Saturday, April 24, 2010


Welcome to Italian Lemonade, ladies and gents.

I created Italian Lemonade to express my love of all things giallo.

What is a giallo, you ask?  Well, let me tell you.

Back in the day, crime/detective novels were incredibly popular in Italy. Mainly they were penny dreadful cheapies involving murder, sex, femmes fatales, and intrigue. Not too far from noir, but with a style that was clearly its own thing. These novels were published with bright yellow covers. The word for 'yellow' in Italian is 'giallo.' So eventually this genre was known as the giallo.

The Girl Who Knew Too Much, directed by Mario Bava, is regarded as one of the first cinematic rendition of a giallo. It was released in 1963 and owes more to Hitchcock than later gialli.

Later Bava directed the first giallo shot in color: Blood and Black Lace. This film is one of the classics of the genre, and a prime example of how to make a horror film in color (to paraphrase Video Watchdog's Tim Lucas). It's beautiful, haute-couture, candy-colored mayhem.

Gialli didn't really have much of an impact until Dario Argento's directorial debut-The Bird With The Crystal Plumage. The film was such a huge hit that one theater played it in Italy for three years straight. It was even the #1 film in America for a while (Take that, Love Story!).

The Bird With The Crystal Plumage set the standard for gialli: Highly convoluted plots, unconventional camera angles, long drawn out murder set pieces, and beautiful scores (mainly by Ennio Morricone and Bruno Nicolai). Many of these films dripped with style and '70's flair.

Gialli were also known for the bevy of beauties who graced them: Erika Blanc, Barbara Bouchet, Nieves Navarro, and especially Edwige Fenech, the queen of the giallo (Google them).

Gialli have had their ups and downs, with sharp rises in the 80's. Luckily DVD has enabled the world to fall in love with them all over again.
Starting in late May, after I graduate with my associates degree, I am going to put my love of all things giallo through the ultimate test:  I am going to watch a giallo every day for 30 days.
Luckily I won't have to go too far: I have at least fifty in my DVD collection.  If anything, figuring out which ones to watch will be the hard part.  However, until then, I am going on a giallo fast.  I will not watch any gialli until the Month of Mayhem begins.  Which is gonna be hard because I recently purchased at least 20 that I've never seen before (ZDD Visual Media, I will miss ye).
Whenever possible, with each write up of my giallo du jour, I'll post some links that are relevant to each film.  Check them out.  As an associate, if you go there through my blog, and make a purchase, they give me $$$.
So with that, I bid you a good evening.  Next blog, I'll share my earliest giallo memories with you.