Monday, May 31, 2010

Day 16: Footprints

An early post tonight, because I managed to find a 90 minute window before getting ready for work.

Footprints marks the second dreamlike giallo in a row.  Death Laid an Egg is one of those batshit crazy dreams, where anything can and does happen.  Footprints, however, is one of those slow burn types that builds an atmosphere in a slow, claustrophobic manner.

We open on the moon.  An astronaut is dragging another astronaut's body across the surface, laying him down.  The first astronaut boards his spaceship and leaves the other one behind as he wakes up and realizes what happened.

Cut to Alice (Florinda Bolkan) waking up in her apartment.  It was all a dream.

When she arrives at work, she finds out she actually lost three days.  The boss cans her, as this seems to be the final straw.

Back at home, Alice finds a torn postcard of a hotel.  The hotel is in a town called Garma.  Well, since she has no job anyway, and she thinks the hotel may be linked to the days she can't remember, she goes to Garma.

When she arrives, she meets Paula (Nicoletta Elmi, the Dakota Fanning of 70's gialli).  Paula recognizes Alice, but says Alice's name is Nicole.  As Alice investigates further, everybody in the area recognizes Nicole.

What's going on?  Does Alice have a split personality?  A doppelganger?  A Klaus Kinski fetish?

I still don't know.  I think I missed something.

Anyhow, the film is pure atmosphere.  I often have dreams where I'm in a mashup of all the houses I've ever lived in, going down long hallways that never end with all sorts of familiar rooms that aren't quite what they really were.  Footprints is like one of those dreams.  Not much really happens, but a sense of dread manifests and permeates throughout the picture.

This is mainly accomplished through the cinematography and the score, which is amazing.  Nicola Piovani's music crawls into your head and once it's there, it burrows into your subconscious.  Great work, maestro.

If I were to compare this to another giallo, I would compare it to Perfume of the Lady in Black.  However, I will say that Perfume is more engaging, while Footprints' mystery is more frustrating.

Maybe in a while, I'll revisit this and see what I missed.


Sunday, May 30, 2010

Day 15: Death Laid an Egg

This is going to be a short post.  Mainly for the reason that I don't know what the fuck I just watched.

I had been told Death Laid an Egg was strange.  But boy I didn't realize what I was in for when I popped this bad boy into my player.

So we start off with an opening credits sequence that looks like footage of the inside of a human body. Remember in Look Who's Talking where we're shown Kirstie Alley's ovulating lady parts from the inside as the little swimmers find their way to the egg?  Think that.  But more psychedelic.

We then cut to a delirious sequence in a hotel, as a man prepares to commit suicide.  A couple are fooling around in another room, while a young man tries to listen to them.  Soon the couple's canoodling turns into terror as the man slashes up the woman.

Then we get to the main characters, who run a chicken farm.  They just let their workers go because they figured out how to run things by machine.  The main three are also in a love triangle.

That's honestly all I'm gonna leave you with in terms of plot.

Because that's all I understood.

While all the giallo ingredients are still there, this is really an art film in every sense.  A giallo for David Lynch fans, if you will.

The entire thing plays like a fever dream, a series of surreal sequences barely strung together by any semblance of a plot.

And the strange thing is...I can't wait to see this again.

Like Donnie Darko and Mulholland Dr., Death Laid An Egg is the rare film I want to investigate further with repeat viewings.

Once I finish the month, I'm considering going on one last giallo binge with a day long (two day if I manage to get two off in a row) marathon before watching my palette cleanser and calling it a day.  If I do, this most certainly be revisited.


Saturday, May 29, 2010

Italia's Next Chopped Model Week! Day 14: The Case of the Bloody Iris

Ladies and gentlemen, tonight marks the end of Italia's Next Chopped Model Week.  What a week it's been, ranging across five decades.  We've been witness to styles both timeless and dated, mostly the latter.

The final selection of the week is one of my all time favorite gialli, at least in my top three.

The Case of the Bloody Iris was written by Ernesto Gastaldi, director of know, the movie y'all chose to start the month off with.  In the time period between Libido and Iris, Gastaldi had perfected the formula: Beautiful women, a gloved killer, all sorts of red herrings, you name it, Iris has it in spades.

A call girl is murdered in an elevator of a high rise apartment building.  She is discovered by Mizar (Carla Brait), a stripper/model.  Later that night, after a performance at an exclusive club (coaxing men into wrestling with her, promising to be their sex slave if they win...and she's never lost), Mizar returns home.  But when she comes home, she is knocked unconscious (by a karate chop to the throat (?)) and drowned in her bathtub.

After the murder, Jennifer (Edwige Fenech) and her ditzy, Goldie Hawn-esque best friend Marilyn (Paola Quattrini) end up getting a deal on the apartment.  Of course they jump on it.  The rent's most likely super cheap, and since the murder victim was drowned, there's no pesky blood stains to worry about.

However, Jennifer is constantly harassed by Adam, who led a creepy free-love sex cult that she has escaped from.  Adam refuses to let her go, believing she still belongs to him.

Meanwhile, the murders continue, and a mysterious man keeps breaking into the apartment, terrorizing Jennifer.

