Category Archives: giallo

La Mala Ordina / Italian Connection (1972)

AKA Hired to Kill, Manhunt in the City, Manhunt in Milan, Manhunt

Director: Fernando Di Leo.
Starring. Mario Adorf, Henry Silva, Woody Strode, Adolfo Celi. Italy. 1h 40m.

After a shipment of drugs vanishes a rather charming Corso (Cyril Cusack) settles down two confidants and describes the mood for them, Dave Catania (Silva) and Frank Webster (Strode) listen patiently while they are given clear instructions to travel to Italy, where they are to act as American as possible in order to gain the attention of their target, both men speak the language fluently and are more than capable of finding the man suspected of being responsible for the missing drugs and making him suffer. A beautiful local assistant will be waiting on them hand and foot and aiding their mission but the blundering idiot they are sent after might not be quite a useless as everyone suspects.

Small time pimp and crazy headbutting tough guy Luca Canali (Adorfi), seems pretty low key, not the shifty character you’d expect to accidentally lose such a precious cargo. The film partially opens with him spending a pleasant day with his “girlfriend/bottom bitch”in the park then beating up two douchebags using Tekken 2 tactics.But the magic of this film is that Luca is a family man, his stunning ex and beautiful daughter get all his love and attention, and pretty soon the movie shifts from the two tough guys high tailing and it turns into the “Luca show” while he tries to keep ahead of all the mobsters who are now suddenly hot on his tail and all in his slightly comedic style. Continue reading La Mala Ordina / Italian Connection (1972)

Amer (2009)

Director: Helene Cattet, Bruno Forzani.
Starring: Charlotte Eugene-Guibbaud, Cassandra Foret, Marie Bos, Bianca, Maria D’Amato, Harry Cleven, Delphine Crual Belgium/France. 1h 30m.

There has been a lot of talk about this being the beginning of a new wave of Giallo, for a lover of the macabre like myself this was immensely exciting news. I have been into Giallo for a long time now, and while I find new oddities from time to time, it’s getting rarer so to experience new films from the eccentric genre, I eagerly sought out these new wave films.

I was pleasantly surprised not only does the movie has heavy Giallo imagery the story is somewhat diverse, more experimental and a feast of the senses but not entirely Giallie, but something more avant garde that i found myself submerged in. The story is all about Ana and her development from a curious youngster who blossoms into a stunning temptress with dark secrets.

The film is cleverly divided between three distinct sections, the first shows Ana as a plucky little tyke, played by Cassandra Forêt, she crept around the dark mansion, a shadowy figure, possibly her grandmother skulks around with a heavy mantilla layered with black lace, awaiting the death of her husband who’s resting in one of the many bedrooms. the chapter is presented in extremely dark primary colours, flashing light to dark and contrasted to the highest levels, eyes are key here, they are staring from every corner, constantly watching the girl.. Ana is after his pocket watch and fully aware that the shadowy figure is keeping a close eye on her, rooms are locked with heavy keys and eyes are often staring through keyholes, but she managed to get her hands on his watch by using a gold cross to break his post mortem, arthritic hands and is then attacked by the dark covered hands of her grandmother, while running away she bursts in on her parents having some pretty rough sex, and is obviously affected for life.

During the brighter second chapter Ana is now older, a teenager who is beginning to realise that she’s desired.. while accompanying her mother to the hair salon in the local village, the sun shines on them, and through the active camera and vivid sounds again the senses are alive with motion, sounds so crisp and loud that the force all of the senses into action Ana is painfully aware of her mother’s aging, she slips while walking in her heels, isn’t her hair a little greyer? Ana, now played by Charlotte Eugène Guibeaud notices people lurking in the shadows, watching her, when asked to wait outside with the other children she stumbles on a group of bikers and begins to parade herself in front of them when she’s slapped into reality by her mother and they return home, but it’s clear to see that she likes the bad boy influence.

In the final chapter, the now adult Ana has morphed into Marie Bos and is taking the arduous trip back to her now dilapidated family home, the taxi driver dons his black leather gloves and switches on a tiny fan, the seat burns her legs and she opens the window while noticing that the driver is eye banging her. While making herself at home she notices that the taxi driver has returned and another dark figure with black gloves and a razorblade. This final throw of the movie is the closest to the Giallo flavour which the film is famed for having the night scenes look as if they have fallen straight out of the heights of Gialloism. If you give the movie a chance and feel it as much as watching it, there’s a chance you’ll get a taste for it’s deep psycho sexual flavours and deep terrifying puzzles. Amer is a prolonged tease, certainly something to get fully immersed into and not to be taken lightly.

