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Giallo Films

edited December 2010 in Movie Discussion


Giallo films, an exploitation film subgenre, are Italian horror-thriller films that became popular in the late 60s-70s. They are named after the Italian word for yellow, “Giallo”, the color of the pulp novels these movies were initially inspired by. Giallo films focus on the brutal deaths of beautiful women committed by the killers, deaths that usually involved sharp butcher knives, razor blades, ropes and various other torturous weapons. Most of these films had a detective that would attempt to investigate and solve the murders. If the killer was found, he would either commit suicide or be killed by one of his victims. Another common occurrence in Giallo films was the use of dream/nightmare sequences.

Here’s a look at some of the best known Giallo films:

La ragazza che sapeva troppo (1963): English title “The Girl Who Knew Too Much.” About Nora, a young tourist traveling through Rome, that witnesses a murder by a serial killer that the police have sought for years for the so-called Alphabet Killings. She then finds herself in way-over-her-head when the police want her cooperation to catch the killer, the killer who then targets her.

Il gatto a nove code (1971): English title “The Cat o’ Nine Tails.” About Franco Arno, a blind man that lives with his young niece and makes a living writing crossword puzzles. One night, while walking down the street, he overhears a strange conversation between two men sitting in a car parked in front of a medical institute where genetic experiments are performed. The same night someone breaks in the institute and kills a guard. Arno then decides to investigate with the help of reporter Carlo Giordani.

4 mosche di velluto grigio (1972): English title “Four Flies on Grey Velvet.” The film follows Roberto, a drummer in a rock band, who keeps receiving weird phone calls and is being followed by a mysterious man. One night he manages to catch up with his stalker and tries to get him to talk but there’s a struggle and he accidentally stabs him. He runs away, but he understands his troubles have just begun when the following day when he receives an envelope with photos of him killing the man. Someone then starts killing all his friends, trying to frame him for the murders.
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