michael Crichton’s sci-fi thriller giallo LOOKER. Rob- erts starts investigating the case of three murdered photo models who underwent plas- tic surgery at his company. The fourth model, Cindy, assists Dr. Roberts in his investi- gations which he starts after witnessing the murder of the third model, who is tossed from her balcony. Roberts sees a flash of light and a mustached man (Tim Rossovich) glancing from the balcony as the model plummets to her death.
In another sci-fi thriller giallo, STRANGE DAYS, Lenny Nero (Ralph Fiennes) be- comes an amateur sleuth after watching a SQUID recording, which is an illegal elec- tronic device that records memories from the wearer’s cerebral cortex. Another person can then smell, hear, taste and feel the same sensations as the person during the original recording. One day Lenny receives a SQUID disc which can only be bought on the black market and watches the horrific rape and killing of Iris (Brigitte Bako), a prostitute he knows. Lenny becomes an unusual testimone oculare, witnessing a crime due to the new technological gadget, and who observes Iris’ strangulation through the eyes of a masked killer (a POV shot) wearing white latex gloves and a ski mask, an identical disguise to the killer in I CORPI PRESENTANO TRACCE DI VIOLENZA CARNALE. Lenny
145 tries, with the help of the female bodyguard Mace (Angela Bassett), to solve the crime and gets entangled in political intrigue and police brutality.
Lenny witnessing a murder The white gloved killer strangulated Iris
However, not only males assume the role of amateur detectives in the Italian and
American giallo. Nora in LA RAGAZZA CHE SAPEVA TROPPO is an early example of a fe- male sleuth. In DRESSED TO KILL, escort Liz Clarke is the sole witness to the murder of Kate in an elevator. Liz replaces Kate as the movie’s protagonist and her presence is vital as she begins investigating the murder with the help of Kate’s computer geek son Peter (Keith Gordon). Liz’s life is put in grave danger since she is followed by the al- leged female killer who tries to murder her several times. At the end it is revealed that Dr. Elliott, Kate’s psychiatrist, is a cross-dresser with a split personality and his female part, Bobbi, is enraged by Dr. Elliott’s refusal to undergo a sex change operation. The primary motive for killing Kate and the attempted murder on Liz is Bobbi’s murderous rage on Dr. Elliott’s heterosexual side, who was aroused by Kate and Liz.
Another American giallo, FACES IN THE CROWD, also sees a female heroine, Anna Merchant (Milla Jovovich) witnessing a murder on a bridge, committed by a serial killer, Tearjerk Jack (David Atrakchi). He slashes a woman’s neck with a razorblade. We later learn that he necrophiliac murderer has already butchered and raped several women. As a trophy he steals the women’s necklaces. Anna, who is spotted by the attacker, tries to flee, but is tossed from the bridge and hits her head. On awakening from a coma, she is told that she suffered severe brain injury, resulting in Prosopag- nosia, a face blindness where the patients are unable to recognize people’s faces, even their own. Anna begins to investigate with the support of police detective Sam Kerrest (Julian McMahon), in an attempt to find the killer. Director Julien Magnat im- plemented other giallo-esque tropes too, such as a disguised killer wearing a black leather jacket, females being slayed with a razorblade, mirrors, flashbacks, and the amateur detective’s name, Anna Merchant, similar to Anna Manni in LA SINDROME DI
146 STENDHAL. Both Anna’s experienced a traumatic event in their past. Anna Merchant suffers from Prosopagnosia and Anna Manni from the Stendhal syndrome. The final type of amateur sleuths are policemen who begin investigating on their own due to incidents in their private lives. Gialli, in particular poliziotteschi, portray po- licemen who turn into private detectives and vigilantes after the death of a relative, such as cop Tony Saitta (Stuart Whitman), the brother of Louise (Carole Laure) who was poisoned at a party in UNA MAGNUM SPECIAL PER TONY SAITTA (Canada/France/It- aly 1976, dir.: Alberto De Martino, STRANGE SHADOWS IN AN EMPTY ROOM). Tony shifts from being a servant of the law into a vigilante who flouts the law, as his primary aim is to find and kill his sister’s murderer.
In 10 TO MIDNIGHT, Charles Bronson plays LAPD detective Leo Kessler who transforms into the guise of an amateur detective after his daughter Laurie (Lisa Eilbacher) is attacked by a psychopathic sex killer. The killer wears latex gloves and has already slaughtered two adolescents while they were having sex in a van at the beginning of the film. The murdered girl was a friend of Leo’s daughter, who puts her- self in danger after telling her father that she rightly suspects Warren Stacy (Gene Davis) of having killed her friend and her lover. Soon one of Laurie’s four roommates is the killer’s next victim, whom he stabs with a cooking knife in her apartment. After planting false evidence in Stacy’s flat, Leo is suspended and becomes an amateur sleuth with the sole aim of catching the killer. However, the assailant begins stalking Laurie at her dorm and kills her other three roommates. He is later stopped by Leo, who executes him with a shot to the forehead. It is no surprise that the film, which is classified as an action/thriller includes numerous giallo tropes, because the director, J.
Lee Thompson also shot the Canuxploitation slasher HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME, which was significantly influenced by the giallo. Thompson presents a character similar to
John Harrington in IL ROSSO SEGNO DELLA FOLLIA – as both Harrington and Stacey are revealed to be the attackers and murderers at the beginning of the film. Moreover, Thompson shot a scene with two teenagers being killed in their car while having sex, resembling the stalking and murder of two fornicating lovers in a car in I CORPI PRESEN-
TANO TRACCE DI VIOLENZA CARNALE. Furthermore, 10 TO MIDNIGHT exhibits the classic giallo features of a killer who wears gloves, a knife as a murder tool, flashbacks, phallic objects like a rubber vagina, an enclosed locale (college dormitory), and the telephone which the killer uses to make threats from a safe distance.
3.2.3. Killer on the Rampage
In 1964, Mario Bava directed the giallo SEI DONNE PER L’ASSASSINO. In contrast to his first proto-giallo LA RAGAZZA CHE SAPEVA TROPPO he implemented new tropes which had not been seen before, such as explicit on-screen killings, brutality against females and torture. The most impressive novelty, however, was the depiction of a stylish killer in a white stocking mask, black gloves, a fedora and a black coat, an image that became the embodiment of the giallo killer. Moreover, the perpetrator stalked primarily female models and applied various and creative methods of killing. He not only murdered with an iron claw, but burned and slashed his victim’s faces, as well as choked and drowned them. The majority of maniacs in giallo cinema conceal their identity behind a black cloak, hat and leather gloves. The disguised maniac became a hallmark of the giallo genre and also a staple element in American movies. The first genre that took inspiration from the concealed killer was the slasher. Legendary maniacs, such as Michael Myers and Jason Vorhees owe their dues to the giallo. These killers hide their monstrosity and heinousness be- hind masks, an additional feature why these low-budget slashers have become so per- ennially popular. Horror movies portray ‘evil madmen’ with either graphic horror masks or subtle horror masks. While graphic horror masks depict disfigured faces and in- stantly induce fear and disgust, subtle horror masks convey a lack of emotion. The expressionless face of the killer’s mask is a chilling standard feature in American slash- ers. In the early 1980s, Hollywood thrillers began incorporating disguised serial kill- ers, beginning with DRESSED TO KILL in 1980. De Palma’s killer adorned a similar dis- guise to that of an Italian giallo killer, depicting his killer with a black leather coat, black leather gloves and a wig with sunglasses. At the time of its release the film caused controversy and “De Palma was accused of misogyny, objectifying women and treating the transgender issue in a hostile, paranoid way” (Cinephilia and Beyond n.d.). By con- trast, film critics considered the film to be outstanding. David Denby of the New York
Magazine claimed DRESSED TO KILL to be “the first great American movie of the eight- ies”. He also felt that “De Palma is sensational, he heads straight for what’s gorgeously lurid, for what appeals to the senses as pure excitement” (Denby 1980). Other critics noted the film to be “a witty romantic, psychological horror film. […] DRESSED TO KILL is
148 an achievement. […] The terror is stunning” (Denby 1980). Although it was seen as one of the most controversial movies of 1980, accused of being homophobic, miso- gynistic, anti-feminist and a pre-Aids nightmare, De Palma managed to manipulate the audience with “dark, politically incorrect twists filled with impure thoughts, deeds, guilty pleasures, illicit sex, and its punishing aftermath” (Greco 2012). Another important is- sue was the political situation amidst the Reaganite era in the early 1980s, where many Hollywood producers and filmmakers opted to fall in line with Reagan’s conservatism. Chris Dumas suggests that America’s moral climate changed in the 1980s and that the national consciousness of the 1970s would not have viewed De Palma’s movie as reactionary or threatening. However, the critical response of DRESSED TO KILL and
BODY DOUBLE exposed “a national shift in perspective that roughly coincides […] with the advent of the Reagan era” (Dumas 2012, 42-43). Even though De Palma has been characterized as a creator of Hitchcock hom- ages and a Hitchcock imitator (T. M. Leitch 2006, 251), DRESSED TO KILL is a giallo through and through. In an interview with De Palma, conducted by Rolling Stone mag- azine after DRESSED TO KILL’s release the director noted, “My style is very different from Hitchcock’s. […] I am dealing in surrealistic, erotic imagery. Hitchcock never got into that too much. PSYCHO is basically about a heist. A girl steals money for her boyfriend so they can get married. DRESSED TO KILL is about a woman’s secret erotic life. If any- thing, DRESSED TO KILL has more of a Buñuel feeling to it” (Valley 1980). The only sim- ilarity to PSYCHO is the murder of a central female blonde character early in the movie.
Otherwise, DRESSED TO KILL exhibits numerous giallo tropes. Apart from the fact that the killer’s outfit is straight out of a giallo wardrobe department54, the film starts with a dream sequence of Kate fantasizing about having sex in a shower with a man, but she awakes after having dreamed to be grabbed from behind by a stranger. An identical sequence can be found in IL DOLCE CORPO DI DEBORAH.
54 The disguised killer is even portrayed on various DRESSED TO KILL movie posters, DVD and Blu-ray covers. The message behind this depiction might be to present a quite uncommon killer for American movies of that time. However, Italian gialli were frequently illustrating disguised attackers on the movie posters and DVD covers. 149
American Blu-ray cover depicting the dis- Japanese movie poster portraying the killer Italian movie poster focusing on three gi- guised maniac prying on his victim and the eye witness allo tropes: black leather gloves, razor- blade and disguise
The audience is immediately informed that this film is a story about a woman in peril, comparable to the work of Argento, Bava, Fulci and Martino. De Palma also hired Pino
Donaggio to compose the score and soundtrack for DRESSED TO KILL. Donaggio was well known in giallo circles, having scored Fulci’s IL GATTO NERO, Argento’s TI PIACE
HITCHCOCK? (Italy 2005, DO YOU LIKE HITCHCOCK?) and Deodato’s UN DELITTO POCO
COMUNE. Art and fashion play like in many of the Italian filone, a pivotal role in DRESSED
TO KILL. Furthermore, De Palma used lots of close-up shots in the scene when Kate is slaughtered with a razorblade, resulting in a gorier depiction of murder, identical to Argento’s and Fulci’s killing sequences. Additionally, De Palma’s focus in the extreme close-up is Kate’s eyes, conveying fear, but also hope to be rescued from the grisly nightmare.
Kate’s face slashed with a razorblade
150 In the giallo, eyes play a crucial role, especially in Argento’s work. He always uses extreme close-ups of the victim’s and the killer’s eyes before each act of violence. The obsession with eyes is not only recognizable in DRESSED TO KILL, but also in EYES OF
LAURA MARS and PERFECT STRANGER. In both movies the killer gouges out their victim’s eyes, as does the killer in Lenzi’s GATTI ROSSI IN UN LABIRINTO DI VETRO. The murderer’s affinity for eyes is even obvious through two statements made by the killer in D-TOX, “Bet she has nice eyes” and “Let me see your eyes”, before trying to kill his victim.
Eyes also have a huge significance in STRANGE DAYS, as Lenny notices the killer’s reflection in Iris’ pupils when she is being strangled, reminiscent of Dario Argento’s optographical test to determine the last image a victim sees before death in QUATTRO
MOSCHE DI VELLUTO GRIGIO. Meier notes that beginning with the Victorian era, a fasci- nation with optography led to a widespread belief that the retina could capture the last image before death (Meier 2018).
The disguised killer mirrored in Iris’ pupils
Finally, one of the most pertinent similarities between DRESSED TO KILL and gialli is how De Palma intertwined menace with overt sexuality. His film not only starts with explicit sex scenes, but the killer’s repressed sexual desire is the cause of their heinous crimes like Nina (Mimsy Farmer) in QUATTRO MOSCHE DI VELLUTO GRIGIO, who begins her mur- der spree because her stepfather raised her as a boy and Nina’s husband Roberto (Michael Brandon) reminded her of him. Restrained sensuality triggers Tony (Michele
Soavi) in LA CASA CON LA SCALA NEL BUIO to kill. He is revealed at the end to be the cross-dressing killer, and Gloria’s (Serena Grandi) brother Tony is exposed as a trans- vestite killer in LE FOTO DI GIOIA, forced to murder because he has always been in love with his sister.
Although De Palma has always denied being influenced by giallo, DRESSED TO
KILL includes a long list of giallo traits. Thus, whether deliberately or not, DRESSED TO
151 KILL can be seen as one of the first American giallo thrillers. De Palma’s film is the epitome of this specific sub-genre (or let us rather call it filone), as it exhibits a long list of giallo characteristics. In doing so, it can be categorized as an Americanized version of a giallo. As claimed by De Palma in an interview, the Hitchcockian elements are marginal in DRESSED TO KILL compared to his earlier work. No mention is made in the interview to giallo cinema, or in how De Palma’s seemed to pay homage or even copy giallo tropes (Valley 1980). It is important to mention that it is a general misconception that all giallo killers are disguised. The number of paradigmatic disguised giallo-killers in Hollywood thrillers is not as frequent as in the Italian equivalent, but some films have a disguised murderer who not only visually resembles the giallo killer, but who also employs identical meth- ods of killing. In JENNIFER 8, for instance, the killer is introduced as a Peeping Tom, who stalks blind women and watches them in their apartments. These scenes are ren- dered as POV shots and the madman is depicted with black gloves, a ski mask, a knife and takes picture of his victims before killing them. Pictures play a major role in solving crimes in the film, as is the case in L’UCCELLO DALLE PIUME DI CRISTALLO. The disguised maniac tries to kill Sgt. John Berlin (Andy Garcia) who has been investigating the case and becomes an amateur sleuth after being suspended. The killer is finally exposed as a cop, Sgt. Taylor (Graham Beckel) and his motive for slaughtering blind females is his traumatized childhood in which he was forced to attend a blind school, although he was not blind. Police officer murderers are actually quite common in the giallo. Examples in- clude Argento’s OPERA, LA SINDROME DI STENDHAL and IL CARTAIO. This trope was adopted on several American productions. American exploitation veterans Larry Co- hen (writer) and William Lustig (director) created the MANIAC COP trilogy, starting with
MANIAC COP in 1988. The story revolves around a killer who dons a police uniform and slaughters people in New York City at night. The filmmakers appropriately promoted the horror-thriller with the slogan “You have the right to remain silent…forever”.