It’s strange and disturbing, a total tantalizing for all the sense, an experience more than a movie, clearly crafted in highly unique chapters by Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani, a pair of directors who cut no corners and went full throttle into this deep mystery. But this was only their first step into the strange unknown, they later went onto create something a step closer away from a narrative in The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears in 2013 and then Let the Corpses Tan in 2017.

To pin down the film will only do it injustice as conjure a rare fantasy world and phantoms which cannot be described but picked out from between the fabric of the movie itself.

The film is simply another wild ride of the new wave of Giallo which will hopefully start to pick up pace or at least be propped up by many more titles from this fearless duo.

Rating 8/10

RThe strange colours of your body’s tears (2013), Tulpa (2012), Let the Corpses Tan (2017)
L – New Wave of Giallo

Post Discussion

Piercing (2018)

Director: Nicolas Pesce Writer: Ryû Murakami
Starring: Christopher Abbott, Mia Wasikowska, Laia Costa. USA/Japan. 1h 21m

Piercing, a movie about a man who plans to kill a prostitute in his hotel room, was an instant for my to watch list, but after seeing it get run into the dirt by many reviewers I did start to question myself. A tiny bit of research renewed my passion when I realised that this thriller is based on a book by Ryû Murakami, yep, the twisted individual that wrote the novel Audition who’s film adaption comes highly rated with it’s dark surreal undertones and horrific gore scenes. Top this off with the director of The Eyes of my Mother (2016) I can’t see how this could really be so bad..

A young father, Reed (Abbott) struggles to restrain himself from stabbing his baby daughter with a skewer, the pressure forces him to find a way to get this deadly desire out of his system. He hatches an incredibly details plan to hire a hotel room, rent a hooker and play out his stabbing fantasy, once she’s dead he hopes to return to his happy normal life.Unfortunately the unhinged hooker he encounters, Jackie (Wasikowska) has her own demons to exorcise and the two of them play an destructive game of cat and mouse. Continue reading Piercing (2018)

Il bandito dagli occhi azzurri / Blue Eyed Bandit (1980)

Director: Alfredo Giannetti
Starring:  Franco Nero, Dalila Di Lazzaro, Carlos de Carvalho. Italy. 1h 36m

A somewhat whimsical crime thriller, Blue Eyed Bandit stars the iconic Franco Nero as Renzo Dominici,  mild mannered crippled and aged clerk who works for a bank, but little do his employers know what by night he transforms into a young, dynamic blue eyed criminal mastermind.


By day he shuffles around in a clever disguise, working long hours, visiting his mother in her nursing home and all the while secretly scoping out the office and waiting for the big pay day but as he ultimate heist get closer, Stella (Lazzaro); a loose member of the cafeteria staff starts to work out that there is much more to the old quiet clerk and she attempts to slide into the deal. Continue reading Il bandito dagli occhi azzurri / Blue Eyed Bandit (1980)

The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue / Let Sleeping Corpses Lie (1974)

AKA Non Si deve profance il sonno dei morti, Don’t Open the Window, the film officially has 15 titles, so take your pick..

Director: Jorge Grau
Starring: Ray Lovelock. Arthur Kennedy, Cristina Galbo. Spain/Italy. 1h 35

There’s a subtle Giallo twist to this unusual but gripping science fiction zombie flick, undead, mystery, giallo, car crash, sci fi horror, pesticides, it’s got so much going on but all to the backdrop of the gorgeous English countryside and littered with the creeping dead.

The film focuses on two protagonists who until their vehicle crash led two totally different lives, there’s Edna (Galbó) Who’s trying to visit her family and the brash George (Lovelock) a hot tempered and pushy individual but his drive really powers the action. Continue reading The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue / Let Sleeping Corpses Lie (1974)

Perdizioni mortali / Tulpa (2012)

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. Continue reading Perdizioni mortali / Tulpa (2012)

La Casa Con La Scala Nel Buio / A Blade in the Dark (1983)

Director: Lamberto Bava
Starring. Michele Soavi, Andrew Occhipinti, Fabola Toledo, Anny Papa. Italy. 1h 50m.

