Inferno (Dario Argento, 1980)
The world of giallo film is a vast one which I’ve recently found myself fascinated with. The word giallo, in Italian meaning ‘yellow,’ sort of lends itself as a descriptor of the garishness that characterizes a typical giallo film. A genre dating to the 60s and 70s in Italy but extending into the 80s and 90s and beyond Italian borders, giallo films are characterized by their spooky atmosphere, over the top melodramatic acting, intense coloring and high body counts. Think syrupy, cherry red blood and an anxious staccato soundtrack— Italian opera meets Hitchcock meets a psychedelic prism of color. It is horror that is grotesquely delightful, resplendent beauty as terror. The overly stylized visuals of giallo are what drew me into the genre. Like the film noir movies which no doubt influenced the genre of giallo, the femme fatale is ever present throughout the genre. Is it horrible to say I lose interest in movies with only male leads? Half the time, I’m just watching a movie for the clothes and the makeup, and giallo provides that in spades. So when I came across the Tumblr Giallo Looks, I was giddy. A vast resource of screenshots of the women of giallo. I’m indebted to Giallo Looks for the discovery of some of my favorite giallo visuals, of which I’ve selected a few here for their bizarre combination of beauty and exaggerated terror that simultaneously charms and repels.
Tenebre (Dario Argento, 1982)
(L) Behind Convent Walls (Walerian Borowczyk, 1978). (R) Britt Nichols in A Virgin Among the Living Dead (Jesús Franco, 1973).
Suspiria (Dario Argento, 1977).
So Sweet, So Dead (Roberto Bianchi Montero, 1971).
(L) A Lizard in a Woman's Skin (Lucio Fulci, 1971). (R) A Virgin Among the Living Dead (Jesús Franco, 1973).
Queens of Evil (Tonino Cervi, 1970).
(L) Five Dolls for an August Moon (Mario Bava, 1970). (R) Morgiana (Juraj Herz, 1972).
(L) Cassanova '70 (Mario Monicelli, 1965). (R) Hatchet for the Honeymoon (Mario Bava, 1970).
Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (Russ Meyer, 1970).
Ms. 45 (Abel Ferrara, 1981).