MANIAC COP poster
Another disguised killer wearing a black leather mask, clad in black clothes and using a machete for the attacks on prostitutes, is the ex-cop Leander Rolfe (Marco St. John) in TIGHTROPE. He was arrested and charged with rape by Captain Wes Block (Clint Eastwood) eleven years prior to his murder spree. This police procedural thriller show- cases numerous giallo traits. Not only the killer’s outfit is a standard giallo attire, but all victims are killed in a ‘conventional’ giallo-esque way. They are either strangled or slashed. The film is set in the urban location of New Orleans, with a giallo seasoning of flashbacks and POV shots. Giallo connoisseurs will easily spot the red telephone and many mirrors, while the jazzy musical score and overt sexuality also play a vital part in the storytelling. Sexuality is a substantial constituent in this genre-overlapping thriller as it con- sists of detective story traits, film noir characteristics and a massive amount of giallo attributes. Wes is a loyal customer at a New Orleans’ brothel but all the hookers with whom he has sex turn up dead. The killer observes Wes having intercourse with one of the prostitutes in the bordello. That scene depicts titillating sadomasochism as the hooker beats Wes while the Peeping Tom watches the sexual performance. The next day the prostitute is found dead and a forensic investigation reveals that the killer raped her. Furthermore, the film includes phallic innuendos, such as when one of the girls licks her ice cream while talking about the sexual relationship with Wes and in another scene a vibrator is shown which the hooker uses for the sexual foreplay with Wes.
An ice-cream used as a phallic symbol The killer’s disguise in TIGHTROPE
Another American giallo featuring a serial killer with black leather gloves, leather jacket and a razorblade, who stabs and rapes women, is FACES IN THE CROWD. Here, a po- liceman is exposed to be the killer. It is interesting to note that the majority of American gialli that have a disguised killer, have a police officer as perpetrator. One notable ex- ception to this trend is DRESSED TO KILL. Koven claims that “The black gloves the giallo killer wears are fairly ubiquitous” (Koven 2006, 101). It would be possible to go one step further and argue that a great number of gialli depict just killers wearing gloves, in contrast to the widespread belief that all murderers in giallo are disguised in the stereotypical killer’s outfit. Giallo filmmakers started to swap black gloves with either yellow latex gloves as in PERCHÉ
QUELLE STRANE GOCCE DI SANGUE SUL CORPO DI JENNIFER?, transparent latex gloves like in LA TARANTULA DAL VENTRE NERO, or red gloves as in GATTI ROSSI IN UN LABIRINTO DI
VETRO. “By 1975 [the black leather glove] was a giallo cliché: the ritualistic adornment of leather, with its connotations of fetishism and sex, suggesting that the killer isn’t just a psychopathic murderer but kinky with it” (Grainger 2000, 123). Dario Argento even revealed that it has become a habit to wear black gloves himself when directing such scenes, mainly as an homage to Hitchcock’s cameos (Koven 2006, 101), but also, as claimed by Bondanella, because of “a humorous act of identification with his killers” (Bondanella 2001, 420). The first example of black gloves in the movies was in Fritz Lang’s serial-killer drama M when the hand of the master criminal Schränker (Gustaf Gründgens) covers the map of Berlin (Dyer 2015, 154).55
55 Hitler and Goebbels were ardent admirers of Lang’s œuvre and envisaged the quintessential Nazi through the personification of Schränker on the big screen, “with his black leather coat and gloves [and a stylish bowler], his commanding, astringent presence and his ability to turn the crowd, momentarily moved by Beckert’s testimony, into a baying mob” (154). It is interesting to note that the uniforms of Hitler’s Gestapo, founded in 1933, were based on Schränker’s outfit. 154
Schränker as the judge in the kangaroo court Schränker’s hand covering the map of Berlin.
Decades after Lang’s introduction of leather coats and gloves, Mario Bava introduced the disguised killer to giallo cinema, and gloves became a notable feature.
The starting point for the use of black gloves in American thrillers was in EYES
OF LAURA MARS. The film introduces crucial giallo-esque features in the opening se- quence. Firstly, there is a focus on eyes, then we see hands donned in black gloves that are cutting photos. All of that is shown through a blurred point of view shot, evoc- ative of the opening sequence in L’UCCELLO DALLE PIUME DI CRISTALLO. After the title sequence Laura, a fashion photographer, is introduced and the audience soon learns that she has developed the psychic ability to see through the eyes of a mad attacker. She witnesses the grisly murders of the perpetrator which are all rendered slightly out of focus and blurred. After a photo shoot at Columbus Circle, while walking home, Laura begins to see a vision of the killer stalking an elderly woman. Before he slaugh- ters her with an icepick, a close-up of the murderer’s hands reveals to the audience that the murderer is wearing brown leather gloves. Moreover, Kershner used an ex- treme close-up of the lady’s eye before showing the stabbing from the killer’s perspec- tive. Then the attacker tosses the old woman down a flight of stairs. After the vision, Laura starts running as she recognizes the location of the attack. When she arrives at the spot, the police is already at the scene of the crime, and her premonition is proved true.
Laura’s vision starts An extreme close-up of the victim’s eye be- The murder weapon, gripped by the killer’s fore being stabbed leather gloved hand
155 It seems that Kershner’s EYES OF LAURA MARS pays homage to Bava and Argento. The thriller is set in the glamorous world of New York fashion, which provides the backdrop for the murder spree on photo models. This plotline emulates the story told in Bava’s
SEI DONNE PER L’ASSASSINO. Kershner, however, included even more traits usually ap- plied by Argento, such as blurry visions of the murder – similar to Sam Dalmas who is chased by an assassin in a black car in L’UCCELLO DALLE PIUME DI CRISTALLO. Moreover, Laura’s agent, Donald Phelps (René Auberjonois) is openly homosexual and a trans- vestite, like the homosexual antique dealer (Werner Peters) in L’UCCELLO DALLE PIUME
DI CRISTALLO and the gay private detective Arrosio (Jean-Pierre Marielle) in QUATTRO
MOSCHE DI VELLUTO GRIGIO. Donald is murdered by the killer in an elevator as he is mistaken by the killer for a female. Finally, Laura is part of the bourgeoisie; she lives in a classy Manhattan apartment, equipped with the latest furniture and adorned with paintings and sculptures. All of the aforementioned examples in EYES OF LAURA MARS show the vast inclusion of giallo traits. John Carpenter, who wrote the script for EYES
OF LAURA MARS, has always openly and proudly affirmed being an Argento aficionado.
In a recent review, John Parker confirmed the strong influence of the giallo on EYES OF
If you were to dub EYES OF LAURA MARS into Italian it would play very much like a classic Giallo murder mystery. Certainly not top drawer Giallo, but Giallo all the same. It has the same lurid 70s production design, melodrama and hints of exploitation that defined those movies. Unfortunately, it is not as accomplished as the Italian B-movies to which it aspires, nor is it as interesting to look at, and it certainly isn’t gruesome enough. More pale yellow than Giallo. (J. Parker 2017)
Starting with EYES OF LAURA MARS, American productions began using black gloves as the killer’s hallmark. However, not all of these films are standard American giallo ad- aptations, such as the psycho-thriller SINGLE WHITE FEMALE, which is a mixture of drama and thriller. At the beginning of the movie we learn who the supposed aggressor might be. Hence, it is not a ‘whodunit’, typical for the giallo. The only giallo which intro- duced the killer at the beginning of the film is Bava’s IL ROSSO SEGNO DELLA FOLLIA.
SINGLE WHITE FEMALE includes two crucial giallo elements, a female killer wearing black leather gloves who uses high heels as a murder weapon, as in Argento’s TENEBRAE. As with Italian gialli, the American directors have their assailants wear different types of gloves and employ diverse methods of killing, such as white latex gloves in
BLIND DATE (scalpel), JACK’S BACK (scalpel) and STRANGE DAYS (knife and strangula- tion); black gloves in JENNIFER 8 (knife and strangulation), LOOKER (a futuristic gun),
FACES IN THE CROWD (razorblade), SLIVER (knife), WHITE OF THE EYE (strangulation,
156 knife, guns) and THE NAKED FACE (guns); silver gloves in COLOR OF NIGHT (knife); and yellow construction gloves in D.O.A (nail gun). Similar to the giallo, the killers do not attack every victim with the same weapon. In SEI DONNE PER L’ASSASSINO every char- acter is murdered individually and in a different fashion. Both, American and Italian gialli, share a preference for the murder weapons, such as bladed tools (knives, ma- chetes, razorblades), surgical equipment (scalpels), tools (ice picks, drills, hammers), clothing (stockings) and bare hands (strangulation, drowning). Some Italian and American gialli have masked killers. An omnipresent charac- teristic of the slasher, namely the masked attackers, are not so common in the giallo.
One of the most memorable masks is worn by the killer in L’ASSASSINO HA RISERVATO
NOVE POLTRONE. The killer’s disguise consists of an old man’s mask with curly red hair, a black cloak and black gloves. In contrast, a baby mask covers the murderer’s face in
Argento’s QUATTRO MOSCHE DI VELLUTO GRIGIO. The first American thriller to implement a mask was ALICE SWEET ALICE. The film shows numerous other giallo-esque features besides masks, like POV shots, an amateur detective, a clergyman suspect, dolls, threating telephone calls, and finally, the murder of a child on the day of its communion, strangled by a killer in a yellow coat and a translucent mask as in Aldo Lado’s CHI L'HA
VISTA MORIRE?. Director Alfred Sole stated in an interview that he was hugely inspired by Nicolas Roeg’s DON’T LOOK NOW (Edwards 2017, 29), which itself had been influ- enced by Lado’s CHI L'HA VISTA MORIRE?, released one year prior to Roeg’s film. More- over, Sole declared that “the yellow slicker was a nod to DON’T LOOK NOW. I just love that movie and I think it is incredible” (29). In the interview Sole only mentions Roeg and Hitchcock as direct influences for ALICE SWEET ALICE, but critics have, according to Met, found correlations between ALICE SWEET ALICE and films by Dario Argento (Met 2006, 196).
Sole, however, claims he had never seen any of Dario Argento’s films, for example, at the time, and curiously represses the unmistakable traits of the genre shared by a film that, to this day, is possibly the single most “gialloesque” American film (as well as a definite one- off for the filmmaker) as it uses most of the motifs in the repertoire, including a warped sense of humor and a less-than-flattering depiction of religion within the context of a Cath- olic community in New Jersey. (196)
A mask disguises the serial killer Patrick Channing (Jeff Kober), also known as the
Pentagram killer in THE FIRST POWER, a police procedural thriller. Undoubtably, masked killers are popular perpetrators in thrillers. The baby masked killer saw its cinematic debut in QUATTRO MOSCHE DI VELLUTO GRIGIO. This form of mask has also appealed to
Hollywood producers, as with ALICE SWEET ALICE. The killer in this film wears a yellow
157 raincoat and attacks individuals primarily with a knife. In the horror-thriller VALENTINE the murderer is clad in a black trench coat and black leather gloves and hides his face behind a child mask.
The attacker in L’ASSASSINO HA RISERVATO The translucent baby masked murderer in AL- The killer in VALENTINE NOVE POLTRONE ICE SWEET ALICE
184.108.40.206. Female Killers
Serial killer movies tend to follow a similar trope: An anonymous and monstrous killer stabs and disembowels his way through a panoply of victims. […] [At the end] the killer’s true identity is revealed, and he is overthrown – at least until the sequel. While we don’t neces- sarily know anything about the killer, we tend to assume this nameless menace is male. (Blair 2015)
The giallo subverts Blair’s expectations and frequently the murderer is revealed at the end of the film as female. In SEI DONNE PER L’ASSASSINO the killers are a couple who murder innocent individuals. Argento, in particular, had women as killers. In both L’UC-
CELLO DALLE PIUME DI CRISTALLO (Monica Ranieri) and QUATTRO MOSCHE DI VELLUTO
GRIGIO (Nina Tobias), the killers are female. A few years later he again cast a woman with middle-aged Marta (Clara Calamai) in PROFONDO ROSSO who performs the same monstrosities that men are capable of. Numerous gialli were released where females are depicted as killing dames, like Silvia Hacherman (Mimsy Farmer in IL PROFUMO
DELLA SIGNORA IN NERO), Caroll Hammond (Florinda Bolkan in UNA LUCERTOLA CON LA
PELLE DI DONNA), Jane Baxter (Bernice Stegers in MACABRO), and Anna Manni (Asia
Argento in LA SINDROME DI STENDHAL).
Marta trying to kill Marcus in PROFONDO ROSSO Silvia Hacherman killing a man with a meat knife in IL PROFUMO DELLA SIGNORA IN NERO
The female giallo killer was not common in American films until the emergence of the slasher genre, which presented a long list of feminine killers, such as:
Pamela Vorhees (Betsy Palmer) in FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 1
Angela (Felissa Rose, Pamela Springsteen) in SLEEPAWAY CAMP
Tiffany (Jennifer Tilly) in BRIDE OF CHUCKY
the mother (Susan Strasberg) in SWEET SIXTEEN
Virginia/Ann (Melissa Sue Anderson) in HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME
Samantha Sherwood (Samantha Eggar) in CURTAINS
Eleanor (Rachel Ward) in NIGHT SCHOOL.
Carol Clover claims that women in horror movies of the 1970s and 80s are displayed differently. On the one hand, there are figures like Carrie, whose power to kill somehow derives from inside. On the other hand, boyish, knife-wielding victim-heroines act as grim avengers of their own rapes in films like MS. 45 (USA 1981, dir.: Abel Ferrara) and I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE (USA 1978, dir.: Meir Zarchi) (C. Clover 1992, 6). Clover also notes that,
female killers are a few and their reasons for killing is significantly different from men’s. […] they show no gender confusion. Nor is their motive overtly psychosexual; their anger de- rives in most cases not from childhood experience but from specific moments in their adult lives in which they have been abandoned or cheated by men. (29).
