Giallo Meltdown: Part 1 (Friday Night) by Richard Of DM

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Introduction

I’ve been wanting to do a Giallo moviethon for about 4 years now but I had so few titles it was impossible to put one together. Well, the tide has turned and now I have too many to fit them all in to just one movie marathon. In order to bring down the numbers, I decided to eliminate the masters: Dario Argento, Mario Bava, and Lucio Fulci. Sorry boys, but I figured it was time to examine the best of the rest of the Italian genre directors. Besides, I’ve got this hankerin’ for some Umberto Lenzi, Aldo Lado, and Sergio Martino.

I narrowed the titles down to 28, printed them up, cut them into little strips of paper, and then stuffed the strips into a black glove (actually a mitten) in order to be selected randomly throughout the Moviethon. The entire event was scheduled to begin on Friday night and end around 60 hours later on Sunday night. To make sure that I had enough time to recover, I took the following Monday off from work. My wife LeEtta did the same so that she could take part. I also invited several friends over to come and get Giallofied.

Little did I know that two and half days later, I would be mentally and physically whipped, slashed, and bludgeoned by only 21 of those 28 titles. There was just nothing to prepare me for the cackling madness and alarming physical breakdown in store. The combination of junk food and an ocean of caffeinated beverages did their damage as well. Dear readers, this is the story of the very first Giallo Meltdown and I swear that all of it is true.

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5:00 pm

Preparations (Friday)

LeEtta and I get off work and head immediately for ABC where she can get some Admiral Nelson’s spiced rum. I already have some J&B at the apartment so I’m all good. We hit up Cigar Castle so that I can stock up on some smokes. The Macanudo Bus is there and we finagle some free cigars along with my three purchased cigars: Top Cigars, Oliva, and Tatuaje. We then run by Wendy’s (it’s on the way home) and pick up an easy dinner.

I say a few opening remarks to LeEtta, the cats, and our bird, since no one else has arrived yet. I then take a big swig of J&B to christen the beginning of the marathon. I give LeEtta the honor of picking the first movie and she chooses one I’ve never seen:
The Iguana With The Tongue Of Fire. Ladies and gentleman, this yellowest of yellow Moviethons has begun!

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“Well now, my fleet-footed filly, are we going to have it off in the bushes or on the bike?”

6:45pm

01. The Iguana With The Tongue Of Fire

Whoa, acid in the face! We’re off to a good start. LeEtta refers to Luigi Pistilli as “the swarthy Jeremy Irons” and I’m not going to argue. His voice actor is awful and the scriptwriters think that Irish people say “well now” at the beginning of every sentence. Hilarious. More dialogue malfeasance occurs when Inspector Lawrence tries to explain the iguana metaphor behind the movie. LeEtta and I are dumbstruck by that one.

Hey look, it’s Renato Romano (of
Seven Blood-Stained Orchids) playing the shift-eyed driver. Wait, what is going on with the plot? No worries though, the presence of a young Dagmar Lassander helps me to forget all of my cares. There’s an Agatha Christie reference but before I can remark on its significance in the Giallo, Anton Diffring erupts in an awesome freak-out!

Director Riccardo Freda may not be at the top of his game with this one but dang, he’s sure not afraid of the gore effects. Oh grandma, put on your glasses so you can hear what people are saying! This is definitely a great Giallo to start with: a black-gloved killer, red herrings every 5 minutes, and it’s even shot with some style. The final reveal is pretty lame if I think about it too much but the bloody climax makes up for it. The first film of this Moviethon is complete.

Read the full review.

Get the DVD from European Trash Cinema.

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“She reminds me of a werewolf.”

8:25pm

02. Naked You Die

LeEtta reaches into the black glove and draws out this 1968 Antonio Margheriti… um… film. The mod soundtrack and that amazing “Nightmare” song were probably out of fashion the moment this film hit theatres. It already reminds me of a German Krimi rather than a Giallo. The movie is so light and fun that I keep expecting Dinah Shore to show up. Instead, the frighteningly expressive Marc Damon (Johnny Yuma) is here to creep me out with that freaky smile and a hankerin’ for the student body.

Speaking of creepy, just look at Jill. She looks like Jerri Blank! Isn’t she just so much fun with her walkie talkies?! Eleonora Brown makes everything sweet as the romantic Lucille. And Luciano Pigozzi (
Baron Blood) makes a fine groundskeeper but an even better pervert. However, it’s the scenery and the cinematography that really steals the film. Where the hell was this filmed? Ugh, that scuba gear bit was pretty much the most awful thing I've ever seen.