I'm just going to leave it at that.  This film needs to be sought out at all costs.  Luckily, I have an link to it at the bottom of this blog, so you don't have to go far.  The film is a prime example of everything a giallo has to offer, including one of my favorite giallo scores (by Bruno Nicolai). Not to mention the beautiful set pieces, such as this scene, one of my favorite scenes, like, ever:

Edwige Fenech, naked, covered in flowers.  Oh.  My.  Goodness.  Gracious.

As I mentioned earlier, Iris is one of my favorite gialli of all time.  On top of everything else I mentioned, the film is also endlessly rewatchable and perfectly paced.  I've rewatched this one quite a few times, and never get tired of it.  That's something rare for me, since I'll admit rewatching is not something I do too often.

So what are you waiting for?  Go seek this one out now.  If nothing else, you'll thank me for the entire scene that I took the above pic from.


Friday, May 28, 2010

Italia's Next Chopped Model Week! Day 13, Part Two-Blood and Black Lace

So here we are, at part two of my double feature.  Hope this makes up for last night.

Blood and Black Lace is one of the classics of the giallo genre.  With good reason.  It's one of the first gialli, establishing many of the conventions us horror hounds take for granted today.

It is also the first giallo shot in color.  This film is gorgeous, one of the prime examples of how to shoot horror in color.  It's pure candy-coated Eastmancolor beautiful mayhem.  Some scenes are practically marinated in all sorts of hues, while even the "blander" scenes provide plenty of visual interest.  The standout scene, IMHO, has to be the death in the antique store.  I absolutely love this scene for its lighting.  It's my favorite Bava sequence, though I'll readily admit I'm not as up on Bava as I should be.

Seriously. If anything, look this scene up.  When I get my own house, I'm lighting my basement this way.

The plot revolves around models at a fashion house.  One model, Isabella, is murdered before a big show.  After her death, her diary is uncovered, which has a lot of salacious information.  Unlike my diary.  Which mostly has...well, I'll leave it at that.

Now whoever gets their hands on this diary is getting murdered, as well as other people involved in the whole mess.  Soon the bodies start piling up, while some people keep quiet to save their own asses.

Visually, this film is a treat.  It's like a bag of bloody Crazy Core Skittles.  And every time I watch this film, I always notice a strange glow emanating from the screen.  This just adds to the magic and pulls me in every time.

That said, I am gearing up to dodge a couple of projectiles, here.  As gorgeous as everything is, I always lose interest in the last half hour or so.  The plot begins to run out of steam, and there are too many endings.  Once the identity of the killer(s) is revealed, there is another 15 minutes left to go.  This ends up sucking the suspense out of the film.

Still, Blood and Black Lace is a film I wish more people would seek out.  Click on my link and buy it NOW...

And if you're stuck on what to get me for Christmas, I'd love one of those red velvet mannequins with a long black wig on it.  I dunno what I'd do with it, but I want one.


Italia's Next Chopped Model Week! Day 13, Part One-Too Beautiful To Die

I wish I'd viewed this last night.  Then it would have been more of a one-two punch with Nothing Underneath.

You see, even though they are only alike in theme, Too Beautiful To Die was billed as Nothing Underneath 2 in Italy.  The fashion model theme is the only thing that links the two.

This film opens with a commercial shoot.  Four beautiful women dressed like they belong in a Robert Palmer video eventually strip down to their knickers.  Never a bad way to start off a movie.  Every movie should start like that.  Well, except for maybe a Pixar flick.  That would be kinda weird.

Though there was a bit of a snafu w/my TV.  You see, it keeps a separate volume control for video settings and TV settings.  Nothing Underneath had a very low sound mix, so I had to turn the volume way up to hear anything.  When I popped the disc for Too Beautiful To Die in my player, all of a sudden, everything started blaring.  If I hadn't just peed, I would have done it right then and there.  Doesn't help matters that my window was open and the score for this one sounds like it was lifted from an 80's Skinemax flick...

...not that I would know what that sounds like...I'm only going by what I've been my pervy comedian friends...

Anyhow, onto the film itself.  The models later go to a pseudo party which is really one of those casting couch deals.  When hot new thing Sylvia figures this out it's too late.  The other girls hold her down in a hot tub while a sleazy guy rapes her (in slow motion).  After the guy has his way, Sylvia breaks free, steals a car from an agent, and gets the fuck out of dodge.

The next day, Sylvia is missing for a music video shoot.  Not just any music video.  This is a pure late 80's rock video.  With masked girls wearing football equipment couture and tight unitards.

During the shoot, the agent is informed that his car was found all burnt to a crisp with a charred body inside.

The director ends up going to the club and finds Sylvia's replacement in Melanie, a total hottie who knows what she's doing on the dance floor.  Meanwhile, everyone else involved with the party ends up getting killed.

If Hollywood realizes they're out of domestic films to rehash, they could actually benefit from remaking this film.  The entire time I watched this film, I thought about how the story could very easily transfer to the rap music world, which is always rumored to be filled with "video girls" who'll do anything for money and fame.  Karinne Steffans, anyone?  Maybe I'm a bit late in my idea, but I'd definitely watch it.  The rap/hip hop oriented horror market has a lot of potential, and I'm surprised not many people are trying to get in on it.