Female perpetrators in gialli are triggered to commit vicious attacks and crimes on account of some childhood trauma, mental health disorders, and greed. Monica Ranieri
(L’UCCELLO DALLE PIUME DI CRISTALLO), goes on a killing spree because she still suffers from the trauma of having been raped in her youth. Mental illness is the trigger for Jane
159 Baxter (MACABRO) who returned from a mental health institution and tries to kill her neighbor because he is aware of her affair with her dead lover. Avarice and greed are the main motives for murder in the thriller-gialli and gialli erotici. These types of films frequently omit the stereotypical disguised killer. These gialli regularly include a ménage à trois and a female killer who tries, with the help of her boyfriend, to seduce and murder rich women, like wealthy Deborah (Carol Baker in IL DOLCE CORPO DI DEBORAH) who is driven insane by her husband Marcel (Jean Sorel) and his mistress Susan (Evelyn Stewart) as the pair seek to inherit Deborah’s money. The female killer in the giallo can be deemed to be a reflection of the Italian women’s right movement that thrived at the beginning of the early 1960s, notably after the death of Pope Pius XII in 1958. At that time, American movies did not have plots with female perpetrators, although there have been female serial killers down through the years. Jamie Righetti notes that gialli are “incredibly feminist. The women in gialli are unlike anything seen in American slashers or thrillers during the 1970s. […] Female killers are what truly set gialli apart from anything contemporaneous” (Righetti 2016). I concur with Righetti’s assertion that the giallo established a trend that American mov- ies could only achieve years after the giallo’s heyday.
CARRIE was the first American horror film depicting a female killer. Three years prior to CARRIE, however, SISTERS was the first American giallo-inspired thriller, to have a female aggressor. It is still worth mentioning that both movies were shot by De Palma. Nine out of the 55 American gialli which I have analyzed have female killers, where seven different motives for the female’s bloodshed can be identified:
1. Mental disorder: As with the Italian giallo, a crucial impetus for the killings is mental illness, which explains Katie Burke’s (Katie Holmes) murder of her boyfriend
(Charles Hunnan) and the investigating cop (Benjamin Brett) in ABANDON. Moreover,
in SINGLE WHITE FEMALE, Hedra (Jennifer Jason Leigh) gouges her roommate’s (Bridget Fonda) sweetheart’s (Steven Weber) eye and assassinates him afterwards because of her mental instability. She attempts to become Allison’s doppelganger. Ultimately, a psychiatric disorder is the reason why the sister of the separated con- joined twin (Margot Kidder) stabbed a man (Lisle Wilson) with whom her sister had
sex in SISTERS.
160 2. Jealousy: “Sexual jealousy and rivalry have been prominent in virtually every study of homicide motives. […] homicides in Manhattan found sexual jealousy to be the third-ranking motive after ‘unrestrained rage in the course of quarrels’ and crime- related murders” (Daly und WiIson 2009, 186). According to Dutton, from a sociobi- ological perspective, males are far more likely to experience sexual jealousy as they have no assurance of paternity (Dutton 2001, 33). In contrast to reality, female jeal-
ousy is more common in the giallo universe, like in STILL OF THE NIGHT. There, a female killer (Sarah Botsford) commits murders because of jealousy and her main aim is to execute the woman (Meryl Street) whom she blames of having seduced her partner. The unfaithful boyfriend is subsequently murdered for ending the rela- tionship. The movie not only has a female killer attacking people with a knife, but other giallo traits like an urban setting, point of view shots, a psychiatrist (Roy Scheider) acting as an amateur sleuth, voyeurism, flashbacks, the color red as a leitmotif, red herrings, telephone calls, and an Italian newspaper article about a mur- der which took place in Florence, thus, providing a possible clue as to the identity of the attacker.
Newspaper article with the title Morte violenta a Firenze in STILL OF THE NIGHT
3. Patricide: Familicide is a definition for a family member murdering other members of a family. Familicide “is most often used to describe cases where a parent, usually the father, kills his wife and children and then himself” (Guy 2019). There are varia- tions of ‘familicide’, like matricide (the killing of one’s mother), parenticide (the killing of one’s parents) and patricide (the killing of one’s father) (Guy 2019). The latter
takes place in PROFONDO ROSSO when Carlo witnesses his mother stabbing his fa-
ther. In HUSH, the mother (Jessica Lange) blames her son (Johnathon Schaech) for the death of his father, who was, according to the mother, pushed down the stairs
161 by the seven-year-old son. Later it is unveiled that the mother pushed her husband to his death. 4. Humiliation: Her husband’s degradation was the stimulus for wife Christina, with the assistance of the husband’s mistress Nicole, to murder the dictatorial husband
Michel in Henri-Georges Clouzot’s thriller LES DIABOLIQUE. The French film was, ac- cording to Howarth, a handbook and template for the cinematic giallo, in particular, in the formation of the ‘internal intrigue’ giallo (Howarth, So Deadly So Perverse Vol.
1 1963-1973 2015, 30). The motive is the same in the American remake DIABOLIQUE,
and in BOUND, where Corky (Gina Gershon) starts a homosexual relationship with Violet (Jennifer Tilly) and the pair contrive to assassinate Violet’s brutal and domi- nating partner Caesar (Joe Pantoliano). The film features a whole panoply of giallo elements, such as flashbacks, detailed sex between two women, telephone calls, elevators, art, point of view shots, and a movie poster reference to the American
mafia thriller STILETTO (USA 1969, dir.: Bernard L. Kowalski) in Ceasar’s bourgeoise
apartment. BOUND can be read as a giallo thriller with criminal characters. 5. Sins: Matthew 5:21 “You have heard that the ancients were told, 'You shall not commit murder' and 'Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court’”
(Strohman 2014, 100). In ALICE SWEET ALICE, Mrs. Tredoni (Mildred Clinton), Father Tom’s housekeeper (Rudolph Willrich), undertakes the task of the Last Judgement and assaults several people. First, she murders nine-year-old Karen (Brooke Shields) at her first communion, then her father, and finally Father Tom, stabbing him in the neck with a knife. Mrs. Tredoni reveals to Karen’s mother (Linda Miller) that she lost her daughter on the day of her communion, believing that children have to die for the sins of their parents. Agonized, Mrs. Tredoni dedicated herself to the church and became a deranged killer. The idea of killing priests was nurtured in the
giallo (THE BLOODSTAINED SHADOW, DON’T TORTURE A DUCKLING, CHI L'HA VISTA MO-
RIRE and SETTE ORCHIDEE MACCHIATE DI ROSSO), and undoubtedly influenced also Al- fred Sole to cast a female housekeeper, working in a clerical environment, as the
assailant in ALICE SWEET ALICE.
Mrs. Tredoni stabbing Father Tom into his neck Mrs. Tredoni embracing Father Tom for the last time
6. Desire: “A femme fatale […] is an alluring and seductive woman whose charms ensnare her lovers in bonds of irresistible desire, often leading them into compro- mising, dangerous, and deadly situations” (Duthel 2018, Kindle). Femmes fatales were common in the American film noir of the 1940s and 50s. Such women try “to achieve her hidden purpose by using feminine wiles such as beauty, charm, and sexual allure” (Duthel 2018), and have been also a frequent character in the giallo, especially when thinking of the ‘giallo babes’ Barbara Bouchet, Marisa Mell and the queen of giallo, Edwige Fenech. The female stars of the giallo “carried a dichotomy with their new starlet stature: they were at once powerful femme fatales (aligning with similar scenarios in film noir) and typified by a specifically womanly form of madness and victimization” (Gosling 2016). Beautiful female actors were very im- portant to the 1960s and 70s gialli to lure audiences to the terza visione cinemas. Many male cinemagoers acquired a taste for this filone due to these femmes fatales. The attractive female characters were not only used as magnets for male audiences, they also functioned as mistresses, assistants to amateur sleuths, they were some- times the testimone oculare, the killer and most often the victim.
7. Lust: A worthy example for killings out of lust is Ursula (Barbara Magnolfi) in LA
SORELLA DI URSULA. Ursula does not have a traumatized past nor is she an abused wife, she kills for ‘sexual’ pleasure. Female killers, who murder because of excite- ment can be found in American gialli too, and the embodiment of such assailants is
Catherine Tramell (Sharon Stone) in BASIC INSTINCT.
Catherine Tramell – the passionate killer
Catherine shares the same attributes as numerous female giallo characters/killers. She is bisexual, a nymphomaniac, cunning, inhospitable, and she has a proclivity for murdering people. Director Paul Verhoeven announced that “Catherine is the devil – that’s why she is bisexual. […] To be the Devil, Catherine must be attractive and available to both men and women. The perfect object of temptation cannot be a lesbian, or a heterosexual woman – she must be a woman whom anyone could desire” (Eadie 1997, 143-144).
3.2.4. Quentin Tarantino’s Affection for the Giallo
Italian gialli attracted domestic moviegoers for almost twenty years, and in their heyday these Italian thrillers were immensely popular. Terza visione cinemas tended to screen exploitation movies, and many gialli can be labelled as such. There are nevertheless a number of ‘highbrow’ gialli. In the 1970s several sophisticated gialli were screened at American drive-ins and grindhouse theaters. Some thirty titles were also released on the American market on video. Although the American market was not flooded with a high quantity of Italian gialli, many American directors began implementing giallo tropes in American movies. Most deny having been inspired by the giallo, with the exception of John Carpenter, Matthew Kennedy, Adam Brooks and Quentin Tar- antino.56 The aim of this chapter is not to analyze obvious rip-offs or identify larceny, but to focus on directors and movies that paid a proper homage to the giallo.
56 The international neo-giallo has been inspired by the Italian giallo immensely over the last decade. Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani’s movies can be viewed as a hybrid, with a mix of classic giallo ele- ments entwined with drama and psychological self-reflection. This chapter deals exclusively with Amer- ican movies and thus, other international influences of the giallo will be excluded. Nonetheless, it is still worth mentioning that in the last years the European thrillers CONTRATIEMPO (Spain 2016, dir.: Oriol Paulo) and ELLE (Belgium/France/Germany 2016, dir.: Paul Verhoeven) have shown great admiration
164 After a long hiatus, the giallo celebrated a re-birth in American cinemas in the New Beverly Cinema in Los Angeles in 2017. The New Beverly Cinema opened in 1978 and became one of the leading repertory cinemas in California which concen- trates on screening double features of classic, foreign, independent and arthouse cin- ema. Quentin Tarantino purchased the building in 2007 and is still heavily involved in choosing the films to be screened. It was also Tarantino’s idea to display large film posters, mainly from French and Italian films in the hallways. One of the main reasons for Tarantino to buy the building and be the owner of the cinema was to share his private collection of 35- and 16-mm prints with the audience (The New Beverly Cinema n.d.). Tarantino claims,
I have a really, really huge film-print collection that I’ve been curating for almost 20 years now. And I want to show my prints! We’ll still be borrowing prints from the studios and other collectors, but I like the idea that the base of what we’re doing will be my print collection. Some of them are absolutely amazing, and I want people to see them, to enjoy them. [Fur- thermore,] I want the New Beverly to be a bastion for 35mm films. I want it to stand for something. When you see a film on the New Beverly calendar, you don’t have to ask whether it’s going to be shown in DCP or in 35mm. You know it’s playing in 35 because it’s the New Beverly. (The New Beverly Cinema n.d.)
January 2017 program, including the Dario Argento all night The film poster of L’UCCELLO DALLE PIUME DI CRISTALLO in the New screening Beverly
On January 13th, 2017, the New Beverly had a marathon of six Dario Argento classics which were sold out under 30 seconds, which was a new record.
for the giallo. While CONTRATIEMPO is full of flashbacks, point of view shots, voyeurism and shows a disguised killer with black leather gloves, ELLE is a psychological giallo about a peeping Tom who ab- ducts and rapes a woman in their mid-forties. The rapist wears black leather gloves and a ski mask and continues stalking her. Moreover, the film depicts homosexuality between women, is set in a bourgeoise environment, and makes great use of point of view shots and mirrors. 165
The sold-out Dario Argento All Night screening at the New Beverly in 2017
Tarantino’s penchant for the Italian giallo can not only be observed in his screenings at the New Beverly, but also in his movies. The most considerable disparity between Tarantino’s craft and other American thrillers bearing the giallo hallmark is that Tar- antino’s movies are neither ‘whodunits’ nor typical thrillers. Furthermore, there are no disguised maniacs to be found. The giallo influence in some of his films is nevertheless palpable.
KILL BILL VOL. 1 (USA 2003), an homage of the grindhouse cinema of the 1970s and a cross-genre movie, intertwines martial arts with Italo-western, samurai movies, Japanese Yakuza movies, manga, and the giallo. It was the first of his films incorpo- rating giallo references. In an interview with the BBC Tarantino revealed why he stitched together such a multitude of genres in KILL BILL VOL. 1., stating,
I just grew up watching a lot of movies. I'm attracted to this genre and that genre, this type of story, and that type of story. As I watch movies I make some version of it in my head that isn't quite what I'm seeing - taking the things I like and mixing them with stuff I've never seen before. […] I'm a little hesitant about saying this out loud - I'm not trying to crow - but I'm influenced by movies from all different countries. I don't really consider myself an Amer- ican filmmaker like, say, Ron Howard might be considered an American filmmaker. If I'm doing something and it seems to me to be reminiscent of an Italian giallo, I'm gonna to do it like an Italian giallo. And if I'm gonna do something that begs to be done in the vein of a Japanese Yakuza movie, or Hong Kong Triad movie, I'm gonna do it like that. I understand a lot of audiences from a lot of different countries and, to me, America is just another mar- ket. (Tarantino, Kill Bill: Volume 1 2003)
Three giallo references can be identified in KILL BILL VOL.1. The first is the use of Fabio Frizzi’s and Vince Tempera’s theme “Seven Notes in Black”, which was originally com- posed for Lucio Fulci’s giallo SETTE NOTE IN NERO (Italy 1977, SEVEN NOTES IN BLACK). The same music was used in the sequence when ‘the bride’, alias Black Mamba (Uma Thurman) emerges from a coma in the hospital after she was hit by a bullet at her wedding four years previously. She awakens from her coma just as a man is attempting
166 to rape her, so she tears out his tongue just as “Seven Notes in Black” starts to play. The song still plays when she is torturing the male nurse who was selling her body while she was comatose for four years. The music stops when she finishes battering in his head. Another reference to the giallo is detectable in the manga-style story about O- Ren Ishii (Lucy Liu). Ishii witnessed the murder of her parents when she was nine, when Yakuza boss Matsumoto ordered them to be killed. She watched as her father was slaughtered with a Japanese catana sword, the catana, also used by the ancient samurai. The hitman pulls the blade through her father’s chest and then hits it into the back of his neck, redolent of the sequence in PROFONDO ROSSO when professor Giordani (Glauco Mauri) is stabbed by the killer, plunging a sword in the back of his neck. In Tarantino’s and Argento’s film, the victim’s face is shown first and then the camera pans up, depicting the murder weapon in a close-up shot. A further analogy can be found in a sequence when Black Mamba fights against Go Go Yubari (Chiaki Kuriyama), an associate of O-Ren Ishii, who attacks Black Mamba with a meteor hammer. Go Go almost strangles Mamba with a chain, compa- rable to PROFONDO ROSSO’s end sequence when Marcus is assaulted by Martha with a meat cleaver, but he manages to push her towards the elevator shaft. Her head is decapitated with her own necklace getting caught in the lift shaft that tightens when the elevator moves down and slashes through her neck, severing her head from her torso.