The literal translation of the title is The House with the Dark Staircase which is a little bit more appropriate; at least for the opening scene. Initially cast as a mini-series the film was scraped by Italian TV moguls for being too violent, so re edited as a much shorter film.

Starting with a peculiar scene a groups of boys dare each other to go down some dark stairs (hence the name) eventually one of the boys is forced down into the darkness where he meets his grisly fate, from there Bava leisurely  sets the pace of a whodunit with some impressive jump scares. Continue reading La Casa Con La Scala Nel Buio / A Blade in the Dark (1983)

Ragazza Tutta Nuda Assassinata Nel Parco / A girl killed in the park (1972)

Director:  Alfonso Brescia.
Starring. Robert Hoffman, Irina Demick, Pilar Velazquez, Adolfo Celi. Italy. 1h 32m.

I’m not sure what the fascination is with the Giallo scene and parks, houses being on the edge, and girls getting killing in them.  But this was a bit of a jumbled mess for me, I got the story but some of the characters were a little too bat-shit-crazy to make the film all that plausible. Continue reading Ragazza Tutta Nuda Assassinata Nel Parco / A girl killed in the park (1972)

La coda dello scorpione/ The Case of the Scorpion’s Tail (1971)

 

Director: Sergio Martino

Starring: George Hilton, Anita Strindberg, Alberto de Mendoza,Ida Galli.  Italy. 1h 33m

Martino’s The Case of the Scorpion’s Tail is an engrossing Giallo film but strangely it focuses more on the investigation than outlandish slayings. A woman,  Lisa (Galli)  inherits a massive fortune when her husband dies in a freak accident which results in his plane blowing up mid-flight, she leaves her lovers embrace and collects her money. Close on her heels is the suave and seductive an agent Peter Lynch (Hamilton) sent by the insurance company, checking to see if she had anything to do with the freak accident. They become close as a mysterious stalker starts slaughtering the people around Lisa including her husband’s bit on the side who also wants a cut of the fortune, their marriage of convenience is nothing of the sorts now, with a deluge of lovers and mysterious people entering the frame it’s a total nightmare to work out who the culprit might be, but the local police look clueless and are unable to offer answers or protection, Lynch eventually falls for and investigates the murder with an ambitious anchor woman, Cléo Dupont (Strindberg). A small heirloom holds the key to identifying the deranged killer but will the lovers find the answer before it’s too late. Continue reading La coda dello scorpione/ The Case of the Scorpion’s Tail (1971)

Last Nights Movies 09.03.17

I keep forgetting these updates but I managed to watch a couple of films last night, both brilliant in very different ways, and two classics, one new and one old and close to my heart.

The Fly (1986)

Despite being “not a fan” of remakes this film has always been a great favourite of mine, it’s simple and effective but taking the science and horror brilliance from the 1958 classic and letting it lose in the hands of Cronenberg resulted in some spectacular effects and a highly entertaining gory film, that still has some cult status, those amazing pods, the body shocking gore which rocketed Goldblum’s career, although he still plays the same character in all his films. One person I think we all forget is Stathis Borans (John Getz) an actor I only recognise when he has a beard, I’m going to write a piece about him, the only character who successfully makes it in both films although massively scarred for life both mentally and physically. So for those who haven’t seen the film (many shames on you), this remake is similar but much more daring that the it’s much older original, I’ll get into the differences in another post. But a brilliant and recluse scientist Seth Brundle (Jeff Goldblum)manages to build Telepods that transport objects via particles through space, while conducting a test he manages to transport himself through space but unfortunately a fly is present in the pod and they are genetically spliced together. It’s that simple but becomes so complicated for him as he mutates into a 6ft human fly.. queue The Cramps! Cronenberg, well known for his obsession with the flesh turned a retro horror into buckets of puke and lose body parts gore romance, and we can’t forget this romance as it was pretty real, Gena Davis who plays the love interest did in fact become involved with Goldblum. For me it’s brilliant and still stands the test of time. 9/10 Continue reading Last Nights Movies 09.03.17