I managed to watch six films for Giallo January this year, mostly first-time watches. The tropes of the Giallo (black-gloved killer, straight razor, whodunnit mystery, convoluted plots etc) are so well utilised that if I watch too many of them together they tend to blur into one big dream-like film, which isn’t a bad thing. 1. The Case of the Scorpion’s Tale (1971) One of director Sergio Martino’s many Giallo, Case, like his others, is fun as hell, beautifully filmed and edited, and twists and turns its way towards the final revelation and murderous climax. And the score by Bruno Nicolai is an all-timer - menacing acoustic guitar (yep), discordant tones and jazzy interludes and is highly listenable. 2. Trauma (1978) This late period Spanish Giallo lacks the mood and twisting narrative of the Italian films, but it is brimming with a potent mix of passion and melodrama. Trauma also has a Psycho-esque bent with the hotel setting and mysterious attic-bound person. 3. Short Night of Glass Dolls (1971) Aldo Lado’s film is a stand out in the genre for its wild framing device whereby the main character finds himself ‘dead’ in a morgue but still conscious and trying to solve his own murder. A fun and twisty lark. 4. Four Flies On Grey Velvet (1971) Dario Argento is a confirmed master of the Giallo and Four Flies is his third in the Animal Trilogy, after The Bird With the Crystal Plumage and Cat O Nine Tails. A ‘70s rock drummer is followed and tormented by a masked killer after he accidentally kills a man. Argento’s style is in full effect and it’s a great Giallo but the main character is an unlikeable douche. 5. Hatchet For the Honeymoon (1970) Mario Bava was another master of the macabre and this film is different in that it reveals and then follows the killer almost from he first frame. Stylish and beautifully filmed. 6. Seven Bloodstained Orchids (1972) Not the greatest Giallo but I can’t really hate any of them and Umberto Lenzi’s film is fine but not wholly memorable and it does have a pretty great Riz Ortolani score to groove to.
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