Too Beautiful To Die is a relic of the late 80's.  I won't go into my big hair, big whatever remarks again.  While this one does seem more violent than Nothing Underneath, which it is supposed to follow, the nudity not so much.  If it were a real sequel, you know full well they'd pack more nudity into that as well.

BTW, Director Dario Piana didn't make another film until 2007, when he made the After Dark Horrorfest entry The Deaths Of Ian Stone.

Until next other words, a couple hours from now, when I finish part 2 of my double feature.


Thursday, May 27, 2010


I performed tonight.  And didn't totally suck.  Then when the show was over, I got invited out to grab a beer w/the guys.  So I went...and had a non-alcoholic beer.  Just got home.  It's 2:50 AM.

If I were to watch a giallo now I'd be up till 5 at least.

So I'm going to make it up and watch two tomorrow.


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Italia's Next Chopped Model Week! Day 11: Nothing Underneath

Ah, the 80's and their silly Dynasty fashions.  I won't go over it again.

This one revolves around Bob, a forest ranger in Wyoming.  About the most All American job there is.  His sister Jessica is an up-and-coming model in Milan who has just graced her first cover.

Strange thing is, Bob and Jessica share a psychic link.  Whenever one's in trouble, the other senses it.  So when Bob has visions of Jessica being killed with a pair of scissors, he hops a flight to Italy to find her.

When he gets to Jessica's hotel, she's nowhere to be found, and her room is made up.  So Bob finds the local Inspector (Donald Pleasence!).  The Inspector doubts his story, but then another model is murdered with a pair of scissors.  Then another.

So who is the killer?  Is it someone who has a beef with fashion models?  Is it some renegade slasher? Does it have anything to do with a game of Russian Roulette that went horribly wrong ages ago?

This is a fun little thriller.  It goes by quickly, even upon second viewing.  Donald Pleasence is always a treat, too.  It came out during a dead period between two giallo booms, so it does have more slasher-esque moments than giallo type, as well as ample amounts of (nice) nudity.

I say check it out.  Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm gonna call it a night.


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Italia's Next Chopped Model Week! Day 10: Interrabang

Love the title.  It comes from a punctuation that never really took off.  It's a combination of a question mark and an exclamation mark.

The film revolves around Fabrizio and three women: his wife Anna and two models, Valeria and Marguerite.  They take a boat to an island in order to take a fashion shoot.  And what a photo shoot it is...bikinis, swirly psychedelic fabrics, and one nude shoot.  Mmm...

Anyhow, when they try to leave, they realize they're out of fuel.  So sleazebag Fabrizio leaves the ladies to their own devices and hops a ride on another boat to get fuel.  Never mind that there are radio reports of a convict running around the islands...AMFYOYO.

By the way, AMFYOYO stands for Adios, Mother Fucker, You're On Your Own.

But the women end up not being alone.  There's a handsome drifter named Marco hanging around the island.  And seducing the women quite quickly--seriously, this movie takes place over the course of a couple hours.  I wanna hang with him and pick up some of his swagger.

There's also a dead body laying around.  Two of the three ladies find it, but it disappears before Anna can catch a glimpse.

Beautiful locations, beautiful women, and beautiful photography are the highlights of this twisty thriller.  The entire movie takes place on an island or on a boat, with crystal blue waters and clear skies.  The camera also gazes longingly on the females as they lay in the sun or go through multiple costume changes.  A good portion of the film is pure eye candy.

As for the mystery itself, it's kinda hard for me to gauge.  I think the giallo fast I took before this month made me a bit more gullible.  I kinda fell for the twists at the end.  Not necessarily jaw-on-the-floor, but I was surprised.

All in all, Interrabang was a pleasant way to kill 90 minutes.  Pretty ladies on a beach in 60's fashions...what's not to love?


Monday, May 24, 2010

Italia's Next Chopped Model Week! Day 9: Giallo

Giallo is a mess.  It lacks any semblance of Dario Argento's style.  The killer is one of the lamest in giallo history.  It looks like a TV movie.  The score is horrible.

And, yet, I strangely like it.

Tonight marks the second time that I've seen the film.  It is also the first film of the month that I've seen beforehand.  There will be more, though.

Anyhow, onto the plot.  Linda (Emmanuelle Seigner) is a stewardess who comes to Rome to visit her sister Celine (Elsa Pataky), a model(!).  After taking a turn on the catwalk in a fashion show (by designer Farhad Re, who makes a cameo), Celine takes a taxi to meet Linda.  But unfortunately, Celine took the wrong that goes nonstop to DOOM!  Cue ominous music.

Linda ends up meeting Inspector Enzo Avolfi (Adrien Brody), who at first turns her away.  After some clever stalking, Linda convinces Enzo to take the case.

The plot itself almost reads like a sequel to Dario's Il Cartaio.  Yes, I know it's called The Card Player in English speaking countries, but I've always called it Il Cartaio.  Anyhow, the elements are mostly the same:Torture porn committed against beautiful women, a race against time to save someone, an Inspector/Detective who plays by his own rules.  Giallo is bloodier, however, with more violence actually shown, as opposed to the after-the-fact cadavers of Il Cartaio.

The film's biggest downfall, however, is the killer...also played by Adrien Brody.  Under the pseudonym Byron Diedra.  The killer is a jaundiced version of Sloth from The Goonies with a bad accent.  Seriously, I now have to see The Pianist to prove to myself that Adrien Brody has an Oscar.  This is quite bad.

