Here’s another highly regarded Dario Argento giallo film. It’s a strange one in the sense of it’s highs and lows. The highs are some very artistic sequences and murder scenes, reinforced by the very first soundtrack appearance by the mighty Goblin. The lows are that the film is extremely convoluted, and sometimes excruciatingly slow. Don’t be discouraged. It is absolutely worth the effort to get to the crazy ending.
Here we have a beautifully filmed, very sleazy, but excellent giallo. This was part one of Massimo Dallamano’s “Schoolgirls in Peril” trilogy so, yeah… not for sensitive viewers. The film features one of my favorite cult actors Fabio Testi, as well as the debut performance of Camille Keaton (pictured above), and music by Ennio Morricone. Solange is essential if you’re interested in the giallo subgenre. You might need to take a shower after watching, but it’s worth it.
FYI – My favorite Morricone music is from this era. If you’d like to hear more, check out the album Crime and Dissonance. It’s flat-out amazing.
This one barely squeaks by my usual standards for this website. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a decent giallo with a good twist at the end. However I’m recommending it ONLY for those of you that have seen all the other well-regarded giallo films. I’ve watched pretty much every decent film in the subgenre that I could get my hands on so this was a pleasant surprise. I did have some playback issues on Amazon Prime, stuttering and compression marks, but it cleared up eventually after pausing and restarting. Check out Eye in the Labyrinth if you think you’ve seen em all.
A Blu-ray was released by Code Red but it is currently out of print. They’re selling on eBay for $$$.
I could write a lot about the many pluses and minuses of Dario Argento, but I will restrain myself. I saw an interview where the director said he didn’t care for The Cat o’ Nine Tails because it was too straight-forward. I love it. This is a pretty bloodless murder mystery. It was rated PG no less, but I think they had to cut a couple of graphic death scenes to get that certification. Those scenes have been restored on both versions that are on Amazon Prime. The one with the red cover is in Italian with subtitles available. The other (cheesier) cover has the English language version that lead actor Karl Malden dubbed himself. The red cover is the latest Arrow transfer but both look great. This movie also features one of the catchiest Ennio Morricone theme songs. The Cat o’ Nine Tails is an excellent example of the giallo subgenre. Yes, it’s somewhat tame, but should not be missed.
It’s pretty amazing it took me this long to recommend a Lucio Fulci film. Sadly there aren’t many available via streaming services. This is one of my favorite movies by the man dubbed The Godfather of Gore. It’s not one of his goriest ones either. In fact, some scenes feel more like an art film.
Ok look… this movie is a fantastic horror thriller, but the end features a very clumsy FX prop death scene. You’ll know it when you see it. It looked crappy when I first saw this in the ‘90s and it looks even more ridiculous now. What’s weird is that Fulci liked it so much he used the same scene in another later film. WTF Lucio? Great film though. Truly great.
While it isn’t the first of the Giallo subgenre, Blood and Black Lace is my early favorite. This was the film that influenced all of the black glove killer films to follow. The villain’s costume alone was imitated so often it’s ridiculous. Check out Bava’s use of unnatural colored lighting. You will notice similar effects in many other filmmaker’s work still to this day. To top it off, Arrow’s restoration is flat-out stunning (the streaming version is the same re-master).