Monday, 22 February 2010

Request for resources on violence in Italian cinema

I'm currently doing my last term of a bachelor degree in film theory, at the university of Trondheim, Norway. This means that I will have to write my thesis in the following months. Having seen my fair share of gialli, as well as being a great fan of the genre, I have to chose to write about it. The thesis is still in the planning phase, and so far I think the thesis will be on the function of the genre's stylized violence (perhaps with a focus on narrative). The problem is, that I've found close to no literature on the gialli. I have ordered a copy of Koven's La Dolce Morte and I have a copy of Needham's Playing with genre : an introduction to the Italian giallo, but I would love to read some more on the subject. Do you have any suggestions to relevant literature? My Italian is quite limited, so I'm mainly after English books or articles.

I've sent Torbjorn some suggestions, but he's keen for more. You can email him at


orcival said...

how about using the occasion to start a literature list for literature on gialli?

K H Brown said...


luca canali said...

Only recently, you posted this link:
"A thesis on Brutality in Filone cinema - Abstract and download link here:"

And this might help, too:
Author: Wallman, Bengt (Stockholm University, Department of Cinema Studies)
Title: Il thrilling Italiano:: Opening up the giallo

These theses should at least have useful bibliographies.

orcival said...

My five cents would be:
Adrian Luther Smith. Delirium - Guide to Italian Exploitation Cinema. Oxford: Media Publications, 1992.

Gabriele Vickermann. Der etwas andere Detektivroman. Italianistische Studien an den Grenzen von Genre und Gattung. Studia Romanica 94. Heidelberg: Universitätsverlag C. Winter, 1998.

Philippe Met. ““Knowing Too Much” about Hitchcock: The Genesis of the Italian Giallo.” In After Hitchcock: Influence, Imitation, and Intertextuality, herausgegeben von David Boyd und R. Barton Palmer. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2006.

unbekannt. European Trash Cinema - Special Collector's Issue - GIALLOS - Italian Thriller Cinema.

Torbjørn said...

Thanks for all the recommendations so far, and special thanks to Keith for posting this! I have just began reading the thesis on "Brutality in Filone cinema", and I must say it has an almost uncanny resemblance to what I had planned to write. I might have to change my plans a bit here, but please keep on posting literature. This thesis will be on the giallo :)


Torbjørn said...

Seeing the post by Luca Canali above, I thought I should mention that I'm a dj on the side, sometimes under the very same name. I've put together a couple of soundtrack mixes (poliziotteschi/gialli), some of you might be interested in. Luca Canali - Trondheim Violenta can be grabbed here: Cover and tracklist is over there :)

andycunn said...

Eaten Alive: Italian Cannibal and Zombie movies definitely has territory you're aware of, but will give you a couple citiations.

The Philosophy of Horror: Or, Paradoxes of the Heart by noel carroll will be a good resource if you're delving into that area.

Men Women and Chainsaws is an excellent look at gender in modern horror.

I'm not sure how much italian giallo will be mentioned in the latter, but im sure you'll find some good quotes. I can look further into research I did for my undergrad, I researched a lot on the italian zombie genre, and will pass along any info. Would love a copy of your thessis when it's done!

orcival said...

Having all your giallo expertise collected here, I would like to ask the following: with regards to politically interested filmmaking it seems to me that as though it moved from some (still quite vague) notions in the swashbucklers and historical epics from the early sixties to the italo-western in the late sixties and the gialli in the early/mid seventies.
in the case of the gialli: would you describe that as a phenomenon at the margins or is that quite mainstream? somehow I mistrust my own knowledge of gialli to be too much dictated by my interests to be sure...

K H Brown said...

Orcival: I think political commitment was generally weak in filone cinema, but that films often had political subtexts.

For example, pepla are sometimes read as an oblique commentary on Fascism and resistance: If the ruler / state is corrupt, what should the individual do? The use of the fantastical often allows for commentary to be made which would be difficult in a more direct way.

In general, I think Italian filone of this period must relate in some way to the situation of the period:

In the peplum all that is needed is muscle. The contemporary is far away.

In the spaghetti western intelligence and technology are more important. The contemporary is closer.

In the giallo we are in the present. The protagonists are no longer better than us, but are us.