That said, I will say check out the ending.  It's quite reminiscent of Cat O'Nine Tails.

You can tell the producers meddled with this one.  First clue is the fact that Alan Jones was never allowed on set, even though he has chronicled every film of Dario's since the 80's.  Second clue lies in the choppy storyline.  Scenes seem to be missing.  Also, Dario claims the producers stepped in and made their own movie, disowning Giallo and saying it isn't his film.

If I were to compare it to Dario's past work, which I hate doing, I'd put it on par with his TV movie Do You Like Hitchcock or his work with the Masters of Horror TV show.  Not brilliant by any means, and all over the place.  The film still has its charms, though.  One could honestly do worse...but I won't go there. Last time I did that, I started an argument on the Dark Dreams message board.


Sunday, May 23, 2010

Italia's Next Chopped Model Week! Day 8: Fashion Crimes

Welcome, ladies and gents, to my "sweeps week" of the Italian Lemonade monthlong giallothon.

Much of the genre revolves around fashion and fashion models...and the death of said fashion models.  So much so that I have decided to devote an entire week of this thirty days to gialli with a fashion/model theme.

Interesting thing is, my collection isn't THAT extensive (maybe 50 or so), but I still found that I own more than enough gialli with this theme to give it its own week.

So I hereby deem this Italia's Next Chopped Model week.  Tyra, forgive me.

My first selection is Fashion Crimes, another 80's relic.  More big hair and pseudo new-wave music.  The opening ditty almost comes across as a spoof of 80's music, but I think it's a real song.

Fashion Crimes centers around Gloria, a fashion model (what else?).  On her way home from a photo shoot, her car stalls outside a villa...which for some reason looks like one I saw in Tenebrae.  We see her walk in, scream, and get the fuck outta dodge.  She almost gets hit by a truck, faints, and wakes up in a daze.

Okay.  The last sentence of that paragraph...put it on repeat a few times.  But replace "almost gets hit by a truck" with "discovers a body" for the rest of the film.

Anyhow, she tells police she witnessed a murder in the villa, but when they go there, not only does her car start, the villa is empty and full of cobwebs.  And the door she claims to have walked through at the end of the hall doesn't exist.  So everyone thinks she's crazy.  But anyone who's ever seen a giallo knows she isn't crazy...

The similar villa isn't the only thing that has a Tenebrae link.  Anthony Franciosa, star of that film, plays an inspector assigned to the case.  Boy, the seven years in between both films must've been hard for him.  He's almost unrecognizable.  It wasn't until a little while in when I noticed certain inflections of his voice that I realized it was him.  There were rumors he was a raging alcoholic, often showing up drunk on the set of Tenebrae, so that could explain it.

As for the fashion of Fashion Crimes...hmm...while not always the horrendous style we remember, there are a few doozies.  Mainly the collection that Gloria models for...same designer, same season, yet incredibly inconsistent collection.  There's no cohesion.

Dude, I think I just channelled Tim Gunn.  My seven-season love of Project Runway is taking over...

Anyhow, the story itself is merely average.  A series of flashbacks, after-the-fact dead bodies, no nudity, and an ending that I really should've seen coming...especially after seeing Your Vice is a Locked Door and Only I Have the Key and Dario Argento's Black Cat portion of Two Evil Eyes.

I think I jinxed myself after that little "I'm really picking them" remark I made on day 3 or 4.  Let's rectify that tomorrow.


Saturday, May 22, 2010

Day 7: Snapshot of a Crime

Spent all day at a friend's house, watching things I should never witness.  But that's another story for another day.

Anyhow, by the time I got home, it was 10:30.  So I decided to go through my gialli and find one with a short running time.  After all, I gotta get up at 9 for work.

So I chose Snapshot of a Crime.

I'll make this short and sweet.  Luca's a playboy who parades around in a banana hammock.  After being dumped by his ex, he takes two chicks out on his boat.  One of the chicks like rough sex games, and they end up filming themselves doing the dirty deed.  Then she disappears.  And it looks like he killed her.

This wasn't necessarily boring, but I just wasn't interested, either.  Boy, I've been choosing some bloodless movies, lately.  It's as if after NY Ripper I subconsciously decided to forgo all bloodshed.  Only real interesting aspect was that the soundtrack played throughout the ENTIRE MOVIE.  There isn't a silent moment.  Much like Dario Argento's Il Cartaio.  But he used it to better effect, IMHO.

I'm disappointed, since Mario Caiano's other giallo, Eye in the Labyrinth, was very engaging.  Ah, well. I got a trick up my sleeve that'll pick things up.


Friday, May 21, 2010

Day Six: Sweets From a Stranger

Alas, we have hit the 20% mark.  Feel any different?

Tonight's selection comes from the end of the late 80's giallo boom.  You know what that means: Big hair, fishnet stockings, overdone makeup.  Or, as I like to call it, the manager's meeting at my old job.

Much like Libido, Sweets From a Stranger is the only film directed by a man who has otherwise contributed many times to the genre we all know and love.  Franco Ferrini's work in gialli includes cowriting duties with Dario Argento in many films (Phenomena, Stendhal Syndrome, Il Cartaio amongst others), as well as work on Red Rings of Fear, part of the Schoolgirls in Peril trilogy.

