"...3. We EXpect The DVD IN September, but it hAs beeN delAyed beFORe.." (Note: Case mismatches were part of the handwriting)
My order from Corwood Industries biggest advertiser, Forced Exposure Industries, is in the mail...you WILL be informed....
I’m repeating myself here, but I need to, to make this point. When it comes to the giallo, popular thinking immediately places Argento-Bava at the top of the pile, in much the same way the punk-think pleb puts the Velvet Underground or Stooges at the top of the musical pile. And sure these are MASSIVE cannons to fill, but like any well developed innerlectyool mind with a capacity beyond that of an inner-city-sharehouse-groopthink tank, there are just as valid, inspiring and FUN works to found outside the gucheral box. In the case of the giallo
The big problem with Fulci’s work is that too much of it is championed for its barf-bag extremist nature such as films ZOMBI2, CITY OF
But as in all GREAT ART time is the penultimate judge, and the clock and cultural payback has been very kind to the unsung ‘maestro’. Which leads me to my next ‘non Bava-Argento’ giallo you need to see…
NUMERO QUATRO : ONE ON TOP OF THE OTHER (Una sull'altra, 1969)
Made at the arse-end of the swinging 60s, ‘One on top of the other’ doesn’t play like a ‘by the rules’ giallo. Sure there are black gloves and babes in there, but not much splatter and slashing for all you sick cnuts. In fact it plays more like a rip-off-type noir ala DOUBLE INDEMNITY, albeit with a trippy and swinging 60s edge. Popular Euro leading man Jean Sorrel plays George Demurrier (said De-moori-yay), a rich, but dodgy doctor based in a very frisky-Frisco, who has a nagging asthmatic wife and is having an affair on the side with a sexy photographer called Martha. So one night after a hot shtoop, wife happens to wind up dead, but to complicate matters she has left him a massive insurance payout. So all fingers are pointed in one direction…Then while trying to relax in an insanely fantastic strip joint, he becomes entranced by the mysterious stripper Monica Weston, played by the insanely hot Marisa Mell
(yep DANGER:DIABOLIKS’ partner in crime and quality time!), who just looks a little bit like his ex-wife..
Can George prove his innocence? And who exactly ARE all these hot ladies screwing him and his mind? While it may not be a flat out giallo, Fulci’s ONE ON TOP OF THE OTHER must rate as one of the seminal (literally, figuratively, and maybe physically for some!) ‘Erotic thrillers’ of the mod-era. Tapping into the late swinging-60s vibe, replete with a very burlesque Jazz-score, lotsa sexy-psych visuals and oodles and oodles of - as Joe Bob Briggs would say – garbonzas, ONE OPN TOP OF THE OTHER is top-shelf, classy cult-trash. But it’s Fulci’s clever twisty plot, his usage oh-so-fine visuals including the odd-jump cut, split-screens and some subtle rear-projections, that make this film more than the some of its parts. And despite some of the narky plot holes and clunky expositions, there is no doubt that Fulci was a fine narrative craftsman, especially in the last twenty minutes, where film gets kinda dark, without someone having to vomit up their entrails or get their eyeballs gouged out, or something similarly disgusting. Many Fulci experts rate the giallo he made after this one LIZARD IN A WOMAN’S SKIN – as his best, but I disagree. ONE ON TOP moves better and has a more ridiculous, but no less SATISFYING conclusion, and prolly works better than LIZARD as a whole. In many ways, the film can be seen as a precursor to that very popular American giallo of the 90s’ (also set in San Fran) BASIC INSTINCT, but really, would you rate Sharon Stone anywhere near Marissa Mell?
If you wanna see this film and can’t wait for the Anchor Bay Special Edition that was meant to appear late last year/early this year, you can buy a bootleg from Luminous Film Werks on the Internerd. It’s basically a video copy ported onto a DVD-R. But this film DESERVES the red-carpet treatment pretty soon…
These days I’m pretty big-time into that Italian-pulp-cinema genre from the late 60s and 70s called the giallo (and NOT the trendy womens' shoe-store chain here in Melbourne!) Personally, in my own head and no-one else's, I reckon it’s the most happening sorta obscure film-genre that the pomo-homos haven’t mined yet. I still don’t know why, since the giallo’s have plenty of themes ready-made for today’s trendies, like class-politics, repression, lesbianism and other kinks, cuckold men, sex, murder, rich people, trendy fashion and funky music, etc..etc..etc…For better or for worse the giallos paved the way for that Americanos genre the ‘slasher’ movie. In their own day, the gialli were pretty much the Italianos ripping off Hitchcock, although they weren’t uppity Poms, so they would show you more titties, more blood, and more sunny skies. The word giallo literally means yellow, and the genre named after cheap pulp-lit crime fiction novels that incidentally had yellow covers. There might be some other significant, deeper, meaning but I’ll leave that for the psych-minors. Oh and the killers generally wear black gloves and funny hats.
Part of my own innarest in the giallo stems from my love of Brian DePalma’s films, sexy Italian women, and probably not much else. Aficionados will automatically point you to the two kings of the giallo genre – Mario Bava and Dario Argento – and their films: Deep Red, Tenebre, Sleepless, The girls who knew too much, Blood & Black Lace and Twitch of the Death Nerve – while all landmark/dogma examples of the genre, aren’t always the best places to start (well in my opinion, anyway). So I’ve decided to pick out of my nose, the FIVE BEST NON-BAVA-ARGENTO gialli that are worth watching, starting with the best-early-De-Palma-movie-De-Palma-never made:
NUMERO-CINQUE: THE CASE OF THE BLOODY IRIS.
While many more overweight fans of the giallo genre don’t rate this film, I do. Within 5 minutes all the trademarks of the genre are established: gloves, girls, blood and boobs, the opening scene would be ripped off hook-line-and-stinker by De Palma is his sorta-legendary DRESSED TO KILL. It’s got an inherently stupid premise, whereby our heroine decides to move into an apartment block where two previous hot-chicks were slashered, just so the slasherer can attempt to slash her and give us a story. Another good thing about this film, we are introduced to the Numero-Uno sex-goddess of the genre in sexy-Algerian-Italian actress Edwidge Fenech. We immediately get to see her Edwidges and a few other things. Remember the name, as she’s the boss in many of the best non-Argento-Bava gialli.
ANOTHER feature of the giallo is the use of funky-op-art type architecture and visuals. The giallo while being partly pomo-rippoff also prided itself on its modernisma. So you got lots of pan-global settings, and lots of moderne-60s-70s architecture and settings. And also lots of drugs. But that’s another story…
So in short, THE CASE OF THE BLOOD IRIS, while not delving deep into the mysteries of the human soul and condition, is a good place to start. Sure it aint got all the production values of some of the better films, but it’s got a lot of the basics of what the genre is all about. There’s only one problem though, the DVD is only available as part of the AnchorBay ‘Giallo Collection’ boxset. Bummer!