Black Mamba is almost chocked with a chain Martha, decapitated with her own necklace
The final similarity in KILL BILL VOL. 1 can be found in the showdown between Black Mamba and O-Ren Ishii, which takes place at a Tokyo restaurant and is accompanied with music that was originally composed by Ennio Morricone for the Italo-western DA
UOMO A UOMO (Italy 1967, dir.: Giulio Petroni, DEATH RIDES A HORSE). Before both women start dueling, Black Mamba severs O-Ren Ishii’s assistant’s arm with a sword.
167 After cutting Sofie Fatale’s (Julie Dreyfus) left arm, blood begins to spew from her wound onto Black Mamba and into the camera lens. A similar killing occurs in TENE-
BRAE, where the killer, Peter Neil, plunges an axe into Jane’s, his ex-wife’s (Veronica Lario)57 back. Jane’s death struggle is one of the goriest scenes in the giallo canon. Audiences are presented with Jane’s severed stump, as cascades of blood splatter over a white wall. Argento’s murder sequence of Jane is not only a creative murder scene, but a work of art which was not appreciated by the censors. The British BBFC demanded that the scene in which Jane’s squeals in pain and the blood spatters be cut. Moreover, it was forbidden to show her arm on the table which was still holding her gun. The video and DVD releases of the film were listed as video nasties (Movie Censorship 2011). In Germany, for instance, the district court ordered the film to be banned due to its excessive graphic violence, claiming that the film contained too many barbaric death scenes (Flimtrop 2015, 170).
Jane’s arm being chopped off in TENEBRAE by the killer Peter Neil
Sofie’s arm severed by Black Mamba in KILL BILL VOL. 1
TENEBRAE was also an influence on the Hollywood production COLOR OF NIGHT (1994). Bob, who is visited by his friend Bill in Los Angeles, is attacked in his office by a cloaked
57 Veronica Lario is the former wife of previous Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. 168 killer with silver gloves and a knife who jumps through a window glass (as in TENEBRAE) and stabs him in the back and stomach and then tosses him through a glass door. Bob is impaled by the glass which protrudes from his abdomen, similar to Peter Neil’s death in TENEBRAE whose midsection is perforated by a metal sculpture.
Peter Neil being impaled by a metal statue in TENEBRAE Bob’s abdomen perforated by a broken glass in COLOR OF NIGHT
The giallo influence can also be detected in KILL BILL VOL. 2 (USA 2004, dir.: Quentin
Tarantino). Nora Orlandi’s score “Dies Irae” from the 1971 giallo LO STRANO VIZIO DELLA
SIGNORA WARDH was used during dialogue scenes between Bill (David Carradine) and Bud (Michael Madsen).
Three years after making KILL BILL VOL. 2, Tarantino directed the action thriller
DEATH PROOF (USA 2007), a further homage to the grindhouse and exploitation cinema of the 1970s. The film was released as a double feature with Robert Rodridguez
PLANET TERROR (USA 2007). The story revolves around Stuntman Mike (Kurt Russel) who kills innocent women with his death proof stunt car. He likes to pry on young and attractive females, taking pictures of them and collecting items that the girls touched before he kills them – two elements which have been common giallo traits.
There is a scene in Argento’s L’UCCELLO DALLE PIUME DI CRISTALLO that is very much alike. Mike secretly observes the four female main characters and takes pictures of them as they walk through a car park. In Argento’s opening titles an unknown indi- vidual, obviously the killer, takes voyeuristic pictures of his next female victim who is walking along a busy Roman street. Clicking sounds of the camera can be heard while seeing the victim through a camera lens. Tarantino uses the same point of view shots as the audience sees the victim through the killer’s camera and the distinctive clicking sound of a camera can be heard. Additionally, Ennio Morricone’s theme “Paranoia
Prima” that he composed exclusively for L’UCCELLO DALLE PIUME DI CRISTALLO accom- panies the sequence in DEATH PROOF. Both scenes are of similar length. In DEATH
169 PROOF, the killer’s gaze takes 47 seconds, in L’UCCELLO DALLE PIUME DI CRISTALLO it lasts 43 seconds and both scenes consist of mainly medium, long and medium-close up shots. While both movies fetishize on youthful female bodies, an incongruity be- tween the killers might be observable. In DEATH PROOF it is obvious that the perpetrator is male, but in L’UCCELLO DALLE PIUME DI CRISTALLO this fact it is not presented in the beginning of the film, and only at the end the murderer is revealed to be female. In particular, the combination of the killer’s stalking and Morricone’s Paranoia Prima theme draws attention to the fact that this scene in DEATH PROOF reprises L’UCCELLO
DALLE PIUME DI CRISTALLO.
Mike’s taking secretly photos of his next victims
The opening sequence in L’UCCELLO DALLE PIUME DI CRISTALLO, presenting the next killed female
DEATH PROOF, like KILL BILL, is a movie full of film references. This is how Tarantino pays tribute to the movies he loves, such as Stuntman Mike’s additional name ‘Frank- enstein’, a reference to David Carradine’s character in DEATH RACE 2000 (USA 1975, dir.: Paul Bartel); Jungle Julia (Sydney Tamiia Poitier) calling Stuntman Mike ‘Zatoichi’ – a reference to the swordsman who acted in Japan’s longest film series; Shanna’s
(Jordan Ladd) T-shirt with the image of Russ Meyer’s FASTER PUSSYCAT! KILL! KILL! (USA 1965), Marcy’s (Marcy Harriell) T-shirt with the imprint ‘L’ultimo Buscadero’, in- dicating the Italian title of Sam Peckinpah’s JUNIOR BONNER (USA 1972) starring Steve McQueen; Robert Frost’s poem “Stopping By The Woods On A Snowy Evening” that Mike uses to persuade Arlene (Vanessa Ferlito) to give him a lap dance, the same poem used as an activation signal for the Soviet spy in the Charles Bronson movie
170 TELEFON (USA 1977, dir.: Don Siegel); and finally, a poster of Lucia Fulci’s giallo PAR-
ANOIA with Carroll Baker and Jean Sorel, which can be found on the wall of Jungle Julia’s apartment.
3.2.5. The Parodistic Homage to the Giallo
The Canadian film production company Astron 6 was founded in 2007. In 2013, the founders Adam Brooks, Jeremy Gillespie and Matt Kennedy wanted to make a film that would be like a love letter to their most favorite genre, the giallo (Brooks 2015). Thus, they directed a humorous parody on the giallo called THE EDITOR. Even the original movie poster indicates the film’s inclination, using the most exemplary elements of the giallo, such as black gloves, a shining knife and a revealingly dressed female looking death in the eye. Movie poster designer Thomas Hodge who created the movie poster for THE EDITOR claims:
For this design I decided to create a purely authentic Giallo piece of artwork, even having all the text and title in Italian. The use of colour fonts and layout are typical of the Giallo poster style. As for the imagery itself it ties into the films rolling joke about the treatment of women in Giallo films, so this intern is a very typical visual of the naked woman in mortal danger being attacked by the leather gloved maniac, as the film is about an editor she is sensually draped over an editing desk entwined in reels of film. You can also see homages to such film posters as Argentos, [sic] TENEBRAE with the position of girls [sic] head, her white out eyes and draping hair. (Hodge n.d.)
The actual budget for the movie was a mere C$ 90.000, and the filmmakers had to launch a campaign to crowdfund most the film’s production costs (Brooks 2015). Gob- lin composer Claudio Simonetti, who had often worked with Dario Argento, was hired to compose the score. References to the giallo are detectable almost immediately when film editor Rey Ciso (Adam Brooks) is introduced literally cutting a giallo called Tarantola. He edits footage of a masked killer with black leather gloves, a syringe, who stalks a woman in her apartment. The naked female is paralyzed with an injection and then the killer smashes her skull with an axe. The whole sequence is redolent of Paulo
Cavara’s LA TARANTULA DAL VENTRE NERO, where an insane perpetrator, wearing white latex gloves, paralyzes his victims with a needle before hacking them in the stomach.
Movie poster Astron 6 crowdfunding campaign
THE EDITOR contains the entire ensemble of giallo elements. The killer wears a different disguise for every murder presenting a fashion show of killer costumes including ski masks, fedoras and black and white gloves. Police officers are presented as being clueless and inept. There is an abundance of point of view shots, flashbacks and split screens. Although the film was recorded in English, perceptive audience members will observe that the sound designers mixed the film in a way that makes the film appear poorly synchronized, just as gialli were back in the 1970s for the international market. Instead of the obligatory J&B whiskey, characters drink wine labelled ‘Vino de Giallo’. Numerous scantily dressed women have copious amounts of sexual intercourse in the film, all referencing the Italian filone. Finally, the murders are vicious, yet comical, there is a focus on eyes and a suspicious priest completes the giallo color pallet. The most striking references are the mentioned films in the film, the scenes which copy the Italian filone, and the posters which poster designer Graham Hum- phreys created as mise en scene props for the film. Humphreys designed an illustrated several posters for fake giallo films and most of them were homages to ones that really exist, such as The Cat with the Velvet Blade, which can be identified as a combination of CAT O’NINE TAILS (IL GATTO A NOVE CODE), FOUR FLIES ON GREY VELVET (QUATTRO
MOSCHE DI VELLUTO GRIGIO) and A BLADE IN THE DARK (LA CASA CON LA SCALA NEL BUIO) or BLADE OF THE RIPPER, an alternative title for THE STRANGE VICE OF MRS. WARDH (LO
STRANO VIZIO DELLA SIGNORA WARDH).
The three movies posters in the film created by Graham Humphreys
As mentioned previously, the first movie quoted in THE EDITOR is LA TARANTOLA DAL
VENTRE NERO. For the second, LO STRANO VIZIO DELLA SIGNORA WARDH, the filmmakers picked the two most memorable scenes of the film, Julie’s (Edwige Fenech) recollec- tion of her sadomasochistic relationship with Jean (Ivan Rassimov). In flashbacks Julie recalls a torturous bout of sexual intercourse on a bed strewn with broken glass and Jean tossing her on the ground to have his way with her while it rains heavily outside. Both scenes appear to show Jean raping Julie, but we later realize that she finds pleas- ure in being dominated and treated harshly. In THE EDITOR, Jasmine Rain (Jasmine Mae) relives an event of lovemaking with Peter Porfiry (Matthew Kennedy) in the pour- ing rain, wearing a dress similar to that worn by Julie. Jasmine is slapped by Peter, in the same way that Jean hits Julie across the cheeks before he rips off her dress. In LO
STRANO VIZIO DELLA SIGNORA WARDH Julie twice recalls her turbulent relationship with Jean and in the second flashback Jean shatters a bottle of wine over Julie and pro- ceeds to slash her body with some of the glass shards while they have sex. The same sequence plays out in THE EDITOR when Peter smashes a bottle of wine over Jasmine’s body and then slices her with shards of glass before they copulate, accompanied with
Claudio Simonetti’s score. LO STRANO VIZIO DELLA SIGNORA WARDH served as a narra- tive and visual template for THE EDITOR.
Jasmine’s flashback of the tormenting lovemaking in the heavy rain (THE EDITOR)
Julie’s flashback of the distressing sexual activity with Jean in the pouring rain (LO STRANO VIZIO DELLA SIGNORA WARDH)
Peter shattering a bottle of wine over Jasmine and ripping off her clothes (THE EDITOR)
Jean blasting a bottle of wine over Julia and tearing off her shirt (LO STRANO VIZIO DELLA SIGNORA WARDH)
THE EDITOR also references TENEBRAE. One example is a scene where a female strip- per is harassed by the killer on the way home before being slaughtered. In TENEBRAE a female thief is followed home by a killer before being killed in her apartment. A book with the title Three Mothers appears in THE EDITOR which is an homage to Argento’s
INFERNO and SUSPIRIA. As mentioned before, the film starts with a movie-within-a- movie scene, where a murder is detected by the editor in THE EDITOR. This is a refer- ence to De Palma’s BLOW OUT (USA 1981), where sound recordist John Travolta acci- dentally records the sound of a gunfire shot, setting him up as the amateur sleuth. In
THE EDITOR, while out walking his dog, Peter finds a severed hand under a bridge, identical to Fulci’s LO SQUARTATORE DI NEW YORK where a dog discovers a detached hand near the Brooklyn Bridge.
174 Humorous parodies like THE EDITOR are rather rare productions. This might be due to the fact that the – often young – target group is not familiar with the films that are being parodied whereby the formula only succeeds if the audience knows the mocked movie.58
3.2.6. Sexuality and Fetish, Made in Hollywood
In the late 1980s and early 90s a new genre, the erotic thriller, emerged in Hollywood which intertwined sexuality with thrill. Several titles, such as BODY OF EVIDENCE (Ger- many/USA 1993, dir.: Uli Edel) and BASIC INSTINCT were focused on “linking a sexy adjective and a destructive noun, or vice versa” (Keesey 2001, 44). Keesey observes that these films were often criticized to be mere adaptations of the one of the first erotic thrillers, FATAL ATTRACTION (USA 1987, dir.: Adrian Lyne) (44). Within a short time, B-movies of the same type were produced. Most of these erotic thrillers went straight-to-video, “as the VHS machine became an established fea- ture of the domestic space, making films only or primarily for video release” (L. R. Williams 2005, 6). Williams also notes that in some genres, big and successful produc- tions have nurtured the production of cheaper productions, such as westerns, thrillers, melodramas, but especially on poverty row59, including horror, science fiction and por- nography. Low-budget direct-to-video erotic thrillers were similar in plot to the ‘high- brow’ titles, as “both trade on sex from the title down” (10), but differentiated in the way that “they exist for sex whilst theatrically-released films exist for story” (10). “The plots of these [direct-to-video erotic thrillers], all budgeted at under a million dollars, take only what they can afford from the classic traditions; but that is a considerable amount. All have enough money for a femme fatale, a hired killer or two, a confused and en- trapped hero, an employer ripped off, a shakedown” (Silver and Ward 1992, 422).
58 Examples of this genre are STUDENT BODIES (USA 1981, dir.: Mickey Rose) which derides the slasher era of the late 1970s and early 1980s; and the successful SCARY MOVIE franchise (USA 2000-2013, dir.: diverse), which is distinctive in that it parodies mainly recent releases well-known to younger horror fans. 59 “Poverty Row was the nickname given to the small Hollywood studios, located along Gower Street or in its vicinity, that eked out ultra-low-budget movies from the days of the early talkies until television gutted the market. Some of this discount output was later hailed as brilliant, but at the time, few saw anything arty about it” (Nehme 2017).