Sweets revolves around a group of prostitutes.  A maniac is bicycling through town killing ladies of the night.  Of course, the police isn't really doing anything about it.  So they decide to join forces to find and stop the killer.

After two murders, the giallo aspect gets pushed aside in favor of a "slice-of-life" approach.  We follow the prostitutes during their every day lives, as they raise families, try to make ends meet, and get thrown out of night time church services (in a sequence complete with a little girl calling one girl an "evil woman" and a "tramp").  Like a precursor to the scene in Pretty Woman where they wouldn't let her shop.  Or the last time I walked into Abercrombie and Fitch.

We mostly follow one woman, the slightly Jamie-Lee-Curtis looking Lena, in her day-to-day life.  After starting to work in a new area, her rival prostitutes taunt her and tell her she has to earn her keep on their turf.  This mainly involves watching one hooker's young daughter after school.

One night, Lena is trying to get away from a john and his wife when he stumbles across one of the rival prostitutes slashed up in her car.  She dies on the way to the hospital, but not before whispering a clue into the john's ear.

The giallo elements are passable, and sometimes slightly suspenseful.  It's too bad that they really only show up at the beginning and the end.  The rest of the film plays like a Lifetime movie.  Not a good one with Valerie Bertinelli, either.  More like one of the Judith Light ones they throw on right before a Golden Girls marathon.  This film isn't even that "hard hitting."  If ever there was a scenario that needed some harsh and cruel NY Ripper-easque subject matter, it is this.  It's pretty much, "I sell myself, I drink, I raise my family."  There's more peril in an episode of Cops.

Too bad, because there was a lot of potential in this film.

Now I wanna watch Golden Girls.


Thursday, May 20, 2010

Day Five: Two Cats O'Nine Tails...and a Half, in Amsterdam

Figured since I was going to be doing some comedy tonight, I should check out a giallo spoof.

What was I thinking?

I guess the leads in this film, Franco and Ciccio, were really famous in the 60's.  So, of course, when the giallo craze had its first wave, they hopped on the bandwagon and did a sendup.

I'm going to assume a lot of this was lost in translation, because I didn't get a lot of it.  It was just a lot of slapstick (not very good slapstick, though) and Franco mugging for the camera.

The plot revolves around Franco and Ciccio accidentally witnessing a murder and getting sent to Amsterdam to find out who was behind it.  That's really it.  Hippies, mannequins, and some other kinds of hijinks ensue.

I'm not going to outright trash this film.  After all, comedy is subjective.  Case in point: my stuff.  Some people think I'm hilarious, others tell me that my self-deprecating humor makes them want to slit their wrists.

So I'll just leave it at this.  And make it up to myself tomorrow.


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Day Four: The House With the Yellow Carpet

We've made it to day four, and I still haven't gone insane yet.  I am, however, about to ask my comedian friend where he gets his fedoras.  I've always wanted one, but I think it would look like the cranial version of Fat Guy in the Little Coat.

The House With The Yellow Carpet is actually a TV movie from the 80's.  But that doesn't mean we're gonna miss out on blood and nudity.

Well, I missed out on some of the nudity.  I guess my copy was sourced from a Japanese print.  The Japanese don't like pubelage.  So one scene had some blurring over some lady parts.

Anyhow, onto the plot.  A married couple place an ad in the newspaper selling the titular yellow carpet.  The main reason behind this is because it was a wedding gift from the wife's stepfather.  You see, wifey has hot and heavy sex dreams every night where she calls out her stepfather's name and it's pissing the hubby off.  You gotta admit, you'd be kinda pissed too.

A man calls about the rug and is on his way to check it out.  Before he arrives, the husband is called away because their car is getting towed.  The man then arrives, and things go from strange to downright f-ed up.

There is only one setting (an apartment, not a house.  Whatever), giving a somewhat claustrophobic feeling to the film.  The main action takes place in three rooms-the living room, the bedroom, and the bathroom.  Only small cutaway scenes take place outside.

The film is based on a stage play, and it really shows.  The main weakness in the film lies in the dialogue.  It's stilted like many stage-to-movie transitions.  What works in one medium doesn't necessarily work in another.  The dubbing doesn't help either, making the actors sound like high schoolers in the year-end play...albeit legal high schoolers who can show their boobies.

Every plot synopsis only refers to the first third of the film, and I plan on keeping it the same way.  However, I will say that a Persian legend says that yellow carpet only exists to highlight the color of blood...mwahaha...

Not bad, but not necessarily something I'd rush to seek out again.


New laptop

My new laptop arrived today, my present for graduating.

I got a Macbook Pro 15".  My first Mac.

Super happy.

Also ordered Final Cut Studio, since this fall marks my first semester of film school.  Who knows?  This could be the comp I edit my first giallo on...and I do plan on making a giallo before I die.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Day Three: Eyes Behind the Wall

Available at and

Boy, I've been doing well with my picks so far.  Waiting for the dud that tests my ability to go the whole month through.

Eyes Behind the Wall revolves around Ivano and Olga, a couple living in a large mansion.  Ivano is a writer, confined to a wheelchair, who gets his kicks (and inspiration) by spying on Arturo, the tenant who rents another house of his.  He coerces Olga to start peeping with him.

