Immediately after completing Les Vampires, Feuillade threw himself into his next feature, another original serial called Judex. The slow move toward domestic melodrama that crept into the end of Les Vampires was front and center in Judex.
Musidora wears this maillot de soie sporadically, a few minutes spread throughout the serial’s nearly seven hours, yet that is – not undeservedly – the indelible iconic image not just of Les Vampires, but of Louis Feuillade’s entire filmography.
Creating an emotional attachment to the characters and a sympathetic reaction to the violence against them isn’t a giallo priority. Who Saw Her Die? is the rare giallo that attempts and succeeds this, thanks to a committed performance by former James Bond, George Lazenby.
In the early days of serials and silent film, two actresses emerged who represented two sides of the publicity coin. Pearl White was the queen of the stunt serials, a wholesome midwestern heroine. Theda Bara, in contrast, was dark and mysterious and loved nothing more than destroying men.
Fantomas is less concerned with getting away with it than he is with sowing chaos. Sure, he wants their jewels, but mostly, Fantômas just wants to hurt people. As one of the ads for the movie trumpeted, “Il fait PEUR!”
When it comes to truly loathsome characters in a giallo, few can match Giuliano Carnimeo’s The Case of the Bloody Iris, a film in which pretty much everyone is hateful, stupid, or more often, hateful and stupid.
At first, Frankenstein plays it coy. After the creation scene, we see the monster only as a horrifying, dead-looking, clawed arm slowly reaching out from behind a heavy metal door.