175 Shannon Tweed became the personification of the B-movie ‘femme fatale’, starring in more than twenty low-budget erotic thrillers.60
Shannon Tweed in INDECENT BEHAVIOR Film poster INDICENT BAHAVIOR 2, indicting its release on VHS
While Keesey claims FATAL ATTRACTION being the first erotic thriller on Hollywood soil,
Thomas Leitch argues that BODY HEAT (1981) can be viewed as the first erotic thriller.
He asserts that film noir, which witnessed a demise after KISS ME DEADLY (USA 1955, dir.: Robert Aldrich) and TOUCH OF EVIL (USA 1958, dir.: Orson Welles), was resur- rected with BODY HEAT. The rebirth of the genre implemented a major new element, differentiating itself from the original, sexuality. Additionally, Leitch names three crucial developments in the sociology of American sexuality that facilitated the resurgence of neo-noirs (T. Leitch 2002, 146).
The sexual freedom made possible by the widespread availability of contraception and abortion; the replacement of the Hays Office’s 1930 Production Code by the Motion Picture Association of America’s system of age-appropriate ratings, beginning in 1969; and the dramatic political and social changes provoked by the women’s liberation movement in the 1970s. Just as issues concerning women’s empowerment were coming to the fore for the first time since the years immediately following the war, the film industry was undergoing a revolution in its portrayal of sexual behavior. No longer bound by restrictions of the Produc- tion Code, filmmakers were free to present sexual relationships more frankly. (146)
Leitch identifies these regulations as the catalyst to produce erotic thrillers which began in the mid-1980s in the United States.
60 Tweed’s most memorable films are INDECENT BEHAVIOR (USA 1993, dir.: Lawrence Lanoff), ILLICIT DREAMS (USA 1994, dir.: Andrew Stevens), VICTIM OF DESIRE (USA 1995, dir.: Jim Wynorski), STORMY NIGHTS (USA 1996, dir.: Alberto Viddauri) and HUMAN DESIRES (USA 1997, dir.: Ellen Earn- shaw).
176 There is still some debate as to the starting point of the erotic thriller in America.
While Leach regards BODY HEAT as the outset, Keesey and Julianna Pidduck consider
FATAL ATTRACTION as the first example of the genre. The film is about an obsessed woman (Glenn Close) who becomes the lover of married lawyer Dan Gallagher (Mi- chael Douglas), whom she tries to murder. Pidduck, who coined the term ‘fatale femme cycle of movies’, claims that everything started with FATAL ATTRACTION and continued with BASIC INSTINCT (in Gates 2006, 107).
Kate Stables, on the other hand, sees BASIC INSTINCT as the beginning of a trend of erotic thrillers with potent femme fatales who get away with their crimes at the end of the film, a trend that continues with THE LAST SEDUCTION, BODY OF EVIDENCE and JADE. […] What be- gins as a backlash against empowered women in the 1980s evolves into a celebration of the power of the independent woman by the mid-1990s. (107)
The erotic thriller is usually split into two different categories. The first has a male victim dying at the end because of the femme fatale who is usually caught, and then there are femmes fatales as protagonists who get away with murder (107f). It should be argued whether Stables’, Pidduck’s and Keesey’s belief in electing
FATAL ATTRACTION as the prime erotic thriller is correct and whether Leach’s theory of identifying BODY HEAT as the American prototype of the erotic thriller might not be more accurate. Leach theory seems more precise, because Matty Walker (Kathleen Turner), who kills and manipulated males, is the embodiment of the femme fatale. Besides identifying the starting point of the genre, research should be evaluated as to where the American erotic thriller comes from, and here the majority of scholars regard the film noir as its most profound influence. Keesey notes,
The word “new”, of course, is relative. The genre didn’t spring from nowhere, and one can see its roots and affiliations in the categories critics used for these films in the late eighties before “erotic thriller” became common parlance: film noir, mystery, horror, melodrama, and pornography. A hybrid form (as even its title indicates), the erotic thriller combines traditional generic elements into a new mix. If it owes much to previous genres (sometimes to the point of being mistaken for them), it also presents an innovative conjunction of prior generic strands in a form that is specific to contemporary social issues. (Keesey 2001, 44- 46)
Undoubtedly, film noir can be regarded as an impetus for American erotic thrillers, but none of the scholars, even not Linda Ruth Williams, identify any influence by the Italian giallo, although its shadow over this new American genre is ubiquitous. As mentioned in chapter 1.3.9, the giallo erotico is a sub-category of the giallo. Due to female sexual emancipation, which began in Italy in 1958, such liberation made its way into film nar- ratives, particularly into the giallo. Eroticism as a potent recipe for the giallo erotico was
177 initially visible in IL DOLCE CORPO DI DEBORAH, which includes scenes of graphic nudity and sexuality. One year after this film’s success Lucio Fulci lavishly depicted sexual promiscuity in UNA SULL'ALTRA. Aside from a thrilling plot, Fulci presented striptease bars with naked women, an explicit sex scene lasting for almost three minutes showing oral sex, and the moment of climax. Fulci openly addressed female homosexuality, an obligatory component in later gialli. Many included sexual elements besides a murder- ously thrilling plot. The seductive actresses in the giallo, such as Edwige Fenech be- came the sexual embodiment of gialli and these films were often advertised for their sensual content. They lured male audiences to the cinemas. Howarth notes that, “Gialli were frequently promoted on the promise of sex and nudity and actresses like Barbara Bouchet, Rosalba Neri, Anita Strindberg, Nieves Navarro and Edwige Fenech have a loyal following to this day because of their willingness to get down and dirty in these sordid scenarios” (Howarth 2015, 13). Due to the overt sexuality in combination with murder and thrill it can be argued that the American erotic thriller’s outset was enabled and fostered by the giallo filone.
The first erotic thriller IL DOLCE CORPO DI DEBORAH combined a deadly plot with the por- trayal of nudity and sexuality. Soon, other giallo directors copied this formula. Directors such as Umberto Lenzi, Lucio Fulci and Sergio Martino incorporated scenes of nudity, uncensored heterosexual and lesbian intercourse. They included phallic objects, sex toys and sadomasochism. Roberto Curti was the first to use the term erotic thrillers in relation to the Italian giallo, stating that,
Lenzi achieved impressive box office results in Italy and abroad with a triptych of erotic thrillers starring Carroll Baker […] ORGASMO (1968, released in the United States as PARA- NOIA, leading to a somewhat confusing situation in years to come), SO SWEET, SO PERVERSE (COSI DOLCE…COSI PERVERSA, 1969) and PARANOIA (a.k.a. A QUIET PLACE TO KILL, 1970). The mixture of sexual innuendo, complex Machiavellian plots and upper class settings […] was a winning one, as it took advantage of Italy’s relaxing censorship and helped put aside the more puerile genre offerings of the previous years. (R. Curti 2013, 297)
Williams sees the roots of the erotic thriller in the film noir. Moreover, she claims that the emergence of the home video market, beginning in 1975, and pornography “as a genre (or as a set of interconnected genres – printed, cinematic, hardcore and soft)” (L. R. Williams 2005, 41), developed the erotic thriller. However, neither Williams, who penned The Erotic Thriller in Contemporary Cinema, nor other scholars identify the impact of the giallo on American erotic thrillers. Williams points out that BODY HEAT was not only the prototype of the neo-noir, but that, above all, it created the erotic thriller (L. R. Williams, Neo-Noir and Erotic Thrillers 2006, 360).
178 BODY HEAT was […] one of the first titles to be referred to as a neo-noir in publicity material, and – in its explicit sex scenes – arguably the first film to be called an erotic thriller. This term gained currency throughout the 1980s, although in many ways the neo-noirs and the erotic thriller are overlapping forms. Both take their cue from the thriller tropes of noir, both understand that much of film noir involved sexual subterfuge (criminal scenarios are often predicated on desire). The erotic thriller developed as a hybrid genre that drew on softcore pornography as much as it drew on noir, and made the most of more relaxed attitudes to sexual explicitness on mainstream screens in the 1980s and 1990s. (360)
Starting the mid-seventies, the production quality of gialli began to diminish and the eroticism depicted became more brutal and bizarre. This transition was evident in An- drea Bianchi's NUDE PER L'ASSASSINO, with Edwige Fenech in the leading role. The film includes a sex scene between two women, showing how Gisela (Giuliana Cecchini) smacks Lucia (Femi Benussi) several times in her face and calls her a slut while having sex. There are two further extended sex scenes between Magda (Edwige Fenech) and her boyfriend Carlo (Nino Castelnuovo), who fulfilling the role of playboy, seduces sev- eral other women. In the final scene, Carlo announces his intention to penetrate Magda anally. Bianchi's film was one of the first soft-core gialli, as it featured rough sex-scenes and perversity. Two other eminent examples of the giallo erotico, which merge softcore with
(borderline) hardcore elements, are LA SORELLA DI URSULA and GIALLO A VENEZIA. LA
SORELLA DI URSULA is a giallo which includes scenes of explicit oral sex, masturbation, lesbianism, sexual intercourse and genital mutilation. One of the wildest sex scenes was filmed using a high-angle shot which influenced the first sex scene in Paul
Verhoeven's movie BASIC INSTINCT (France/USA/UK 1992), where Catherine Tramell (Sharon Stone) kills her victim with an ice pick.
GIALLO A VENEZIA is a depraved giallo, depicting multiple scenes of sex, gore, rape, torture and lust. As with many gialli, the director focuses more on style over con- tent, filling the screen with depraved sexual violence, voyeurism and misogyny. In one of the last scenes, physical and psychological violence are portrayed par excellence as we see Fabio (Gianni Dei) watching from a safe distance as his girlfriend Flavia (Leonora Flavi) is raped by two dock workers. Fabio has convinced his wife to offer herself to the workmen and is sexually gratified as he watches his wife being raped multiple times on a derelict Venetian dock. Both, LA SORELLA DI URSULA and GIALLO A
VENEZIA are examples of sleazy style over content gialli, which focus on sexploitation and not on a thrilling giallo-esque plot.
179 The American erotic thriller borrows its tropes not only from the film noir, but also from the giallo. The borderline gialli, which began incorporating softcore and hard- core sex scenes, could be compared to the ‘lowbrow’ American B-movie erotic thrillers, which depict a larger amount of graphic nudity and lovemaking compared to erotic thrillers produced by major studios. “Of all the prominent exploitation genres, the erotic thriller has become expert at getting ‘the most production value for the dollar’” (L. R. Williams 2005, 331). “Indeed, sex and violence remain the stock-in-trade of […] all erotic thrillers” (L. R. Williams 2006, 358), two elements which were featured predom- inantly in the giallo. In contrast to the gialli, low-budget American direct-to-video erotic thrillers tend to imitate the plots of ‘highbrow’ Hollywood productions. Gialli filmmakers stuck to their formula, and ‘lowbrow’ gialli rarely replicated the story line of a ‘highbrow’ giallo. In America, “however, the equivalent DTVs [direct-to-video] achieved a higher percentage of profit. The difference, […] is that DTV producers ‘are doing SLIVER with- out the $10-million actress attached’” (Naremore 2008, 162). “Such films often feature former Playboy models like Shannon Tweed or Shannon Whirry, and their plots usually involve some combination of voyeurism, striptease, lesbian sex, two-on-one sex, and mild bondage” (162), features that were introduced in numerous gialli. Voyeurism was initially detectable in LO STRANO VIZIO DELLA SIGNORA WARDH (1971). While George and Julie are copulating on a sofa, the killer observes them through a window. Striptease and lesbian sex had its giallo-debut in Fulci’s UNA SULL'ALTRA (1969). The first three- some in a giallo was rendered on film in I CORPI PRESENTANO TRACCE DI VIOLENZA CAR-
NALE (1973), and mild bondage was on offer in FEMINA RIDENS (1969) which combined drama, sadism, bondage and sex laced with thrill and arthouse.
Bondage scene in FEMINA RIDENS Opening sequence of a threesome in I CORPI PRESENTANO TRACCE DI VIO- LENZA CARNALE
180 Such sexual elements might seem normal in contemporary American erotic thrillers, but they can be identified as well in Italian gialli of the late 1960s and early 70s. At that time American films did not depicted any visual sexuality on the big screen. While in Italy the graphic lechery started in the 1960s, it took over a decade until Hollywood productions dared to implement sexual debauchery. This was enabled owing to politi- cal and social changes including female sexual emancipation. Thus, even controversial thrillers that embedded overt depiction of homosexual intercourse like in CRUISING, or female erotic phantasies of rape as in DRESSED TO KILL became accepted and common in the late 1970s and early 1980s in America. Similar to the slasher, erotic thrillers of the early 1980s advertised the “subject matter appropriate to the AIDS age, when sex could mean death” (L. R. Williams 2005, 50). Some Italian gialli focused on ‘internal-driven machinations’ and they stood out with a ménage à trois, unconcealed sexuality and the main narrative ingredients of greed and foolishness. Marc Sorel frequently used his sex appeal to get by and even to get away with crime. This template was also applied by Hollywood. John McNaugh- ton’s WILD THINGS is a story about high-school teacher Sam Lombardo (Matt Dillon) who starts a sexual relationship with his students Kelly Van Ryan (Denise Richards) and Suzie Toller (Neve Campbell). The focus of the plot is, as in the giallo, on greed, money, murder and sex. As stated by John Thorburn, “McNaughton’s movie contains a deliberate and unquestionable representation of not only a modern-day Medea (‘Suzie Toller’, played by Neve Campbell) but also a Phaedra-figure (‘Kelly Van Ryan’, played by Denise Richards) and a Jason/Hippolytus-figure (‘Sam Lombardo’, played by Matt Dillon)” (Thorburn 2010, 113). The story could have been penned by Ernesto Gastaldi and directed by either Romolo Guerrieri or Umberto Lenzi, as these two di- rectors concentrated primarily on thriller-gialli with machinations and conspiracies, sim- ilar to WILD THINGS. Besides devious intrigue and red herrings, WILD THINGS presents a lot of sex, such as lesbian sex and an explicit threesome between the above-men- tioned characters.
