We will publish a series of A&B TOP 5 -listings related to different genres, directors, or whatever we think deserves a top 5 -listing. Best movies, worst movies, best scores, best murder scenes, funniest characters, best smoking scenes, etc. These won't be spoiler-filled full-length reviews of the movies. Selected movies aren't in any specific order. Just a selection of 5 movies that we think deserve a place on the current list and most importantly deserve to be seen! We share a couple of our own thoughts and some knowledge of these movies. But after all, we hope that even more people find out about all these amazing movies we love to watch over and over again.
The first topic we want to start with is...5 must-see GOOD GIALLO films.
The Girl Who Knew Too Much
Director Mario Bava
This film created the genre that is now known as Giallo. A great murder mystery with a very 'Hitchcockian' -style structure. Shot in black and white with masterful lighting and visuals by the director himself Mario Bava. Trademarks that can be seen throughout the filmography of Bava. There are two versions of the film (The Girl Who Knew Too Much) and the American cut called Evil Eye. It was really typical in the films of this era that they were re-edited totally for the American market. Many times director himself didn't have much to say about the versions. But mostly those cuts aren't what the director wanted the film to be in the first place. We recommend you check both versions. You can find both of them in Arrow Films superb release.
Extreme camera angles. Film Noir stylized hard lighting&strong shadows. A person who definitely isn't a detective or a police officer involves the case more than should.
Elements that you will be seeing a lot in the genre.
The Blood and Black Lace
Director Mario Bava
Mario Bava turns up the heat in his follow-up Giallo. It is the first film that introduces this famous "Giallo" -look of the killer. Black hat, leather gloves, and a trench coat. This look you will be seeing in dozens of Giallo films and in many other genres. The visuals and cinematography in this film are marvelous. If you need any kind of inspiration about how a film should look, see this film. Great twists and turns in the plot and a beautiful film altogether. One of my personal favorites in the genre and in the list of Mario Bava's films. I think the only release you should see is the Arrow Films -version.
Mannequins. Unidentified masked killer. COLORFUL lighting.– Elements that you will be seeing a lot in the genre.
Director Dario Argento
Argento takes the genre in a more 'horror-ish' direction with the addition of gore and graphical violence to the mix. Great visuals and one of the best scores ever made by Goblin. The plot is full of great twists and turns with interesting characters. Two different versions are available but the only version you should see is the uncut Italian version. Again great release of this film by Arrow Films.
Closeup of an eye. Creepy Dolls. The story is driven by the score.–Elements that you will be seeing (and hearing) a lot in the genre.
The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh
Director Sergio Martino
Sergio Martino's dreamlike journey towards the 'crazy' side of Giallo. This is my favorite film in the genre and the one with the most plot turns. It takes more than a few viewings to fully understand what is going on in the film. To help out with the multiple views there is the queen of Giallo, Edwige Fenech in a starring role. No problem at all with the multiple re-watches! The dreamy style and nudity make this a bit more sleazy Giallo. It stands out from the previous mentions on the list. This movie has a couple of really absurd love scenes.
Not the easiest film to watch and the weird parts of it make you think "What were they thinking when they made this..?". But when you start seeing these same kinds of goofs in other Giallis, you will start to understand it's the salt and pepper of the genre. After that, it is hard to bite the 'stake' without it. Argento's vision of the genre is more serious in its style than Martino's but also in later works of Argento these sillinesses make an appearance. A great version of this film on Blu-ray release is available on Shameless Screen Entertainment.
Dream sequences. Repetitive&fast editing style. Nudity.–Elements that you will be seeing a lot in the genre.
Don't Torture a Duckling
Director Lucio Fulci
The last film on the list is Lucio Fulci's masterpiece. This extremely violent and sleazy film was banned in many countries when it came out. It wasn't never theatrically released in the United States and wasn't published until 1999 with Anchor Bay Entertainment's DVD&VHS release. Including extreme acts of violence against children and women makes this film one of the hardest to watch in the genre. There is also some criticism against the Catholic church involved.
Almost every line was crossed that should not be crossed in the year it was made. But still, it is a very powerful film and deserves to be seen. This film also has two queens of the genre in the same film, Barbara Bouchet and Florinda Bolkan. Of course, Fulci is known for his violent and sleazy style and another Giallo by him that is even more violent is The New York Ripper. There are two good versions of it, again by Arrow and Shameless.
Brutal violence. Religion is involved in the story. Traumatized childhood. –Elements that you will be seeing a lot in the genre.
So here are the first 5 films to watch from the genre. From black and white thriller to European art-house horror to sleazy dreamish craziness all the way to the full gore-fest of the Italian countryside. After these movies, you start to understand the many faces of the genre. But still, you have just touched the surface. This rabbit hole is deeEEEeep and t w i s t e d.
The beauty of the genre is that there are so many different ways to tell a murder mystery. Who-dun-it? Dive in and find out yourself. Enjoy these beautiful pieces of cult cinema.
They REALLY deserve it!
Blog text by Teemu Saarinen / Azh Boyzz.