This film is starting to lose me. My friend Richie arrives (with two 32oz bottles of Miller High Life) just in time to witness me begging
Naked You Die
to end. I can’t really put my finger on why this film is pissing me off so much. The lack of blood and gratuitous nudity isn’t really the problem. I can handle a tame flick. It’s just that all of the fun of the first half has just drained away. I suspect that if I give this film another shot at a later date, I'll probably end up loving it.

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10:10pm

Cigar Break

Richie and I retreat to the patio so that I can complain some more about the retardulous (that’s retarded and ridiculous) Naked You Die. The weather is cool but not nearly enough for December. The Christmas lights I put up are twinkling very nicely. I light up an Oliva cigar (a new favorite of mine ever since Argentophobia) and crack open a Monster energy drink. We discuss the films to come and my plans to keep watching them until the dawn of Monday morning. After I’ve smoked the cigar down to the nub and talked Richie’s ear off, we head back inside.

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“The past and your fate are linked with death.”

11:25pm

03. The Bloodstained Shadow

Richie pulls Antonio Bido’s The Bloodstained Shadow from the black glove and I’m pretty psyched. This was one of those flicks that I outright hated upon first viewing it but I’ve come around to it. It’s still a slow burn but it is an intelligent and a visually stunning Giallo. There’s a really creepy inbred vibe coming from the small-minded townsfolk. Take that and combine it with some sacrilegious imagery and you’ve got one of them there artistic statements, I think.

Much like Dario Argento’s
Bird With The Crystal Plumage
, a piece of art and a recurring memory hold the key to solving the case. Oh snap, there’s a séance! I really do have an indiscriminate love for séances in horror movies! I love the scenes with Lino Capolicchio and Craig Hill shouting at each other. Hmm, I think I needs me some gourmet cheese. I open the package of Cotswold that LeEtta’s mom sent us and it is some mighty fine stuff.

Speaking of cheesy, what is with that gay boat ride? We are all alarmed by Sandra’s (Stefania Casini) lack of grief over her mother’s death. For God’s sake, someone stuffed mommy's friggin’ head into a lit fireplace. Well, at least she’s painting her way through her pain. This movie’s soundtrack is brought to you by not only Stelvio Cipriani but Goblin as well. Now there’s a fuckin’ power team! Their music fits together perfectly with the chilling atmosphere Bido brings to the film.

Read the full review.

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“Too many books never did a woman any good.”

1:15am

04. Seven Deaths In The Cat’s Eye

I pull the strip of paper out of the black glove and I’m a little disappointed. Seven Deaths In The Cat’s Eye is good but I was hoping for Richie’s benefit that it would be something more typical for the genre. The gothic overtones and quasi-supernatural moments nearly disqualify this as a Giallo. However, a black-gloved killer, a slew of murders, and a totally insane plot manage to stabilize its genre status. Holy shit, some rats just ate that duder’s face off. Could Luciano Pigozzi be the killer? Nope, he's dead.

Hey Corringa (Jane Birkin), nice job setting your dang bible on fire. That’s two films filled with blasphemy in a row! And that ape. That’s just filmic blasphemy. I hate monkeys. With that, LeEtta says she’s going to bed. We bid her goodnight and I realize that I’m talking my head off which Richie finds amusing. No wonder nobody comes to these things. Oh, sweet bisexual Suzanne, you’re as hot as Hiram Keller is a badass.

There is a sweet dream sequence with some very outlandish imagery that just kicks my ass all over town. Is this Giallo Fantastico? There is no question that the camerawork, the editing, and the lighting are all excellent in
Seven Deaths. Oh great, another horribly fake Irish accent thanks to the voice actor dubbing over evil French composer/songwriter Serge Gainsbourg who plays the police inspector. My God, the lighting in this film is outstanding. Antonio Margheriti, I forgive you for Naked You Die
.

Read the full review.

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2:55am

Final Thoughts (Friday)

Okay, so we had a shaky start. Fate wasn’t cruel but she wasn’t on my side either. What was with the two moderately-paced (SLOW!) Giallos in a row for Richie? That’s just cruel. And Naked You Die? What a huge disappointment. I can’t remember the last time I was begging for a Giallo to end. Oh wait, yeah I do. French Sex Murders, anyone? That shit is banned from the Moviethon. Richie takes his leave but wishes me luck on his way out. Well, I’m going to bed now. The easy part is over.

Continue on to Saturday.

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