Suzie and Kelly making out in the swimming pool The threesome
One of the most disputed erotic thrillers, BASIC INSTINCT, also uses several giallo ele- ments. Paul Verhoeven’s erotic thriller tells the story of Catherine Tramell, a novelist, and the main suspect in the killing of a rock star who was stabbed with an ice pick while having sex. The victim was slaughtered in an identical fashion to a scene in one of
Catherine’s novels. Here we can find some correlation with TENEBRAE, as the fictitious murders in Peter Neil’s crime novels are imitated by a copycat killer. It is revealed at the end that Peter himself is the perpetrator, as is Catherine in BASIC INSTINCT. After the infamous ‘beaver shot’ during the investigation scene in BASIC INSTINCT, where Catherine uncrosses and crosses her legs and offers thereby a glimpse between her thighs, Detective Nick Cannon starts an obsessive sexual relationship with Catherine and begins believing in her innocence. Dean Hesom claims that,
Watching the film makes you feel like you are reading a cheap paperback novel with a lurid cover, in Italy the cover might be yellow. This is very fitting as that is exactly the type of novel Catherine Tramell writes and as she states several times, all her actions in the film are purely research for her new novel about a detective that falls for the wrong woman. The story flies along at breakneck pace like any good page turner. (Hesom 2014)
Verhoeven claimed that evil and not sex (as embodied by Sharon Stone/Catherine) was the focal point of the film. Verhoeven notes that “I always thought that with an economy falling down, with the dangers of life all around you – the danger of AIDS, the danger of crime – people are more aware of the fact that evil is an existing, everyday factor in your life” (Weinraub 1992). According to Verhoeven, his intention was to cre- ate a classic suspense film, in the Hitchcock manner, but he never mentions the em- blematic giallo influence. Verhoeven compared BASIC INSTINCT to
traditional films [where] the killer lurks in a house and the victim walks into the kitchen, turns on the radio, makes coffee, opens a book, gets comfortable – and then the killer strikes. In [BASIC INSTINCT], the killer hides – but on the bed. The situation is the same, but the two people are facing each other in bed, not the kitchen. (Weinraub 1992)
182 Verhoeven not only depicts Sharon Stone as a femme fatale, the film is also full of red herrings, a homosexual relationship between Catherine and her girlfriend, explicit graphic sex scenes, erotic murders, and an icepick as a murder weapon; characteris- tics common with the giallo. Maybe Paul Verhoeven, who according to Hesom “com- bined several elements from some classic genres and created something new and intoxicating for the nineties audience” (Hesom 2014), was inspired by Fulci’s UNA
SULL'ALTRA, one of the first erotic gialli that combined murder with overt sexuality, as not only the location, San Francisco, are identical, but also all aforementioned ele- ments.
183 4. CONCLUSION
The release of yellow wrapped Giallo Mondadori paperbacks in the late 1930s intro- duced a new style of literary entertainment in Italy, and these page-turning novels were quickly appreciated by Italian crime fans. The success of the Giallo Mondadori inspired famous film director Mario Bava to shoot the first two Italian cinematic gialli, but he might not have expected that these films would be the catalyst for an entire filone, which had its heyday from the 1960s to the mid-1970s, and revolutionized Italian pop- ular cinema. Although SEI DONNE PER L'ASSASSINO was clearly influenced by Gothic hor- ror films and the German krimi, it presented other, hitherto unknown tropes, which be- came emblematic of the giallo, such as a disguised killer, household weapons, a peep- ing Tom, tortuous murders and beautiful female models. Popularity in the giallo grew immensely after Dario Argento’s L’UCCELLO DALLE PIUME DI CRISTALLO in 1970 as it in- vented further giallo elements, like the amateur sleuth character, voyeurism, an urban setting, and the traumatized female assassin. Besides the typical giallo-esque traits, this filone became synonymous for its lavishly portrayed sexual promiscuity and female actresses who signified the sexually motivated giallo, which I identify and categorize as the giallo erotico. In the mid-1970s the number of gialli dropped significantly in Italian terza visione cinemas with production grinding to a virtual standstill. The dissertation clearly illustrates that the Italian giallo has influenced American filmmaking. On the one hand, American productions have implemented a great variety of typical giallo elements into their movies, such as disguised maniacs, knives as weap- ons, voyeurism, overt sexuality, a thrilling plot and horrific murder scenes. On the other hand, US productions have also been inspired by film techniques, like an overuse of point-of-view shots, flashbacks, vivid colors and music. This dissertation provides also an insight in the various American film genres which were affected by the giallo, such as the slasher, which emerged in America in the late 1970s. It bore the hallmarks of the giallo-slasher, exemplified by Bava’s REAZIONE A CATENA and Martino’s I CORPI
PRESENTANO TRACCE DI VIOLENZA CARNALE. After BLACK CHRISTMAS and HALLOWEEN, two slashers which incorporated several giallo tropes, imitations and blatant rip-offs of the
Italian original were released, such as FRIDAY THE 13TH – PART 2. Director Steve Miner copied shot by shot from REAZIONE A CATENA, but vehemently denied any Italian influ- ence. In contrast, John Carpenter, one of Hollywood’s most prolific horror directors,
184 openly admitted his admiration for Dario Argento’s œuvre, which inspired him to in- clude oblique references in HALLOWEEN. The giallo can be considered as the template for a plethora of classic American slashers from the 1970s and 1980s, but also for the meta-slashers of the 1990s. Moreover, even the final girl can be first identified and located in the giallo, although the inventor of this term, Carol J. Clover, does not men- tion this in her seminal work Men, Women and Chain Saws: Gender in the Modern Horror Film (1992). Besides the slasher, the giallo has had a tremendous effect on the American thriller genre, and its shadow can be detected in the thriller subcategories classical thriller, cop thriller, erotic thriller, and American giallo thriller. The thriller has, as with the slasher, embraced giallo-esque elements and included them into the genre. While the slasher’s central setting is rural, thrillers usually play out in an urban environment, analogous to the majority of gialli. Furthermore, the amateur sleuth, who is often also the testimone oculare in the giallo, is the witness to crimes in American thrillers as well. While the slasher applied the supernatural killer, the thriller stuck to the traditional hu- man serial killer who conceals his identity behind masks, cloaks and black gloves, loyal to the emblematic giallo perpetrator. The giallo-erotico, a term that I have coined in a forthcoming essay (2020), is characterized by the exhibition of overt nakedness, sexuality, seduction, sexual domi- nance, submission and explicit sex scenes, and has had an indelible impact on the American erotic thriller. This American genre employs all the above-mentioned fea- tures and BASIC INSTINCT can be named as the archetypal American giallo-erotico, as it exhibits all the aforementioned tropes par excellence. However, also in other Ameri- can erotic thrillers the giallo effect can be spotted. Apart from genres, this dissertation raised the question whether the giallo can be regarded as a cinematic stimulus for American directors. Unfortunately, the majority of American filmmakers do not readily allude to the genesis of their inspirations or even denied being influenced by giallo cinema, though the giallo imprint can be detected in a multitude of films. Brian De Palma has always refuted the allegation of being a giallo impostor, although DRESSED TO KILL exhibits numerous giallo tropes. Besides the fact that the killer dons the typical giallo costume, the film includes dream sequences, overt sexuality, flashbacks, red herrings, point of view shots, an urban setting, voyeurism, a female heroine and a female victim, a testimone oculare turning into an amateur sleuth, and Pino Donaggio’s memorable soundtrack. Some filmmakers, however, have paid
185 tribute to the Italian giallo filone, such as Quentin Tarantino in DEATH PROOF and KILL
BILL VOL. 1, Adam Brooks, Jeremy Gillespie and Matt Kennedy in THE EDITOR, or John
Carpenter in HALLOWEEN. Tarantino has had a deep affection for the giallo, which he proved not only in his movies, but also in the giallo’s re-birth in the New Beverly cinema in 2017. Although the Italian giallo is a relatively unknown genre in global popular cin- ema, it attracted Americans to drive-ins and grindhouse pits and has had, thus, a mas- sive influence on American film productions and culture. This is exceptional proof that the ‘cult for exploitation cinema’ has placed Umberto Lenzi, Antonio Margheriti, Lucio Fulci, Sergio Martino, and in particular Mario Bava and Dario Argento on the pantheon of exceptional Italian giallo directors, but who have received too little appreciation and credit from Hollywood. The Italian giallo has been researched by only a few scholars in academia, but the examination of the ‘American giallo’ has been scarce so far. Hence, the giallo is not only quite undiscovered in cinematography, but also in academic film studies. Therefore, this dissertation can be regarded as a first step towards a rather unexplored subject. Based on the conclusions of this dissertation, further research could focus on a better source situation. Due to the lack of academic study in the area of American gialli, it might have limited the dissertation’s outcome. The corpus of over 500 gialli attracted millions of Italians and Americans to movie theaters and its imprint can be detected in American film productions. Therefore, to better understand the implica- tions, future studies should focus on American gialli, because film in general has long been an integral part of the world’s mass media and human culture, and likewise gialli have been watched and appreciated by millions of people, filmmakers and directors were inspired by them, and gialli contributed to movie- and contemporary culture.
186 5. FILMOGRAPHY
5.1. AMERICAN/CANADIAN PRODUCTIONS
10 TO MIDNIGHT. USA 1983, dir.: J. Lee Thompson.
52 PICK-UP. USA 1986, dir.: John Frankenheimer.
A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET. USA 1984, dir.: Wes Craven.
ABANDON. USA 2002, dir.: Stephan Gaghan.
ALEXANDER. USA/GB 2004, dir.: Oliver Stone.
ALICE SWEET ALICE. USA 1976, dir.: Alfred Sole.
ALL GOOD THINGS. USA 2010, dir.: Andrew Jarecki.
BASIC INSTINCT. France/USA 1992, dir.: Paul Verhoeven.
BASIC INSTINCT. USA/UK/France 1992, dir.: Paul Verhoeven.
BEN-HUR. USA 1925, dir.: Fred Niblo.
BLACK CHRISTMAS. Canada 1974, dir.: Bob Clark.
BLACK CHRISTMAS. USA/Canada 2006, dir.: Glen Morgan.
BLIND DATE. USA 1984, dir.: Nico Mastorakis.
BLOODLINE. Germany/USA 1979, dir.: Terence Young.
BLOW OUT. USA 1981, dir.: Brian De Palma.
BODY DOUBLE. USA 1984, dir.: Brian De Palma.
BODY DOUBLE. USA 1984, dir.: Brian De Palma.
BODY HEAT. USA 1981, dir.: Lawrence Kasdan.
BODY OF EVIDENCE. Germany/USA 1993. dir.: Uli Edel.
BOUND. USA 1996, dir.: Lilly and Lana Wachowski.
BRIDE OF CHUCKY. USA 1998, dir.: Ronny Yu.
CARRIE. USA 1976, dir.: Brian De Palma.
CHILD’S PLAY. USA 1988, dir.: Tom Holland.
CITIZEN KANE. USA 1941, dir.: Orson Welles.
CLOVERFIELD. USA 2008, dir.: Matt Reeves.
COLOR OF NIGHT. USA 1994, dir.: Richard Rush.
CRUISING. West Germany/USA 1980, dir.: William Friedkin.
CURTAINS. Canada 1983, dir.: Richard Ciupka. D.O.A.. USA 1988, dir.: Annabel Jankel.
DARK SHADOWS. USA/Australia 2012, dir.: Tim Burton.
DAWN OF THE DEAD. USA/Italy 1978, dir.: George A. Romero.
DEAD CONNECTION. USA 1994, dir.: Nigel Dick.
DEATH PROOF. USA 2007, dir.: Quentin Tarantino.
DEATH RACE 2000. USA 1975, dir.: Paul Bartel.
DIABOLIQUE. USA 1996, dir.: Jeremiah S. Chechik.
DIAL M FOR MURDER. USA 1954, dir.: Alfred Hitchcock.
187 DIRTY HARRY. USA 1971, dir.: Don Siegel.
DON’T ANSWER THE PHONE. USA 1980, dir.: Robert Hammer.
DON’T GO IN THE WOODS. USA 1981, dir.: James Byron.
DOUBLE EXPOSURE. USA 1982, dir.: William Byron Hillman.
DRACULA. USA1931, dir.: Tod Browning.
DRESSED TO KILL. USA 1980, dir.: Brian De Palma.
DRESSED TO KILL. USA 1980, dir.: Brian De Palma.
DRILLER KILLER. USA 1979, dir.: Abel Ferrara.
D-TOX. USA 2002, dir.: Jim Gillespie.
ESCAPE FROM L.A. USA 1996, dir.: John Carpenter.
ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK. USA 1981, dir.: John Carpenter.
EYES OF A STRANGER. USA 1981, dir.: Ken Wiederhorn.
EYES OF LAURA MARS. USA 1978, dir.: Irvin Kershner.
EYEWITNESS. USA 1981, dir.: Peter Yates.
FACES IN THE CROWD. Canada/France/USA 2011, dir.: Julien Magnat.
FASTER PUSSYCAT! KILL! KILL!. USA 1965, dir.: Russ Meyer.
FATAL ATTRACTION. USA 1987, dir.: Adrian Lyne.
FEMME FATALE. France/USA 2002, dir.: Brian De Palma.
FIRESIDE REMINISCENCES. USA 1908, dir.: J. Searle Dawley, Edwin S. Porter.
FRANKENSTEIN. USA 1931, dir.: James Whale.
FRIDAY THE 13TH – PART 2. USA 1981, dir.: Steve Miner.
FRIDAY THE 13TH. USA 1980, dir.: Sean Cunningham.
FRIDAY THE 13TH. USA 2009, dir.: Marcus Nispel.
GAME OF THRONES. USA 2011-2019, dir.: various.
GANGS OF NEW YORK. USA/Italy/Germany 2002, dir.: Martin Scorsese.
GLADIATOR. USA 2000, dir.: Ridley Scott.
GOOD NEIGHBOURS. Canada 2010, dir.: Jacob Tierney.
HALLOWEEN H20: 20 YEARS LATER. USA 1998, dir.: Steve Miner.
HALLOWEEN II. USA 2009, dir.: Rob Zombie.
HALLOWEEN. USA 1978, dir.: John Carpenter.
HALLOWEEN. USA 2007, dir.: Rob Zombie.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME. Canada 1981, dir.: J. Lee Thompson.
HENRY: PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER. USA 1986, dir.: John McNaughton.
HOW GREEN WAS MY VALLEY. USA 1941, dir.: John Ford.
HUSH. USA 1998, dir.: Jonathan Darby.
I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER. USA 1997, dir.: Jim Gillespie.
I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE. USA 1978, dir.: Meir Zarchi.
I WAS A TEENAGE FRANKENSTEIN. USA 1957, dir.: Herbert L. Strock.
I WAS A TEENAGE WEREWOLF. USA 1957, dir.: Gene Fowler Jr..
IRON CLAW. USA 1941, dir.: James W. Horne.
JACK’S BACK. USA 1988, dir.: Rowdy Herrington.
188 JADE. USA 1995, dir.: William Friedkin.
JADE. USA 1995, dir.: William Friedkin.
JENNIFER EIGHT. USA 1992, dir.: Bruce Robinson.
JUNIOR BONNER. USA 1972, dir.: Sam Peckinpah.
JUST BEFORE DAWN. USA 1981, dir.: Jeff Lieberman.
KILL BILL VOL. 1. USA 2003, dir.: Quentin Tarantino.
KILL BILL VOL. 2. USA 2004, dir.: Quentin Tarantino.
KILLER PARTY. USA 1986, dir.: William Fruet.