Soon, Olga starts following him, leading to both Olga and Ivano witnessing a gay tryst between Arturo and another man.  This disgusts Olga, but Ivano wants more.  Soon Olga is forced to meet Arturo face-to-face in order to know more about him...

I expected something sleazy and cheap, but I didn't expect something so engrossing.  I knew a lot about the film going in, but still ended up surprised by the twists and turns that the plot took by the end.  Granted, a lot of it was hard to swallow.  But do we really watch gialli for the logic?

At 77 minutes, Eyes Behind the Wall is quite rushed at times.  I wonder if a longer version exists.  The Arturo/Olga interaction is quite choppy, as if some distributors thought it was too talky and took it upon themselves to whip out the scissors and get down to the action of the piece.

Anyhow, the month-long giallothon is 10% done.  If these past three nights is any indicator of how the rest of the month is gonna turn out, consider me very happy.

BTW, my link isn't giallo-related.  But I just got this CD and I'm really digging it.  Check it out.


Monday, May 17, 2010

Day Two: The New York Ripper

I've always had a hard time when it comes to Lucio Fulci.  Part of it may be first impressions.  I knew of him when I learned about Dario Argento (or as I like to call him, the gateway director).  But it wasn't until I was 17 when I got a chance to see his work.

This was courtesy of another Mom & Pop video store, this time in Crestwood, KY (this one also had the Moroder version of Metropolis--I should've never let that one get away after I rented it).  I'd seen video boxes of Seven Doors Of Death and Zombie in the past, but never picked them up.  Eventually I managed to find a motherload of Fulci at this place and decided to give him a shot.

But enough nostalgia.  Lemme cut to the chase.  I rented Manhattan Baby.  Watched it, said "What the fuck?" and returned it.  I didn't see the appeal.

Anyhow, after multiple attempts, I finally realized what frustrated me about Fulci.

When it comes to the more plot-driven stuff, he's not bad.  At times, he's even very good.  But the moment he gets to the gore gags he's so well known for, everything comes to a dead halt and you're pulled out of the movie.  The gore is so fake at times it's laughable, sucking whatever tension he's built out of the celluloid.

I had quite a few trepidations when I added the Blu Ray of New York Ripper to my Blockbuster queue.  After all, it's one of his more notorious efforts.  The film was outright banned in Britain, all the prints supposedly escorted out of the country.

I consider New York Ripper to be one of those "initiation" movies.  Like Last House on the Left, I Spit on Your Grave, or Cannibal Holocaust.  It's a threshold you hear about constantly in horror circles.  The more of these thresholds you cross, the more serious you're supposed to be about horror or something.  Whatever.

I wasn't so worried about the fake gore pulling me out of the film.  I've survived it in the past and knew I could survive 90 minutes of Fulci-grue again.  The thing that bothered me was that I heard the violence was rooted heavily in misogyny.

I had a hard enough time with What Have You Done to Solange.  Took me three tries to get through that one because of the killer's MO.  I'm not a big fan of violence towards lady parts.  I somehow made it through Solange, but I ended up selling it to FYE for store credit not too long afterwards.

This one was supposed to be worse.  Hence saving my last shot of Jack.  I thought I'd need it to make it through.

I must've done a better job mentally preparing for it, because I managed to get through New York Ripper in one try.

And the strange thing's actually a well constructed film.  Albeit a perfect example of my like/dislike relationship with Fulci.  The cinematography is great, and the actors likeable (even though they are all dubbed).  The story line is engaging as well (even though you do need to forgive the Donald Duck thing).

But the murder scenes, again, took me out of the picture.  First off, the violence toward lady parts immediately threw me off.  With the exception of Daniela Doria's death, not much is shown in as horrifying detail as all the stories tell you.  Some of it is alluded to.  But knowing what exactly the killer's doing, even without seeing it, makes me squirm.  And not in the good horror movie way.

And, of course, the fake gore.  Flash of a knife, whoosh, sight of two pieces of latex separating, blood spray, repeat.

It's a shame, because the buildup to some of these scenes is quite good.  The subway/movie theater sequence with Antonella Interlenghi has some suspense.  Another standout is the scene where Jane is tied to a bed, trying to escape as the man she believes is the New York Ripper sleeps next to her.

The subject matter makes the film hard to truly recommend.  After all, it's about women getting stabbed in their private areas in various ways.  So instead I'll say this: If reading about the film sticks in your head, it's gonna stay there until you break down and watch it.  I tried to avoid it for ten years and finally folded.  So fight it or see it.  Your call.


Sunday, May 16, 2010

Trenta Giorni di Giallo-Day One: Libido

Available at

So the ice is broken, and I have just finished my first of a thirty day journey into all things giallo.

Again, the readers got to choose this night's movie.  So lemme return the favor and talk about it.

Ernesto Gastaldi is a name that many giallo enthusiasts certainly know of, but he doesn't get mentioned that often.  I believe this is mainly because his input came mostly from off the set.  Gastaldi has written many gialli, collaborating with Lucio Fulci and Sergio Martino.  Some of his more well-known scripts in the giallo-world include The Case of the Bloody Iris and All The Colors of the Dark.  He also worked on the script for Sergio Leone's final film, Once Upon a Time in America.

