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SO DEADLY, SO PERVERSE

by Troy Howarth
8.5 x 11, full color

SALE PRICE $35.00

What is a Giallo?
by Ernesto Gastaldi

A giallo is not a detective story, it is not a thriller, not a suspense movie, not a horror film. But it can be any one of these things and also all of these things rolled into one. What sets a giallo apart from another story? Two things: a difficult to explain event and its rigorously logical explanation based on the evidence and details provided in the story. The event is almost always a murder. Both in literature and in cinema, the gialli that pay respect to the intellect of the audience members are few in number. Often, more so in the movies than in the literature, the author cheats. In the movies, the filmmaker is able to show you what he or she wants you to see, thus enabling things to be hidden that should be in plain view; but this would destroy the mystery, so it is easier to simply cheat. One of the most famous cheats is the climax of the film The Bird With the Crystal Plumage, where the protagonist suddenly remembers that when he witnessed the attempted murder, it was not the man that was trying to kill the woman—
it was the woman that was trying to kill the man!


How do you build a giallo? Each author has his way. Many prefer to fine-tune the whole story before starting to write it, while I often do the opposite; it seems more fun to me that way. Try to imagine a murder, which revolves around a number of strong suspects with manias of their own. Writers are well aware of how the characters will take the action in their own hands, sometimes in opposition to the wishes of the author. Often the characters rebel against the author and refuse to do what He wants. Anyway, after describing the mysterious murder and surrounding it with a good number of suspects, it pays to stop and examine what you have written. It is up to you to find the logic and motivation of the murderer, though you may not yet know who he is just yet. But by following a logical progression and paying attention to the facts, you will eliminate many possible suspects; it is your job to find the path that leads to the guilty party. Maybe it seems that there is no need for logic. I would insist, there usually is. If you just cannot find it, you can always follow the example of P.G. Wodehouse, who ended one of his gialli with the revelation that the killer was Mario Rossi … who was clever enough to have never appeared in the book.

 

SO DEADLY, SO PERVERSE 2

by Troy Howarth
8.5 x 11, full color

SALE PRICE $35.00

 

The giallo—an Italian brand of thriller known for its stylish and lurid excesses—got its start in the cinema with the release of Mario Bava’s THE GIRL WHO KNEW TOO MUCH in 1963. Other filmmakers explored the possibilities of such material throughout the 1960s, but it took the release of Dario Argento’s impressive debut THE BIRD WITH THE CRYSTAL PLUMAGE in 1970 to ensure the giallo a place alongside the Spaghetti Western and the poliziottesco (violent police thrillers) in the public consciousness. All good things must come to an end, however, and the glut of imitations throughout the early 1970s gradually wore down public interest in the genre. Even so, it stubbornly clung to life and mutated throughout the 1970s even as American filmmakers like John Carpenter and Sean S. Cunningham took inspiration from it to create the slasher film.
SO DEADLY, SO PERVERSE: 50 YEARS OF ITALIAN GIALLO FILMS VOLUME TWO offers a look at the gradual decline of the giallo from 1974 until 2013. The decline of the Italian film industry in the 1980s hit every genre hard and the giallo is no exception. Despite the best efforts of directors like Argento to keep it alive and vibrant, the giallo simply never managed to rebound after a late period of stylistic and gory excess typified by offerings like Argento’s TENEBRAE and Lucio Fulci’s THE NEW YORK RIPPER in 1982. Author Troy Howarth explores the genre’s decline and picks out some late period entries worthy of more serious praise and consideration. Volume two also offers an overview of the giallo and its place in the Italian film scene by Italian writer and filmmaker Luigi Cozzi, of CONTAMINATION fame. Like volume one, this edition is also lavishly illustrated with colorful still, posters and advertising art.