KINGDOM OF HEAVEN. USA/GB/Germany/Marocco 2005, dir.: Ridley Scott.
KISS ME DEADLY. USA 1955, dir.: Robert Aldrich.
KLUTE. USA 1971, dir.: Alan J. Pakula.
KNIGHT MOVES. Canada/Germany/USA 1992, dir.: Carl Schenkel.
LADY IN A CAGE. USA 1964, dir.: Walter Grauman.
LADY IN THE LAKE. USA 1946, dir.: Robert Montgomery.
LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT. USA 1972, dir.: Wes Craven.
LOOKER. USA 1981, dir.: Michael Crichton.
LOST RIVER. USA 2014, dir.: Ryan Gosling.
LUST FOR VENGEANCE. USA 2008, dir.: Sean Weathers.
MADMAN. USA 1981, dir.: Joe Giannone.
MANIAC COP. USA 1988, dir.: William Lustig.
MANIAC. USA 1980, dir.: William Lustig.
MANIAC. USA/France 2012, dir.: Franck Khalfoun.
MASQUERADE. USA 1988, dir.: Bob Swaim.
MEATBALLS. Canada 1978, dir.: Ivan Reitman.
MS. 45. USA 1981, dir.: Abel Ferrara.
MY BLOODY VALENTINE. Canada 1981, dir.: George Mihalka.
MY BLOODY VALENTINE. USA 2009, dir.: Patrick Lussier.
NEVER TALK TO STRANGERS. Canada/Germany/USA 1995, dir.: Peter Hall.
NIGHT SCHOOL. USA 1981, dir.: Ken Hughes.
OBSESSION. USA 1976, dir.: Brian De Palma.
OLD CALIFORNIA. USA 1911, dir.: D.W. Griffith.
PERFECT STRANGER. USA 2007, dir.: James Foley.
PLANET TERROR. USA 2007, dir.: Robert Rodridguez.
PRINCE OF DARKNESS. USA 1987, dir.: John Carpenter.
PROM NIGHT. Canada 1980s, dir.: Paul Lynch.
PROM NIGHT. USA/Canada 2008, dir.: Nelson McCormick.
PSYCHO. USA 1960, dir.: Alfred Hitchcock.
REAR WINDOW. USA 1954, dir.: Alfred Hitchcock.
REBECCA. USA 1940, dir.: Alfred Hitchcock.
RED SPARROW. USA 2018, dir.: Francis Lawrence.
ROMAN HOLIDAY. USA 1953, dir.: William Wyler.
189 ROMOLA. USA 1924, dir.: Henry King.
ROPE. USA 1948, dir.: Alfred Hitchcock.
SAFETY LAST. USA 1923, dir.: Fred C. Newmeyer, Sam Taylor.
SCREAM. USA 1996, dir.: Wes Craven.
SE7EN. USA 1995, dir.: David Fincher.
SEA OF LOVE. USA 1989, dir.: Harold Becker.
SECRET BEYOND THE DOOR. USA 1947, dir.: Fritz Lang.
SHADOW OF A DOUBT. USA 1943, dir.: Alfred Hitchcock.
SHATTERED. USA 1991, dir.: Wolfgang Petersen.
SHIVERS. Canada 1975, dir.: David Cronenberg.
SILENT NIGHT DEADLY NIGHT. USA 1984, dir.: Charles E. Sellier Jr..
SINGLE WHITE FEMALE. USA 1992, dir.: Barbet Schroeder.
SISTERS. USA 1973, dir.: Brian De Palma.
SLEEPAWAY CAMP. USA 1983, dir.: Robert Hiltzik.
SLEEPY HOLLOW. USA/GERMANY 1999, dir.: Tim Burton.
SLIVER. USA 1993, dir.: Philip Noyce.
SLIVER. USA 1993, dir.: Philip Noyce.
SOMEONE TO WATCH OVER ME. USA 1987, dir.: Ridley Scott.
SOMEONE’S WATCHING ME!. USA 1978, dir.: John Carpenter.
SORORITY HOUSE MASSACRE. USA 1986, dir.: Carol Frank.
SORORITY ROW. USA 2009, dir.: Steward Hendler.
SPELLBOUND. USA 1945, dir.: Alfred Hitchcock.
STAGE FRIGHT. USA 2014, dir.: Jerome Sable.
STEPFATHER. USA 2009, dir.: Nelson McCormick.
STILETTO. USA 1969, dir.: Bernard L. Kowalski.
STILL OF THE NIGHT. USA 1982, dir.: Robert Benton.
STRANGE DAYS. USA 1995, dir.: Kathryn Bigelow.
STUDENT BODIES. USA 1981, dir.: Mickey Rose.
SUSPENSE. USA 1913, dir.: Lois Weber.
SUSPIRIA. USA/Italy 2018, dir.: Luca Guadagnino.
SWEET SIXTEEN. USA 1983, dir.: Jim Sotos.
TAXI DRIVER. USA 1976, dir.: Martin Scorsese.
TELEFON. USA 1977, dir.: Don Siegel.
TERROR TRAIN. USA/Canada 1980, dir.: Roger Spottiswoode.
TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE. USA 1974, dir.: Tobe Hooper.
TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE: THE NEXT GENERATION. USA 1995, dir.: Kim Henkel.
THE BURNING. USA/Canada 1981, dir.: Tony Maylam.
THE EDITOR. Canada 2014, dir.: Adam Brooks, Matthew Kennedy.
THE ETERNAL CITY. USA 1923, dir.: George Fritzmaurice.
THE EXORCIST. USA 1973, dir.: William Friedkin.
THE FIRST POWER. USA 1990, dir.: Robert Resnikoff.
190 THE GODFATHER III. USA 1990, dir.: Francis Ford Coppola.
THE HOUSE ON SORORITY ROW. USA 1983, dir.: Mark Rosman.
THE INITIATION. USA 1984, dir.: Larry Stewart.
THE INVISIBLE MAN. USA 1933, dir.: James Whale.
THE LIFE AQUATIC WITH STEVE ZISSOU. USA 2002, dir.: Wes Anderson.
THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH. USA 1956, dir.: Alfred Hitchcock.
THE NAKED FACE. USA 1984, dir.: Bryan Forbes.
THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS. USA 1991, dir.: Jonathan Demme.
THE STRANGERS. USA 2008, dir.: Bryan Bertino.
THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY. USA 1999, dir.: Anthony Minghella
THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE. USA 2003, dir.: Marcus Nispel.
THE TOWN THAT DREADED SUNDOWN. USA 1976, dir.: Charles B. Pierce.
THE WARRIORS. USA 1979, dir.: Walter Hill.
THE WHITE SISTER. USA1923, dir.: Henry King.
THEM!. USA 1954, dir.: Gordon Douglas.
THREE COINS IN THE FOUNTAIN. USA 1954, dir.: Jean Negulesco.
TIGHTROPE. USA 1984, dir.: Richard Tuggle.
TOUCH OF EVIL. USA 1958, dir.: Orson Welles. U-571. USA/France 2000, dir.: Jonathan Mostow.
UNLAWFUL ENTRY. USA 1992, dir.: Jonathan Kaplan.
UP AT THE VILLA. USA/GB 2000, dir.: Philip Haas.
URBAN LEGEND. USA/France 1998, dir.: Jamie Blanks.
URBAN LEGENDS: FINAL CUT. Canada 2000, dir.: John Ottman.
VALENTINE. USA/AUS 2001, dir.: Jamie Blanks.
VERTIGO. USA 1958, dir.: Alfred Hitchcock.
VICTOR FRANKENSTEIN. USA/UK/CANADA 2015, dir.: Paul McGuigan.
WHEN A STRANGER CALLS. USA 1979, dir.: Fred Walton.
WHEN A STRANGER CALLS. USA 2006, dir.: Simon West.
WHITE OF THE EYE. UK/USA 1987, dir.: Donald Cammell.
WILD THINGS. USA 1998, dir.: John McNaughton.
WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE’S A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM. USA 1999, dir.: Michael Hoffman.
WOODSTOCK. USA 1970, dir.: Michael Wadleigh.
WORLD WAR Z. USA 2013, dir.: Marc Forster.
191 5.2. ITALIAN GIALLI
A DOPPIA FACIA (DOUBLE FACE). Italy/West Germany 1969, dir.: Riccardo Freda.
AL TROPICO DEL CANCRO (DEATH IN HAITI). Italy 1972, dir.: Giampaolo Lomi, Edoardo Mulargia.
ALLA RICERCA DEL PIACERE (AMUCK). Italy 1972, dir: Silvio Amadio.
AMER (AMER). France/Belgium 2009, dir.: Bruno Forzani, Hélène Cattet.
BODY PUZZLE (BODY PUZZLE). Italy 1992, dir.: Lamberto Bava.
CASA D'APPUNTAMENTO (FRENCH SEX MURDERS). Italy/Germany 1972, dir.: Ferdinando Merighi.
CHI L'HA VISTA MORIRE (WHO SAW HER DIE?). Italy/Germany 1972, dir.: Aldo Lado.
CINQUE BAMBOLE PER LA LUNA D'AGOSTO (FIVE DOLLS FOR AN AUGUST MOON). Italy 1970, dir.: Mario Bava.
COL CUORE IN GOLA (DEADLY SWEET). Italy/France 1967, dir.: Tinto Brass.
COSA AVETE FATTO A SOLANGE? (WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO SOLANGE?). Italy/Germany 1972, dir.: Mas- simo Dallamano.
COSÌ DOLCE, COSÌ PERVERSA (SO SWEET SO PERVERSE). Italy/France/Germany 1969, dir.: Umberto Lenzi.
DELIRIA (STAGEFRIGHT: THE THEATRE OF DEATH). Italy 1987, dir.: Michele Soavi.
ENIGMA ROSSO (RED RINGS OF FEAR). Italy/Germany 1978, dir.: Alberto Negrin.
FANTASMA DELL'OPERA (THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA). Italy/Hungary 1998, dir.: Dario Argento
FEMINA RIDENS (THE FRIGHTENED WOMAN). Italy 1969, dir.: Piero Schivazappa.
FEMMINE INSAZIABILI (THE LOS ANGELES CONNECTION). Italy 1969, dir.: Alberto De Martino. Freda.
GATTI ROSSI IN UN LABIRINTO DI VETRO (EYEBALL). Italy/Spain 1975, dir.: Umberto Lenzi.
GIALLO A VENEZIA (GIALLO A VENEZIA). Italy 1979, dir.: Mario Landi.
GIORNATA NERA PER L'ARIETE (THE FIFTH CORD). Italy 1971, dir.: Luigi Bazzoni.
GLI OCCHI FREDDI DELLA PAURA (COLD EYES OF FEAR). Italy/Spain 1971, dir.: Enzo G. Castellari.
I CORPI PRESENTANO TRACCE DI VIOLENZA CARNALE (TORSO). Italy 1973, dir.: Sergio Martino.
IL DIAVOLO NEL CERVELLO (THE DEVIL IN THE BRAIN). Italy/France 1972, dir.: Sergio Sollima.
IL DOLCE CORPO DI DEBORAH (THE SWEET BODY OF DEBORAH). Italy/France 1968, dir.: Romolo Guerrieri.
IL GATTO A NOVE CODE (CAT O’NINE TAILS). Italy/France 1971, dir.: Dario Argento.
IL GATTO DAGLI OCCHI DI GIADA (WATCH ME WHEN I KILL). Italy 1977, dir.: Antonio Bido.
IL GATTO NERO (THE BLACK CAT). Italy 1981, dir.: Lucio Fulci.
IL PROFUMO DELLA SIGNORA IN NERO (THE PERFUME OF THE LADY IN BLACK). Italy 1974, dir.: Francesco Barilli.
IL ROSSO SEGNO DELLA FOLLIA (A HATCHET FOR THE HONEYMOON). Italy/Spain 1970, dir.: Mario Bava.
IL TUO VIZIO È UNA STANZA CHIUSA E SOLO IO NE HO LA CHIAVE (YOUR VICE IS A LOCKED ROOM AND ONLY I HAVE THE KEY). Italy 1972, dir.: Sergio Martino.
INFERNO (INFERNO). Italy 1980, dir.: Dario Argento.
L’ASSASSINO HA RISERVATO NOVE POLTRONE (THE KILLER RESERVED NINE SEATS). Italy 1974, dir.: Giuseppe Bennati.
L’CCHIO DEL RAGNO (EYE OF THE SPIDER). Italy/Austria 1971, dir.: Roberto Bianchi Montero.
L’IGUANA DALLA LINGUA DI FUOCO (THE IGUANA WITH THE TONGUE OF FIRE). Italy/France/Germany 1971, dir.: Riccardo Freda.
L’OSSESSIONE CHE UCCIDE (MURDER OBSESSION). Italy/France 1981, dir.: Riccardo Freda.
192 L’UCCELLO DALLE PIUME DI CRISTALLO (THE BIRD WITH THE CRYSTAL PLUMAGE). Italy/Germany 1970, dir.: Dario Argento.
L’UOMO PIÙ VELENOSO DEL COBRA (HUMAN COBRAS). Italy/Spain 1971, dir.: Bitto Albertini.
LA BAMBOLA DI SATANA (THE DOLL OF SATAN). Italy 1969, dir.: Ferruccio Casapinta.
LA BESTIA UCCIDE A SANGUE FREDDO (SLAUGHTER HOTEL). Italy 1971, dir.: Fernando Di Leo.
LA CASA CON LA SCALA NEL BUIO (A BLADE IN THE DARK). Italy 1983, dir.: Lamberto Bava.
LA CORTA NOTTE DELLE BAMBOLE DI VETRO (SHORT NIGHT OF GLASS DOLLS). Italy/Yugoslavia/Germany 1971, dir.: Aldo Lado.
LA DAMA ROSSA UCCIDE SETTE VOLTE (THE RED QUEEN KILLS SEVEN TIMES). Italy/Wester Germany/Monaco 1972, dir.: Emilio P. Miraglia.
LA LAMA NEL CORPO (THE MURDER CLINIC). Italy/France 1966, dir.: Emilio Scardimaglia.
LA MORTE ACCAREZZA A MEZZANOTTE (DEATH WALKS AT MIDNIGHT). Italy/Spain 1972, dir: Luciano Ercoli.
LA MORTE CAMMINA CON I TACCHI ALTI (DEATH WALKS ON HIGH HEELS). Italy/Spain 1971, dir: Luciano Ercoli.
LA MORTE HA FATTO L'UOVO (DEATH LAID AN EGG). Italy/France 1968, dir.: Giulio Questi.
LA NOTTE CHE EVELYN USCÌ DALLA TOMBA (THE NIGHT EVELYN CAME OUT OF THE GRAVE) .Italy 1971, dir.: Emilio P. Miraglia.
LA POLIZIA CHIEDE AIUTO (WHAT HAVE THEY DONE TO OUR DAUGHTERS?. Italy 1974, dir.: Massimo Dal- lamano.
