Director: Federico Zampaglione
Starring: Claudia Gerini, Nuot Arquint, Michele Placido, Ennio Tozzi, Ivan Franek, Michela Cescon, Federica Vincente. Italy. 1h 24m
As dedicated nod to the 70’s Giallo movement Tulpa sees a successful business women, Lisa Boeri (Gerini) get pulled into a grotty underworld while living a vivid double life.
Opening with a gore filled sado masochistic murder. A man enters a deadly game as a dominant but soon becomes the victim of a leather gloved maniac with a wild moral compass, out of the thick bloodied and drawn out scene the story of Lisa, a ball busting, successful business woman, well respected and admired but she keeps her nocturnal activities a painstakingly repressed, after hours she’s an eager member of a esoteric underground club, named Tulpa, owned by a strange tibetain character, a true embodiment of the hierophant played by the otherworldly Nuot Arquint . Unfortunately for Lisa, her two world’s are set to collide when her sexual partners from the club are savagely slaughtered.
There’s much to be admired about the neowave of Giallo, the substance is in the thickly layered details, in some cases it’s over exaggerated which can look a bit clubsy against the poorly dubbed/synched English but this is the only really apparent in the early cut and a minor slight. It’s not like a modern parody of the Giallo scene, much like The Editor (2014) or Giallo (2009), but its not on the same shelf as the art house features such as Amer (2009), The Strange Colour of Your Body’s Tears (2013) or even Sticklands Berberian Sound Studio (2012), The elevation of scenes doesnt come from an overactive stimuli of colour, sounds and motion, instead the movie boils the blood and in the rush we get caught up in a the chase and the eroticism. It sits neatly between the tension of the original Giallo, the violent slasher weaves between the danger of the knife’s edge and slowly simmers and unfolds, while the touches of sight and sound tickle but it doesn’t reach new heights to bring anything new to the genre but can and should be enjoyed along with its counterparts.
Once the movie lays out premise and Lisa’s heighten senses are on full blast, like a sultry bunny in the headlights, her distress seems to edge the killer on. While this remains at tantalizing erotic whodunit there’s enough abstraction to conjure up ideas that an actual Tulpa might be involved, this is a creature that can be created via thought forms, if you believe in it enough then it becomes real. Psychopath or phantom the effects are quite real, the torture and gore effects are spot on and add a great deal of grot and debauchery of the Giallo of days old. I feel this is a step in the right direction for modern Giallo and even Noir, a little bit more accessible than the arty counterparts, the danger of a killer all shrouded in erotic mysteries, what could be better?
Rating 8 /10
R: The strange colour of your body’s tears (2013), Amer (2009), Xerex (2003),
A: New Giallo
L: A-Z of Giallo, A-Z of Italian Cinema