I started reading Maurice Merleau-Ponty's Phenomenology of Perception today as part of my studies, my intention being to produce a broadly phenomenological reading of Dario Argento inspired by the work of film theorists like Vivian Sobchack and Dudley Andrews. The thing that has struck me most so far, however, has been something Merleau-Ponty cites from Rene Descartes 2nd Meditation:
"I do not fail to say that I see men [...] yet what do I see from the window except hats and coats which may cover ghosts or dummies worked by springs? Yet I judge them to be real men"
This seems, to me, a pretty apt way into how we perceive at the archetypal giallo killer, that anonymous, often masked shape whose flesh cannot be seen but which we nevertheless trust to be there.
The next question, I suppose, is whether men in this context refers to humanity in general or specifically to the male, seeing how many gialli rest on our misrecognitions here...