At DVD.com, friend of the Gutter Jay Patrick dives into the history of Italian giallo film. “I put Opera in the VCR and experienced my first proper giallo. I hadn’t yet incorporated the term giallo into my lexicon because it was, to my eyes, just a very stylish and inventive slasher film. There were kills, but nothing like I’d seen before. (That keyhole shot! Eyeball needles!) I found more of these films and began to identify the individual elements that set the giallo apart from the average American slasher, a genre that hadn’t really interested me much beyond the original Halloween (1978) and A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984). If American slashers were pop music, rote and regurgitated, Italian horror was a symphony of bloodletting.
When I went to college, I found more people that spoke giallo. My ‘Intro to Film’ college professor handed me a copy of Mario Bava’s Blood and Black Lace dubbed from his personal laserdisc. The indie video story near campus boasted a sizable collection – a fact I learned as I hunted down Jean Epstein’s 1928 adaption of The Fall of the House of Usher for a term paper. I rented haphazardly and without much discretion. Italian director? Horror movie? Put it on my tab, signore.
As I proceeded with my independent study on the matter of Italian horror, the path to giallo became clearer and expanded my appreciation of the genre’s unique metatexual elements.”