Gumnaam isn’t shy about the sort of films that have influenced it. Adopting the sort of jet set internationality of the 1960s, it becomes an amalgamation of old dark house mysteries and pop-art modernism filtered through the lens of Arabesque, Mario Bava, and Charade.
Few giallo directors were as adept at melding the sundry fetishes that defined the movement as Luciano Ercoli. Nudity, violence, cabaret numbers, quirky camera work, exquisite living rooms, and flash clothing all hit their crescendo under the steady guidance of a man who seems to treat every film as a fashion shoot.
Deep End is a film about the awkwardness of transition and the disillusionment that inevitably follows a time of idealism. It was released in 1970, when the dying days of the Summer of Love were giving way to the cynicism of the 1970s; when people swept up in the promise of revolution finally had to face the reality of promises not kept.
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.
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.
The Bloodstained Butterfly is the odd giallo where the police seem dedicated to their job. Although it boasts the elaborate murders and cast of red herrings one expects from the genre, it also surprises by spending at least as much time on police procedure, forensic science, and courtroom maneuvering.
While it might have been cool to watch the invisible man square off against a traditional Japanese ghost or yokai, in the end it was obvious that the only fitting opponent for an invisible man is the invisible man’s natural enemy: a tiny flying hitman.
Alan is a handsome aristocrat who enjoys velvet jackets, cravats, and murdering strippers. He marries a woman in hopes she will curb his homicidal outbursts, and his creepy estate is soon haunted by the ghost of his former wife.
When news of the invisible man spreads across town, Yajima hatches a scheme to capitalize on the warning that another invisible man is out there. He dresses his gang up in the iconic Claude Raines style overcoat and face bandages and has them rob banks and race tracks while claiming to be invisible men themselves
Invisible Man Appears is, like some of the Universal sequels, more of a crime drama than it is a horror or science fiction film, though there are enough beakers and wild white Albert Einstein hair to give it a reasonable claim to scifi.
The Martini has been around since the mid-to-late 1800s. Its life has spanned the Industrial Revolution, two world wars, Prohibition, the Great Depression, the Summer of Love, disco, punk, and Hammer Pants. It has been in style, out of fashion, and subject to the peculiar and not always trustworthy whims of the American drinker.
Towering above all others in the realm of Bond cash-in albums, however, was British composer Roland Shaw, who released a series of James Bond cash-in records that featured arrangements of Bond themes and background music that were often just as good as the originals, and in some cases, perhaps even better.
There are few moments more perfect than walking into a bar late at night and hearing a Billie Holiday song. They’re practically made for ordering an Old Fashioned as you prop your elbows up on the bar and think about lost loves and life’s regrets.
All the Colors of the Dark works within the confines of the giallo, but it takes the genre further afield than had previously been explored, resulting in a dizzying psychedelic combination of straight-forward stalker/murder mystery, hallucinogenic psycho-sexual exploration, and straight up occult/devil worship horror.
Adaptations of books have a long history of being derided by theauthor, but few have as dramatic a claim to this dubious honor as this adaptation of Boris Vian’s J’irai cracher sur vos tombes. Vian stood up minutes into the premiere screening to shout his disapproval. He then, suddenly, dropped dead.
West 52nd Street between Broadway and 8th Ave. is one of those anonymous blocks that seems to offer little. But tucked in there is a piano bar and restaurant called Russian Samovar. It used to be called Jilly’s Saloon, where Frank Sinatra held court.