But the entire genre probably wouldn't be here without Gastaldi.  So many gialli have his hand in it that it's positively headspinning.  I don't know how he slept during the 70's.

Yet, remarkably, Libido is the only giallo he directed.

Lemme get to the plot:

Christian returns to his childhood home, twenty years after witnessing his father murder his mistress.  In three months, Christian will turn 25 and inherit his father's estate.  However, he has to be mentally stable enough to receive it.  Visiting the house is the final test to prove his sanity.

Along for the ride are his wife, Eileen; Paul, who has been watching over the estate and acted as a surrogate father to Christian; and Brigitte, Paul's bubbleheaded sexpot wife.

I won't get into too many details here.  Instead I'll just say it doesn't go along like Christian planned.  Or anyone else for that matter.

Anyhow, things start off low-key, but things never get boring.  Instead Libido has a slow-burn intensity to it.  Then before you know it, there's double-crosses, triple-crosses, and all sorts of twists and turns.  This setup lets us know the characters more, and care for Christian as his mental health crumbles all around him.

Overall this is a giallo that should be sought out by any aficionado.  But as I mentioned before, this isn't a body-count extravaganza like many gialli from this 70's and beyond.  This one requires a bit of investment, but it'll reward you in the end.

Okay.  I'm off to bed.  I only had two of my three Jack Daniel's mini-bottles.  I have a feeling I'm gonna need the last one for tomorrow's selection.


Saturday, May 15, 2010

The People Have Spoken!

So tomorrow is G-Day.  After all this planning, it's about to begin.

I'm happy that things are gonna start, but at the same time, I'm gonna be kinda sad.  My Dad leaves for Iowa in the morning.  The time he's here always goes by so fast.  I feel like he was hardly here.  ::sad emoticon of some type::

Anyhow, back to tomorrow evening.

I've been tracking the poll since the very start, eager to see what everybody has been voting for.  Some people who voted told me they were completely unaware of any of these movies.  So they went just by title.  Always interesting.  For a while, it was tied between two movies.  Then tied three-ways.  But in the eleventh hour, a winner emerged.

And my first giallo of the month will be...


In an outstanding come-from-behind underdog victory, Libido won the distinguishment of being the party starter.

When the poll was first posted, the other three candidates instantly got votes.  Libido didn't get any votes for a while.  One day I check out the results and it's suddenly tied for first.  It wasn't until earlier today when Zach placed the vote that broke the tie and declared the winner.

As tempted as I was, I didn't cast a vote.  I wanted to leave it completely up to you.  I only would have voted in case of a tie.

So here's the plan for tomorrow.

Drop Dad off at the airport.

Go back to BED.

Clean things up a bit around my squalid bedroom before Mommie Dearest chases me with a wire hanger.

Watch Survivor.  Yes, I do still watch it.  Maybe I'll crack open one of my Jack Daniel's mini-bottles during the final tribal council.

Once the Reunion is over, pop in Libido.  And finish the Jack.

Considering things oughta be over at, like, 1:00 AM or so, I doubt I'll be awake or sober enough to form coherent thoughts on a keyboard.  For someone who's half Scotch-Irish, I'm a lightweight when it comes to alcohol.  So instead I may post the experience first thing in the morning.  Either way, those of you nice people who are following this blog will hear about it the moment it happens.

Then I'll dive into Day 2, which I do already have planned.

So thank you for participating in the poll, and for checking out Italian Lemonade thus far.

Okay.  Going to bed.  Good night.


Friday, May 14, 2010

Getting Ready

Anyone else as excited as I am?

Getting my stuff together for G-Day.

Just got back from the liquor store.  I wanted to get J&B, but they only had the big bottle.  And I don't really drink, so it would just go to waste.  Darn it.  If any alcoholics in the Tidewater/Hampton Roads area know where to score some shot-size bottles of J&B in the area, lemme know.  I might end the month with it.

I got three shots worth of Jack Daniels instead.  If I can't go with J&B, might as well go with something I know I like.

I plan on starting G-Day late that night.  So you might not see the first official write-up until Monday morning/afternoon/whenever I get through the inevitable hangover.

Tomorrow afternoon the poll is going to close and I will announce the first movie!  If you wanna have some say, you gotta vote soon.  Again, the choices are:

Death Occurred Last Night


Snapshot Of A Crime

You'll Die At Midnight


Sunday, May 9, 2010

Change of plans...

I realized that I'm gonna be at Cozzy's on May 20th.  Check 'em out:  If you're nearby, go see a show and tell them I sent ya.

Normally this wouldn't be such a big deal.  But if I were to perform, hang out with my comedy buddies afterwards, and then watch a giallo once I got home, I wouldn't be done till, like, 4 AM.  I'm still somewhat young (26), but I don't like going long without sleep.

I also plan on perhaps imbibing a teensy bit of alcohol the night of the big launch.  Not a horrible drunken amount, just maybe one or two shots' worth.  But I have a self-imposed rule that if I have any alcohol whatsoever, then I don't drive.  I dunno if it's leftover paranoia from Georgia's Zero Tolerance law, or the fact that I don't want to die driving, but I don't drive after having any alcohol.  Instead I support my $10-a-day Coke habit.

