When it comes to truly loathsome characters in a giallo, few can match Giuliano Carnimeo’s The Case of the Bloody Iris, a film in which pretty much everyone is hateful, stupid, or more often, hateful and stupid.
The Bloodstained Butterfly is the odd giallo where the police seem dedicated to their job. Although it boasts the elaborate murders and cast of red herrings one expects from the genre, it also surprises by spending at least as much time on police procedure, forensic science, and courtroom maneuvering.
While it might have been cool to watch the invisible man square off against a traditional Japanese ghost or yokai, in the end it was obvious that the only fitting opponent for an invisible man is the invisible man’s natural enemy: a tiny flying hitman.
Alan is a handsome aristocrat who enjoys velvet jackets, cravats, and murdering strippers. He marries a woman in hopes she will curb his homicidal outbursts, and his creepy estate is soon haunted by the ghost of his former wife.
When news of the invisible man spreads across town, Yajima hatches a scheme to capitalize on the warning that another invisible man is out there. He dresses his gang up in the iconic Claude Raines style overcoat and face bandages and has them rob banks and race tracks while claiming to be invisible men themselves
Invisible Man Appears is, like some of the Universal sequels, more of a crime drama than it is a horror or science fiction film, though there are enough beakers and wild white Albert Einstein hair to give it a reasonable claim to scifi.
All the Colors of the Dark works within the confines of the giallo, but it takes the genre further afield than had previously been explored, resulting in a dizzying psychedelic combination of straight-forward stalker/murder mystery, hallucinogenic psycho-sexual exploration, and straight up occult/devil worship horror.
Adaptations of books have a long history of being derided by theauthor, but few have as dramatic a claim to this dubious honor as this adaptation of Boris Vian’s J’irai cracher sur vos tombes. Vian stood up minutes into the premiere screening to shout his disapproval. He then, suddenly, dropped dead.
Even though it’s poorly written, relentlessly tasteless, has very few good points other than Edwige Fenech, and is packed full of gratuitously seedy garbage, Strip Nude for Your Killer entertains on that level that might make you feel like you need a shower afterward.
The Bird with the Crystal Plumage is the one that cemented the giallo’s tropes: the elaborate title, the artist protagonist thrust into the role of amateur sleuth, a sinister killer in black gloves, bizarre supporting characters, brutal murders, hyper-stylized art design.
Deadly Sweet was inspired by Blow Up, but it lacks that film’s disillusionment. Tinto Brass thinks Swinging London is still swinging. Thus he turns in a decidedly less somber film despite a somewhat downbeat conclusion.
In a sense, Antonioni has made a movie about the movie he is making, and his final conclusion, if it is indeed a conclusion, is a bit sad. Thomas chases the meaning of the photographs he has taken, but he never gets there. In the end, everything he has done vanishes.
When it came time for Mario Bava to turn in his version of a Hitchcock movie, he picked up on that underlying current of malicious giddiness and ratcheted it up. In Blood and Black Lace, Bava is a peasant let loose to demolish a nobleman’s home.
It was common for Italian exploitation films to be graced with a soundtrack that was much better than the film surrounding it. Such is the case with Bruno Nicolai’s score for The Case of the Bloody Iris.
Nora ventures onto unfamiliar streets and is soon set upon by a purse snatcher and knocked unconscious. When she comes to, she is horrified to see a woman staggering toward her. The woman collapses, revealing a knife in her back.
Morricone’s score is like a children’s church choir gone horribly, disturbingly awry. As accompaniment to a film that stalks the foggy labyrinths of Venice, you couldn’t ask for a more perfectly haunting and off-kilter collection of songs.