Italian horror is most commonly associated with Giallo, a subgenre of flashy color palettes, overly intricate storylines, and shocking revelations.

While there are many films that fall within this adorable cinematic classification, Italian horror transcends this stylistic boundary. It also includes psychological horror, ghost stories, no-nonsense slashers, demon and undead stories, and a myriad of other kinds of nail-biting threads.

Italian cinema pioneers like Mario Bava, Dario Argento, and Lucio Fulci established many of the horror conventions we know and love, often breaking their own rules in the process. Significant story structures are regularly sacrificed for style, mood, heightened surrealism, and lurid cinematography that evokes a film’s special message.



The “Demons” soundtrack includes songs by Billy Idol, Motley Crue and Rick Springfield to help you get the tone of the movie across. It’s a delicious banquet of sex, drugs and rock ‘roll, complete with some meat-hungry fiends. With a script written with Dario Argento based on a story by Dardano Sacchetti, Lamberto Bava (Mario Bava’s son) uses film experience to direct a 1985 apocalyptic blast. From gruesome blood, including pus-filled wounds that burst like pimples , right down to visceral and colorful photography, easily ranks next to Lucio Fulci’s “The Afterlife,” which is also on that list.

Black sunday


Mario Bava is named director of three previous films, including 1958’s “The Day the Sky Exploded.” Due to numerous on-set fiascoes, Bava often broke down to take over and finish filming; see, for example, “I Vampiri” which was originally staged by Riccardo Freda. As such, it could be argued that “Black Sunday” is his full-fledged directorial debut; The artistic traces of his are present in his previous work, but this creepy 60s creepy is his.

The short night of the glass dolls


Aldo Lado’s first feature film changes Giallo’s expectations and completely changes his usual structure to tell a gripping story about human futility in the face of death. Having written countless screenplays in his impressive career, Lado never leaves an impression similar to “The Short Night of the Glass Dolls.” When a young journalist named Gregory Moore (Jean Sorel) investigates the death of his girlfriend, he finds himself trapped in a hidden web.



When the subject of Gialli’s milestone is discussed, many name “Suspiria” as a definite highlight. But here’s the thing: Dario Argento’s 1977 film is not a Giallo. It certainly draws on the graceful splendor of many of Argento’s other works, including “Tenebrae” and “The Crystal-Plumaged Bird,” but its otherworldly, witch-like exterior negates any possibility of it fitting into the Gialli box. . “Suspiria” is one of Argento’s weirdest and wildest explorations of human curiosity and femininity, as it follows the witty Suzy Bannion (Jessica Harper) as she arrives at a German dance academy.

A bay of blood


Mario Bava’s 1971 film “A Bay of Blood” (or “Twitch of the Death Nerve,” as it’s also known) plays liberally in the Giallo and Splatter sandboxes. While the masterful filmmaker borrows the colorful craft from one of his earlier works “Blood and Black Lace,” he seems to orient himself to tracks like “Blood Feast” with graphic depictions of violence and buckets of blood. The Bayside mentality is also proving an integral part in allowing Bava to lay the foundation for many of the best releases of the slasher era, including Friday the 13th and Sleepaway Camp.

Stage fright


Michele Soavi worked extensively with Giallo tastemaker Dario Argento, among other things as second assistant director on “Tenebrae” (1982) and director of the documentary “Dario Argento’s World of Horror” from 1985. He was busy taking notes, as his full length The directorial debut “Stage Fright” proves it. Released in 1987, it’s a very late bloomer in the general slasher boom of the 1980s, but its giallo flourishes elevate it far above its clumsy contemporaries.

Blood and black lace


Mario Bava wields the power of color to great effect. “Blood and Black Lace” from 1964 combines the organic vitality of human blood (many of the pieces are themselves works of art) with the highly processed, synthetic beauty of noble fashion. Each frame is carefully constructed to evoke high-life glamour, yet still manages to root his dazzling masterpieces in a haunting restlessness. And then Bava perfectly wraps up the paint splatters and blood with an arc of intrigue and joy.

Lisa and the devil


It must have been like that living in Mario Bava’s head. “Lisa and the Devil” is a nightmarish fall down a rabbit hole similar to “Alice in Wonderland.” As a brilliantly bizarre specimen, this confrontation with Lisa’s (Elke Sommer) closeness to reality becomes one of the genre’s most relentless and riveting feats. Released a year after “The Exorcist,” a global blockbuster, film producer It was reported that additional footage, with Bava’s son Lamberto Bava in the lead, was added to flesh out the supernatural elements and turn them into themes. more explicit related to exorcism; the film was later re-released under the title “House of Exorcism”.



Did “The Scottish Play” doom this movie before it started? Possibly. It is notorious that the production of «Opera» was in 1987 overshadowed by numerous tragedies and difficulties on the set. The director’s father, Dario Argento, died, his affair with lead actor Dario Nicolodi ended, and another lead actor, Ian Charleston, was involved in a car accident. Superstition or not, Argento’s creative decision to include Verdi’s “Macbeth,” an opera based on Shakespeare’s play, in the story may have heralded a series of unfortunate events.



In “Fragmented Visions: Lucio Fulci and His Films” (via Grindhouse Daily), Fulci says that to truly appreciate the artistry in “The Beyond” one has to understand that “it’s a film of images.” The filmmaker’s 1981 film draws on imagery of Southern Gothic, like a sprawling, ethereal Louisiana mansion, and supernatural horror to tell a story that might make some feel queasy. There’s a reason the US censors pirated the original version of the film and cut out violent sequences and many of its bloodier scenes.