Tag Archives: giallo

Profondo Rosso / Deep Red / The Hatchet Murders (1975)

 

aofa31days2016

Day 17 of 31

Director : Dario Argento
Starring :  Macha Meril David Hemmings Daria Nicolodi Gabriele Lavia Giuliana Calandra Glauco Mauri Clara Calamai Piero Mazzinghi. Italy. 1h 46m.

Giallo films are one of the more iconic and unusual forms of horror, terror and suspense, a genre that’s easy to define but not very easy to predict, when I was first introduced to the eccentric brand of Italian slasher, in the weekend marathon I pretty much watched all the biggest names from Dario Argento and Lucio Fulchi. But only a few stood out, this was an instant favourite, not only because of the extensive nightmarish story, but the variety of violence that everyone can identify with. Continue reading Profondo Rosso / Deep Red / The Hatchet Murders (1975)

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Opera (1987) AKA Terror at the Opera

aofa31days2016

Day 12 of 31

Director: Dario Argento.

Starring: Christina Marsillach, Daria Nicolodi, Urbano Barberini, Ian Charleson . Italy. 1h 47m

 

Slightly arthouse but very gothic, this epic giallo film from legend Dario Argento see a fusion of opera and slasher collide in this suspense filled macabre horror. Seemingly inspired by the tragic Macbeth, that is the exact plat which Betty, a stunning understudy is working on when she is stalked by a hooded sadistic killer whose main objective is to torture Betty by forcing her to watch him kill but how’s cunning managed to keep his anonymity. On the opening night of the Verdi Opera, a stage hand is killed and all of the ravens that were brought in for the tragic opera, but the curse of Macbeth lives on and Betty is soon on the run. As the film slowly progresses every new character is a potential killer and Betty soon realises she can trust no one, a bulk of the film is literally Betty randomly getting pounced on, then upon waking up in a bound/gagged situation and unable to look away as an innocent person is brutally slaughtered in an outlandish way.

There is a unique feel in this gothic art house giallo, it has the loud badly dubbed soundtrack like so many others but the killer toys with the victims in such a bizarre manner, being one of the few gialli that focuses more on the torture aspect than bizarre settings and a horrific murders.

Poor (not so ugly) Betty, grapples to find sanctuary from this nightmare, one of the more memorable scenes is when she’s getting fitted for a costume when she finds herself bound with tape placed on her face with needles poking up ensuring that she can’t avoid watching the tailor get brutalised,and then a impromptu autopsy is performed on her after she swallows the killers bracelet. Each attack is like a small drama stage play in itself, with the intense lighting and pounding music. The torture method was one conjured up by Argento himself when joking about people shying away from his murder scenes in the cinema, he threatened to tape pins under their eyes so they couldn’t look away and materialised the fascinating idea here.

Verdi’s opera is infamous for bringing bad luck but the aesthetics inspired Argento to be a little bit more experimental with the visuals, from the early scene filmed from the black reflection of a crow’s eye to the haunting dream sequences and flashbacks suffered by Betty. The varied and well executed effects and camera work pays off, everything about the film is about an voyeurism and being centre stage, and every element is arranged in such a way where it’s all very much centre stage and “look at me”, and Argento didn’t really need to force us to look at this marvel as his attempts to make it stunning have mesmerized fans for years.

After several grisly murders and lots of flashbacks there are two epic endings, one follows on nicely and the other hits you like a bat out of hell.. And shouldn’t be missed,

AOFA08

Rating 8/10

 

 

R – Watch me when I kill, New York Ripper, Bird with Crystal Plumage
L – A-Z of Giallo, Italian Cinema, Crazy endings
A – My love affair with Giallo
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Messiah of Evil (1973)

messiah of evil

Director/Screenplay/Producer: Willard Huyck, Gloria Katz
Starring: Marianna Hill, Michael Greer, Elisha Cook Jr . USA. 1h 30m.

Also known under the delightful title of Dead People this early 70’s horror co written, directed and produced by the husband and wife team of Willard Huyck and Gloria Katz is a often overlooked deeply atmospheric and psychotropic horror movie.

Starring Marianna Hill as Arletty who drives to Point Dune, California to visit her estranged father, an artist who has abandoned his home but upon uncovering his diary she finds vital information concerning the horrible nightmare that is consuming the town and ignoring her father’s pleas to NOT look for him, she continues her search and tracks down the owner of a gallery who sells her father’s work, but he vaguely remembers him and informs her about the vibrant “art culture” that thrives in Point Dune. Still searching for information she meets a visiting Portuguese/American aristocrat, Thom (Michael Greer) and his two extremely provocative groupie companions Toni (Joy Bang) and Laura (Anita Ford). Thom interviews Charlie (Elisha Cook Jr) an old eccentric who tells of dark and chilling tales of his mother and “the dark stranger” who will return after a 100 years hiatus, he also informs Arletty that her father is one of “them” and moments later he’s murdered. Continue reading Messiah of Evil (1973)