Dark and obscure music blog/zine since 2006 [ Post-Industrial / Ambient / IDM ]
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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Know Giallo (& Italian Horror)

Giallo (pronounced IPA: [' §allo], plural gialli) is an Italian 20th century genre of literature and film, which in Italian indicates crime fiction and mystery. In the English language, however, it is used in a broader meaning that is closer to the French fantastique genre, including elements of horror fiction and eroticism. The word giallo is Italian for "yellow" and stems from the origin of the genre as a series of cheap paperback novels with trademark yellow covers.

Giallo is a fantastic genre. If you are unfamiliar with it, that needs to change. Specific characters and plot progressions, such as the serial killer and the gloved, knife-welding hand, give this its own distinctive classification. Yet it shares a lot in common with other aspects of Italian horror; most notably perhaps being great soundtracks as well as liberal preference for abundant gore. Leading directors of this genre, of whom Mario Bava, Dario Argento, and Lucio Fulci are perhaps the most well known, have before and since making gaillo films worked in the zombie, gothic horror, and even western genres.

All that influence comes together for a series of films that should be of great interest to anyone interested in the darker side of music. Indeed, many stalwarts of industrial were greatly influenced by these directors, with Skinny Puppy sampling The House by the Cemetary and Velvet Acid Christ taking words from Inferno for some of their best-known songs. The soundtracks of these films themselves tend to be more genuinely frightening and erie than most of what the more well known EBM/industrial labels have been putting out lately, and even decades past their origional releases they are quite refreshing nowadays to listen to. To give two classic examples, the music Goblin did for Susperia, or the European release of Dawn of the Dead, is incredible, and takes you back to a time when guys "whispering hard" through reverb over eerie synths was actually an origional concept!

Whether you are already an established fan of this stuff, or this is the first you've ever heard of it, you may likely benefit from checking out the recently released Giallo Symphonic Film Score on the MS, as well as the wikipedia list of notable Giallo films. Check out your local library or internet auctions for some of those titles. I guarantee you'll have a more affordable and entertaining time than you're liable to get from most new releases being shown at the big multiplexes these days.


Giallo Symphonic Film Score

Giallo on Wikipedia

Giallo Fever Blog

-by Christian Wright

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