Friday, 1 May 2009

Giallo score project

Any thoughts / comments you, the community, have on this idea from Chris Bellis would be welcomed:

The Giallo Score

The concept revolves around a basic survey of the Giallo genre but with a gimmick. Films of the genre seem to adhere to a particular set of rules. Fans of the genre expect the films to play by most of the these rules, with some room for creativity of course. So the gimmick is that each film in the survey would be scored based on how strictly it adheres to the rules of the genre. Each film on the site would include the typical synopsis, review, and screen grabs, but also a score that could be used to compare itself against other films of the genre.

I ran with the idea. I did some initial research, built the framework for the site, and started writing. I was pretty jazzed about it too. I soon realized that I would need to do some extensive up-front writing before launching the site so as to publish something with a bit of substance. Inevitably, life got in the way and the project stalled for a bit. Coming back to it now, I admire the work I've put into the project so far and certainly don't want to scrap it. But the more I think about the "score" aspect of the project the more I'm wondering if it's as brilliant of an idea as I originally thought. I guess that's why I decided to write you. Being a writer and an expert on the genre I was hoping you might be able to give me some unfiltered advice.

Below are a couple of samples from the project.

This first is a snippet from the mission statement (a thesis of sorts):

The overall style of the Giallo is one of self-expression; of ideas, moods, and feelings. As such, one would expect each "successful" example of the genre to be unique in this way. And yet at the same time every Giallo shares at least a few common elements. Some of these are story driven, some are style qualifications. But regardless of category these “rules” are seldom broken within the genre. A truly successful Giallo is one that manages to create a unique stylistic experience without straying too far outside the boundaries that establish its classification within the genre.

The Experiment is experiment in Giallo analysis in which the classic as well as some of the lesser known Gialli are scrutinized against a set of rules. These rules are categorized and weighted in an attempt to establish patterns within the genre. Each entry in this survey will receive a “score” based on the number of qualifications that the film adheres to. As the number of films in the survey increases, the most highly regarded examples of the genre should emerge at the top of the rankings.

Because is an attempt to use scientific analysis to interpret a subjective art form, certain assumptions must be made. Most importantly, the “rules” by which the films are judged are devised arbitrarily and are subject to change as the survey develops. By no means should this experiment represent the final word on the subject but instead should be viewed as one of many valid interpretations of the Giallo genre.

Regardless of the overall score, each film will be assigned a purely subjective viewing recommendation, and it is completely plausible that a lower scoring film will still receive a high recommendation.

Here are a few examples of the "rules" and how they are applied to the overall score. There are many more, I just included a few here so as to not bog you down with too much to read.

The following are fundamental Giallo criteria and should be weighted heavily (up to 15 points each)

Italian Director - 15 points.
The director must be Italian.

Hidden Identity - 15 points.
The identity of the killer must be hidden for as long as possible, usually until the last few minutes of the film.

Amateur Detective - 10 points.
The identity of the killer should be discovered by someone other than the police. This person should be considered an "amateur" or a "lay person" and should be motivated by the need to clear themselves of suspicion or the threat of becoming a victim.

The following criteria are trends within the genre and should be given medium weight (up to 5 points each)

First Person POV - 4 points.
The director employs first-person perspective shots from the killer's point-of-view during murder and stalking sequences.

Director > 1 - 4 points.
The director is credited with at least one Giallo preceding or following this one.

The following criteria are minor details and should be given low weight (1 point each)

Odd Clue - 1 point.
A clue to the murderer's identity hidden within, or associated with a piece of art or jewelry (e.g. Painting, Necklace, etc).

Impossible scientific method - 1 point.
The identity of the killer is discerned through an impossible scientific method or technology (including those that had not been invented during the time period of the film).

Additional points awarded at the reviewers discretion

Style Bonus - 10 points.
For each individual film, a maximum of 10 style points can be added to the score. The style points are comprised of a combination of cinematic elements including cinematographic technique, editing, visual effects, set design, location, costume, and soundtrack.

Influence Bonus - 5 points.
A film can earn a maximum of 5 additional points based on its influence over the genre as a whole. Typically these films appear earlier in the genre time line and are credited with "setting the standard"

Considering the entire list of rules, a film can receive a maximum of 155 points. This produces both predictable (Profondo Rosso scores 141, Duckling scores 133) and unexpected (Lizard scores 91, Lenzi's Quiet Place to Kill scores a 49) results.


Anonymous said...

I'm sure you spent a lot more time thinking about the points system than I have, but I don't think an Italian director should score 15 points (maybe 10 or make it Mediterranean director instead) and neither should "Hidden identity" - just too many examples where the killer is known right from the start (again, I'd suggest 10 points).
"Odd clue" should be ranked higher on the other hand (at least 4 points, I'd even consider 5-8) and I'dd suggest another rule - "Multiple killers".

K H Brown said...

Thanks - this is what we need!

Chris said...

Perhaps it would help if i published the entire list of rules. The sampling posted here can't be analyzed properly without considering the list as a whole. Keith, I'll send these over if you don't mind posting them. Thanks everyone!

K H Brown said...

Please do send them; I'll copy and paste the stuff from the PDF as well if that's okay.

Chris said...

Great Keith! Actually, I was referring to the PDF file I already sent. Feel free to dump the score section to your blog if you have it handy. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

edwige fenech = 100 points,
floures. blood = 10 points
contemporary buildings (contemporary for the 70's that is)= 5 points
white men lusting over black women = 3 points
just a few suggestions