LA RAGAZZA CHE SAPEVA TROPPO (THE GIRL WHO KNEW TOO MUCH). Italy 1963, dir.: Mario Bava.
LA RAGAZZA DAL PIGIAMA GIALLO (THE PYJAMA GIRL CASE). Italy/Spain 1977, dir.: Flavio Mogherini.
LA SINDROME DI STENDHAL (THE STENDHAL SYNDROME). Italy 1995, dir.: Dario Argento.
LA SORELLA DI URSULA (THE SISTER OF URSULA). Italy 1978, dir.: Enzo Miloni.
LA SPIAGGIA DEL TERRORE (NIGHTMARE BEACH). Italy/USA 1988, dir.: Umberto Lenzi.
LA TARANTULA DAL VENTRE NERO (THE BLACK BELLY OF THE TARANTULA). Italy/France 1972, dir.: Paolo Cavara.
LA TERZA MADRE (MOTHER OF TEARS). Italy/USA 2007, dir.: Dario Argento.
LA TERZA MADRE (MOTHER OF TEARS). Italy/USA 2007, dir.: Dario Argento.
LA VOLPE DALLA CODA DI VELLUTO (IN THE EYE OF THE HURRICANE). Italy/Spain 1971, dir.: José Maria For- qué.
LE FOTO DI GIOIA (DELIRIUM). Italy 1987, dir.: Lamberto Bava.
LE FOTO PROIBITE DI UNA SIGNORA PER BENE (THE FORBIDDEN PHOTOS OF A LADY ABOVE SUSPICION). It- aly/Spain 1970, dir.: Luciano Ercoli
LE ORME (FOOTPRINTS ON THE MOON). Italy 1975, dir.: Luigi Bazzoni/Mario Fanelli.
LIBIDO (LIBIDO). Italy 1965, dir.: Ernesto Gastaldi.
LO SQUARTATORE DI NEW YORK (THE NEW YORK RIPPER). Italy 1982, dir.: Lucio Fulci.
LO STRANO VIZIO DELLA SIGNORA WARDH (THE STRANGE VICE OF MRS. WARDH). Italy/Spain 1971, dir.: Ser- gio Martino.
L'ULTIMO TRENO DELLA NOTTE (NIGHT TRAIN MURDERS). Italy 1975, dir.: Aldo Lado.
L'UOMO SENZA MEMORIA (MAN WITHOUT A MEMORY). Italy 1974, dir.: Duccio Tessari.
MACABRO (MACABRE). Italy 1980, dir.: Lamberto Bava.
MACCHIE SOLARI (AUTOPSY). Italy 1975, dir.: Armando Crispino.
MILANO, MORTE SOSPETTA DI UNA MINORENNE (THE SUSPICIOUS DEATH OF A MINOR). Italy 1975, dir.: Sergio Martino.
MIO CARO ASSASSINO (MY DEAR KILLER). Italy/Spain 1972, dir.: Tonino Valerii.
193 MORIRAI A MEZZANOTTE (MIDNIGHT KILLER). Italy 1986, dir.: Lamberto Bava.
MOSTRO DI FIRENZE (THE MONSTER OF FLORENCE). Italy 1986, dir.: Cesare Ferrario.
NELLE PIEGHE DELLA CARNE (IN THE FOLDS OF THE FLESH). Italy/Spain 1970, dir.: Sergio Bergonzelli.
NON HO SONNO (SLEEPLESS). Italy 2001, dir.: Dario Argento.
NON SI SEVIZIA UN PAPERINO (DON’T TORTURE A DUCKLING). Italy 1972, dir.: Lucio Fulci.
NUDE PER L'ASSASSINO (STRIP NUDE FOR YOUR KILLER). Italy 1975, dir.: Andrea Bianchi.
NUDE SI MUORE (NAKED YOU DIE). Italy 1968, dir.: Antonio Margheriti.
OCCHI DI CRISTALLO (EYES OF CRYSTAL). Italy/Spain/UK 2004, dir.: Eros Puglielli.
OMICIDIO PER VOCAZIONE (DEADLY INHERITANCE). Italy 1968, dir.: Vittorio Sindoni.
OPERA (TERROR AT THE OPERA). Italy 1987, dir.: Dario Argento.
ORGASMO (ORGASMO). Italy/France 1969, dir.: Umberto Lenzi.
PARANOIA (A QUIET PLACE TO KILL). Italy/France 1970, dir.: Umberto Lenzi.
PASSI DI DANZA SU UNA LAMA DI RASOIO (DEATH CARRIES A CANE). Italy/Spain 1972, dir.: Maurizio Pra- deaux.
PERCHÉ QUELLE STRANE GOCCE DI SANGUE SUL CORPO DI JENNIFER? (THE CASE OF THE BLOODY IRIS). Italy 1971, dir.: Giuliano Carnimeo.
PHENOMENA (PHENOMENA). Italy 1985, dir.: Dario Argento.
PROFONDO ROSSO (DEEP RED). Italy 1975, dir.: Dario Argento.
QUATTRO MOSCHE DI VELLUTO GRIGIO (FOUR FLIES ON GREY VELVET). Italy/France 1971, dir.: Dario Ar- gento.
REAZIONE A CATENA (BAY OF BLOOD). Italy 1971, dir.: Mario Bava.
RIVELAZIONI DI UN MANIACO SESSUALE AL CAPO DELLA SQUADRA MOBILEM (THE SLASHER). Italy 1972, dir.: Roberto Bianchi Montero.
SEI DONNE PER L’ASSASSINO (BLOOD AND BLACK LACE). Italy 1964, dir.: Mario Bava.
SENZA MOVENTE (WITHOUT APPARENT MOTIVE). Italy/France 1971, dir.: Philippe Labro.
SETTE NOTE IN NERO (SEVEN NOTES IN BLACK). Italy 1977, dir.: Lucio Fulci.
SETTE ORCHIDEE MACCHIATE DI ROSSO (SEVEN BLOOD STAINED ORCHIDS). Italy/Germany 1972, dir.: Um- berto Lenzi.
SOLAMENTE NERO (THE BLOODSTAINED SHADOW). Italy 1978, dir.: Antonio Bido.
SOTTO IL VESTITO NIENTE (THE LAST SHOT). Italy 1985, dir.: Carlo Vanzina.
SPASMO (SPASMO). Italy 1974, dir.: Umberto Lenzi.
SUSPIRIA (SUSPIRIA). Italy 1977, dir.: Dario Argento.
TENEBRE (TENEBRAE). Italy 1982, dir.: Dario Argento.
TERZA IPOTESI SU UN CASA DI PERFETTA STRATEGIA CRIMINALE (WHO KILLED THE PROSECUTOR AND WHY?). Italy 1972, dir.: Giuseppe Vari.
TI PIACE HITCHCOCK (DO YOU LIKE HITCHCOCK?). Italy 2005, dir.: Dario Argento.
TOP SENSATION (TOP SENSATION). Italy 1969, dir.: Ottavio Alessi.
TRAUMA (AURA). Italy/USA 1993, dir.: Dario Argento.
TUTTI I COLORI DEL BUIO (ALL THE COLORS OF THE DARK). Italy/Spain 1972, dir.: Sergio Martino.
UN BIANCO VESTITO PER MARIALÉ (A WHITE DRESS FOR MARIALE). Italy 1969, dir.: Romano Scavolini.
UN DELITTO POCO COMUNE (OFF BALANCE). Italy 1988, dir.: Ruggero Deodato.
UNA FARFALLA CON LE ALI INSANGUINATE (THE BLOODSTAINED BUTTERFLY). Italy 1971, dir.: Duccio Tessari.
194 UNA LUCERTOLA CON LA PELLE DI DONNA (A LIZARD IN A WOMAN'S SKIN). Italy/Spain/France 1971, dir.: Lucio Fulci.
UNA MAGNUM SPECIAL PER TONY SAITTA (STRANGE SHADOWS IN AN EMPTY ROOM). Canada/France/Italy 1976, dir.: Alberto De Martino.
UNA SULL'ALTRA (PERVERSION STORY). Italy/Spain/France 1969, dir.: Lucio Fulci.
5.3. ITALIAN PRODUCTIONS
C’ERA UNA VOLTA IL WEST (ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST). Italy/USA1968, dir.: Sergio Leone.
DA UOMO A UOMO (DEATH RIDES A HORSE). Italy 1967, dir.: Giulio Petroni.
GLI ORRORI DEL CASTELLO DI NOREMBURGA (BARON BLOOD). Italy/West Germany/USA 1972, dir.: Mario Bava.
I LUNGHI CAPELLI DELLA MORTE (THE LONG HAIR OF DEATH). Italy 1964, dir.: Antonio Margheriti.
I VAMPIRI (THE DEVIL’S COMMANDMENT). Italy 1956, dir.: Riccardo Freda, Mario Bava.
IL CASANOVA DI FEDERICO FELLINI (CASANOVA). Italy/USA 1976, dir.: Federico Fellini.
IL MOSTRO DI FRANKENSTEIN (THE MONSTER OF FRANKENSTEIN). Italy 1920, dir.: Eugenio Testa.
IL MULINO DELLE DONNE DI PIETRA (MILL OF THE STONE WOMEN). Italy/France 1960, dir.: Giorgio Ferroni.
L’OCCHIO DEL MALE (MANHATTAN BABY). Italy 1982, dir.: Lucio Fulci.
L’ORRIBILE SEGRETO DEL DR. HICHCOCK (THE HORRIBLE SECRET OF DR. HICHCOCK). Italy 1962, dir.: Ric- cardo Fredda.
LA CASA DELL'ESORCISMO (HOUSE OF EXORCISM). Italy/West Germany, Spain/USA 1974, dir.: Mario Bava, Alfredo Leone.
LA DANZA MACABRE (CASTLE OF BLOOD ). Italy/France 1964, dir.: Antonio Margheriti, Sergio Corbucci.
LA DOLCE VITA (LA DOLCE VITA). Italy/France 1960, dir.: Federico Fellini.
LA MASCHERA DEL DEMONIO (BLACK SUNDAY). dir.: Mario Bava, Italy 1960.
LA POLIZIA RINGRAZIA (EXECUTION SQUAD). ITALY/FRANCE 1972, dir.: Stefano Vanzina.
LA VERGINE DI NORIMBERGA (THE VIRGIN OF NUREMBERG). Italy 1963, dir.: Antonio Margheriti.
LISA E IL DIAVOLO (LISA AND THE DEVIL). Italy/West Germany/Spain/USA 1972, dir.: Mario Bava.
MALÈNA (MALÈNA). Italy/USA 2000, dir.: Giuseppe Tornantore.
MILANO CALIBRO 9 (CALIBER 9). Italy 1972, dir.: Fernando Di Leo.
PER UN PUGNO DI DOLLARI (FISTFUL OF DOLLARS). Italy/Spain/Germany 1964, dir.: Sergio Leone.
QUELLA VILLA ACCANTO AL CIMITERO (HOUSE BY THE CEMENTARY). Italy 1981, dir.: Lucio Fulci.
QUO VADIS? (QUO VADIS). Italy 1912, dir.: Enrico Guazzoni.
195 5.4. EUROPEAN PRODUCTIONS
BLACKMAIL. GB 1929, dir.: Alfred Hitchcock.
DAS CABINET DES DR. CALIGARI (THE CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI). Germany 1920, dir.: Robert Wiene.
DAS PHANTOM VON SOHO (THE PHANTOM OF SOHO). West Germany 1964, dir.: Franz Josef Gottlieb.
DE LIFT (THE LIFT). Netherlands 1983, dir.: Dick Maas.
DE VIERDE MAN (THE FOURTH MAN). Netherlands 1983, dir.: Paul Verhoeven.
DER FROSCH MIT DER MASKE (THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE FROG). West Germany/Denmark 1959, dir.: Harald Reinl.
DER GOLEM, WIE ER IN DIE WELT KAM (THE GOLEM: HOW HE CAME INTO THE WORLD). Germany 1922, dir.: Paul Wegener/Carl Boese.
DER HEXER (THE SORCEROR). Germany/Austria 1932, dir.: Carl Lamac.
DER ZINKER (THE SQUEAKER). Germany 1931, dir.: Carl Lamac, Martin Fric.
DON’T LOOK NOW. UK/Italy 1973, dir.: Nicolas Roeg.
DRACULA. UK 1958, dir.: Terence Fisher.
FRANCESCA (FRANCESCA). Argentina/Italy 2015, dir.: Luciano Onetti.
GRANDMA’S READING GLASS. GB 1900, George Albert Smith.
GRITOS EN LA NOCHE (THE AWFUL DR. ORLOF). Spain/France 1962, dir.: Jess Franco.
INDESCREET. Great Britain 1958, dir.: Stanley Donen.
JAMAICA INN. GB 1939, dir.: Alfred Hitchcock.
L’AGE D’OR (THE GOLDEN AGE). France 1930, dir.: Luis Buñuel.
L’ÉTRANGE COULEUR DES LARMES DE TON CORPS (THE STRANGE COLOR OF YOUR BODY'S TEARS). Bel- gium/France 2013, dir.: Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani.
LA RESIDENCIA. Spain 1970, dir.: Narciso Ibáñez Serrador.
LAISSEZ BRONZER LES CADAVRES (LET THE CORPSES TAN). Belgium/France 2017, dir.: Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani.
LES DIABOLIQUE (DIABOLIQUE). France 1955, dir.: Henri-Georges Clouzot.
LES NUITS ROUGES DU BOURREAU DE JADE (RED NIGHTS). France/Hongkong 2010, dir.: Julien Carbon, Laurent Courtiaud.
LES YEUX SANS VISAGE (EYES WITHOUT A FACE). France/Italy 1960, dir.: George Franju.
M – EINE STADT SUCHT EINEN MÖRDER (M). Germany 1931, dir.: Fritz Lang.
MADDALENA (MADDALENA) Italy/ Yugoslavia 1971, dir.: Jerzy Kawalerowicz.
MANNEKÄNG I RÖTT (MANNEQUIN IN RED). Sweden 1958, dir.: Arne Mattsson.
MURDER, SHE SAID. UK 1961, dir.: George Pollock.
NOSFERATU – EINE SYMPHONIE DES GRAUENS (NOSFERATU). Germany 1922, dir.: M.W. Murnau.
PEEPING TOM. UK 1960, dir.: Michael Powell.
PIKOVAYA DAMA (THE QUEEN OF SPADES). Russia 1916, dir.: Yakov Protazanov.
SABOTAGE. GB 1936, dir.: Alfred Hitchcock.
THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN. UK 1957, dir.: Terence Fisher.
THE LODGER. UK 1927, dir.: Alfred Hitchcock. TWISTED NERVE. UK 1968, dir.: Roy Boulting.
196 6. BIBLIOGRAPHY
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