Tuesday, 17 May 2016

So Deadly, So Perverse: 50 Years of Italian Giallo Films, Volume 1, 1963 to 1973 (2015)

Author: Troy Howarth
Year: 2015
Publisher: Midnight Marquee Press Inc.
Format: Soft-cover (28cm x 22cm)
Pages: 233

What Troy Howarth has attempted with So Deadly, So Perverse is pretty amazing; a two volume history of the Gialli which includes all of the major releases in the genre as well as a large number of the lesser known examples. Given that the definition of a Giallo film twists and turns like the plot in one of the films, it's not surprising that you may find a favourite missing due to it not hitting Troy's definition of a Giallo.

Starting with a series of articles on the roots of the Giallo, including a piece but the legendary screenwriter Ernesto Gasdaldi, an article on the Italian pulp books that inspired the genre and an explanation of the term Giallo and what films in the book have been included, what has not been left out and why. The book then moves on to a year-by-year analysis of over one hundred films.

Each film's entry starts with some basic details including title (and alternative titles), cast and crew and home video availability (please note that, as in most reference guides, the DVD/Blu-ray release information is now out of date and many of the films now have higher quality releases available). This is followed by a spoiler-less synopsis of the plot, Troy's opinion of the film and then some brief background details of notable members of the cast and crew. Some films take only half a page whilst other, more important works are allowed several pages including full colour photos and poster reproductions.

A terrific encyclopaedia of Giallo with an impressive number of titles, many of which I've never heard of. Troy's opinion, whilst personal, is never overbearing and always tries to find the positive points in even the most derivative of films.

If there is a fault it is that there is no index that lists which page a particular film appears on (only the year it was made). Add to this is the fact that the year is only printed at the start of each chapter and not the top of each page and you have an amazing resource that hides the film, for which you are looking, deep within labyrinthine list of other suspects. Much like a Giallo then :)

Highly recommended and essential for fans of the Giallo.

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