Trafficking in illicit gialli
Massimo Dallamano’s What Have You Done to Solange? is one of my favourite gialli - in fact, it’s probably my all-time favourite non-Argento entry in the genre. His loose follow-up, What Have They Done to Your Daughters?, is also enjoyable, although not on the same level (and it’s more of a cop thriller than a dyed-in-the-wool giallo anyway). Dallamano died in 1976 while he was still prepping the third instalment in this so-called “Schoolgirls in Peril” trilogy, and, although it finally did see the light of day, under the title of Enigma Rosso (or [Red] Rings of Fear for English speakers), this Alberto Negrin-helmed conclusion is generally considered to be a pale shadow of its predecessors. I’ve never seen it, but have wanted to for some time, and not long ago, to my considerable surprise, Spanish DVD distributor Filmax put out a fully letterboxed (2.35:1) release, which I immediately snapped up. The image quality isn’t really up to snuff (it’s non-anamorphic, soft, and exhibits the tell-tale signs of a bad attempt to noise reduce the artefacts of an analogue master), but it’s streets ahead of, say, New Entertainment World’s The Iguana with the Tongue of Fire. The problem? The only included audio track is a Spanish dub.
That’s actually not as much of a problem as you might think, the reason being that I’ve managed to get my hands on an English-language version sourced from an old 80s VHS tape. The sound quality, unsurprisingly, is pretty ropey, but they both seem to feature the same cut of the film (it was a co-production between Italy, Spain and West Germany, with several different edits prepared for the various markets), so splicing my own version together shouldn’t require too much work.
From various sources, I’ve also managed to get my hands on a variety of other gialli that I haven’t seen yet. Many of these were never released on DVD, and as a result the copies I have look pretty shocking, but it’ll be nice to actually sit down and watch some completely new (to me) gialli:
Naked You Die (Antonio Margheriti, 1968)
The Sweet Body of Deborah (Romolo Guerrieri, 1968)
The Frightened Woman (Piero Schivazappa, 1969)
In the Folds of the Flesh (Sergio Bergonzelli, 1970)
Hatchet for the Honeymoon (Mario Bava, 1970)
Cross Current (Tonino Ricci, 1971)
My Dear Killer (Tonino Valerii, 1972)
Eye in the Labyrinth (Mario Caiano, 1972)
Naked Girl Killed in Park (Alfonso Brescia, 1972)
French Sex Murders (Ferdinando Merighi, 1972)
The Killer Must Kill Again (Luigi Cozzi, 1975)
Eyeball (Umberto Lenzi, 1975)
Giallo a Venezia (Mario Landi, 1979)
A Blade in the Dark (Lamberto Bava, 1983)
Midnight Ripper (Lamberto Bava, 1986)
The Devil’s Honey (Lucio Fulci, 1986)
Seems like enough to be getting on with, at any rate, although I won’t be sitting down to watch them yet. My plan is to go through every giallo I own in as near to possible as chronological order - a rather daunting task, but one that I hope will get me thinking about appropriate topics for my PhD. I’ll be going by the original Italian theatrical release dates (as per IMDB), if available, but in certain cases I’ll only have the year of release to go by. I’ve done a brief recky and have made some interesting discoveries - did you know that The Black Belly of the Tarantula, The Case of the Scorpion’s Tail, The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave, Cross Current, The Iguana with the Tongue of Fire and The Fifth Cord were all released one after the other, with no more than four days between each? There truly does seem to have been a time when a new giallo was coming out every week. In any event, a conservative estimate tells me that I have more than 80 titles to get through. Wish me luck!