My grandfather died a few weeks ago, so last week I flew up to Toledo to attend the service. Spent quite a lot of time with my cousin, who follows Italian Lemonade (shout out to Zach!). At one point over beer, he asked me for some good gialli to introduce himself to the genre.
And I blanked.
You see, there's a difference between the top gialli and the ones that you should use to introduce one to the genre. As brilliant as films like Perfume of the Lady in Black and So Sweet So Dead are, going into them blindly without any previous giallo experience would throw you for a loop.
So now I've searched my library, as well as other sources, and think I've found a few that would make great starts to the genre.
Criteria: They must be good films, of course. They must also fit the most basic requirements of a giallo (namely black trenchcoats, beautiful women in peril, a central mystery). And they must be available on Netflix, because I'm not gonna send anyone on a wild goose chase to introduce themselves to a genre. I've left out a few, even though they are indeed classics, because I feel you need to see other films in the genre first to understand how they transcend what else was out at the time.
Feel free to add a few in the comments as well.
The Bird with the Crystal Plumage-Even though gialli existed before this film, this one really started the boom. This one established the formula and for the next four years gialli tried to replicate this film most of all.
Don't Torture a Duckling-Because Fulci needs to be seen, and I feel of his gialli, this is his most accessible (despite the hard-to-defend title). I've been trying to get my giallo-curious friends into it, and for a while it was even STREAMING on Netflix.
Black Belly of the Tarantula-A truly great giallo. Three Bond girls (I count Casino Royale, so bite me), an ingenious murder method, and a good mystery at the same time. Why isn't this on Blu Ray?
The Case of the Bloody Iris-This one does everything right, IMHO. It has Edwige Fenech, queen of the giallo. It also has that fantastic score by Bruno Nicolai. And the film itself is such a breeze that I find myself rewatching it at least once a year (and I'm not much of a repeat viewer).
Blood and Black Lace-Sure, this one is a bit slow moving, but it's one of the best uses of color in a horror film. That plus a salacious score (which later got re-used for A Dragonfly for Each Corpse).
Stagefright-80's giallo supreme! Pure fun. I hear Michele Soavi's back in the directors chair...can someone send him a copy of Orchid?
So, there's my list. I'm sure I'll come up with more later, but these are worthy intros. Put them on your Netflix queue. And thank me later.