If I had alcohol when I got home from Cozzy's and watched a giallo, I'd sleep until 8 PM the next evening.

So after some deliberation, I decided to change the start date.

But don't worry.  It's not being postponed.  Instead, it's gonna happen earlier.

The new G-Day is gonna be Sunday, May 16th.

But don't worry.  Everything else is gonna be the same.  The poll will still decide my first movie.  It'll just close on the 15th rather than the 18th.  So keep voting!

New Countdown: 7 days to G-Day!

Spread the word.  Tell your friends.  And get ready for the all time greatest marathon...well, in my head, at least.


Saturday, May 8, 2010

A Wish List...If You Will

For every giallo I own, I know full well there are, like, five out there just begging to unfold before my eyes.

Alas, there are many that I'm certain will slip through my fingers.  I don't have the time, money or whatever resources to track down every giallo ever made.  And, realistically, there are some that aren't worth it.  There's duds in every genre.

That said, there are a few movies I keep an eye out whenever I have the free time.  But there's always some sort of factor that keeps me from catching it.

This is a list of a few movies I've been trying to catch, to no avail.

Orchids Of Madness-A German giallo.  That's the only reason I want it.  It's a German giallo.  From the eighties.  I'm half German, and I'm a product of the eighties.  The Japanese VHS is available through  However, there are three things keeping me from getting it.  First of all, it's in German with no English whatsoever.  My German is limited to my last name and Bratwurst.  I've never watched a foreign-language film without any subtitles (at a later date, I'll post about subs).  Second, I don't own a VCR.  I would like to pick one up for cheap one of these days (and see if my Dad still has my VHS of Bloodstained Butterfly lying around), but until then, it would be kinda useless to buy a VHS tape with no VCR to play it on.  Third, it's, like, $55.  Um...I'm a student.  That's a lot of money.  If my standup career ever starts to take off, I might eventually be able to swing it.  But until then, I'll use my money know, food and gas.

Amore e Morte Nel Giardino Degli Dei (Love and Death in the Garden of the Gods)-This is just one salacious sounding giallo.  Brother-sister incest, Erika Blanc nudity, heck even the title is decadent.  This one is actually somewhat easy to find for around $10.  But it's in Italian only without subs.  My Italian is better than my German, mainly because searching for gialli requires knowing the original title.  But it's still not enough to watch a movie for two hours.  Especially since this one supposedly has craploads of twists and turns.  Hopefully some other giallo completists besides me will start getting interested in this one.  There are fansubbers out there who've made it possible for people like me to see otherwise lost gialli.  Like The Police Grope in the Dark and A.A.A. Massaggiatrice Bella Presenza Offresi...

Phantom of Death-This one is relatively easy to find.  I just haven't gotten around to it.  I should grab it soon.  If I get complacent I might not be able to find it anymore.  And this one has both Edwige Fenech and Donald Pleasence.  That automatically makes it a must.  If anyone's seen this, do they share any scenes?

Death Steps in the Dark-Again, somewhat easy to find.  Just haven't gotten around to it.

House of Good Returns-80's giallo.  Adrian Luther Smith's description is intriguing.  I don't recall seeing this anywhere, even in non-subbed form.

That's all I can think of for now.  I'll let you all go.  12 days to G-day.


Friday, May 7, 2010

Finals are Done!

Time to relax w/some Edwige Fenech pics.


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Quick thing that's been bugging me...

My one-stop-shop for all things gialli closed down a couple months ago.  ZDD Visual Media was awesome.  They even introduced me to some movies that aren't in my go-to book of gialli, Blood and Black Lace by Adrian Luther Smith.  If it wasn't for the fact that my tax return went to those special things in life called responsibilities, I would've cleared out their entire giallo selection.

So now whenever I get a few extra bucks, I check out other sites to fill my void.  I came across one recently that actually had a subtitled copy of a movie I'd wanted to see for a long time.  I won't name the film, since it is going to be part of the marathon.

I didn't mind paying for the movie, since it cost about as much as a trip to the movies.  After all, I'd always wanted to see it.

I know not every site is going to offer the same thing ZDD offered, with the case, cool cover art by Corlen Kruger, and printed label on the disc itself.  That costs $$$.  I'm a student.  I understand.

But when I received the disc in the mail, I was a bit bugged.

No case (I can buy one at work, no biggie).  No cover art (I can always concoct something myself when I'm bored).  But the label on the disc itself was completely blank.  Nothing on it whatsoever.

I understand the whole being cost effective thing.  But could you at least write the title in Sharpie or something?  If I'd ordered five movies, how would I have known which one was which?

Now if you'll excuse me, I gotta get a Sharpie.  And go onto IMDB to figure out how to spell the title correctly.


Sunday, May 2, 2010

Mark Your Calendars! I Have the Official Start Date!

Yes, ladies and gentlemen.  I have decided on the official start date for my month-long journey into all things giallo.

On May 20th the voyage will begin.

Now here's where you all come in.

I'm having a hard time with choosing the first movie.  So I posted a poll.  Whatever movie gets the most votes will be the inaugural flick.

The four movies in contention are:

Death Occured Last Night


Snapshot of a Crime

You'll Die at Midnight

So get voting.  The poll will close Tuesday, May 18 at 12:00 PM Eastern time.