Giallo: The Dawn of A New Wave?

There are dark and strange things afoot, which for folks like us is a wonderful thing. Something is bubbling back up to the surface of the moviegoing consciousness, something special. With films such as Black Swan and Amer in recent times bringing a sense of surreal and artistic nastiness to a film climate awash with torture p*rn and artless schlock, are we seeing the resurgence of the Giallo tropes that made that first wave of films so very memorable?

I would like to think so. Horror can be at its most potent when mixed with another genre, or indeed with aesthetics that do not fit in with the general stereotypical horror plot devices. This is what gave those early Giallo so much power.

The horrific scenes in those films, those sudden flashes of visceral nastiness, have an enormous impact on the viewer, even when they show little in the way of gore. It’s the stark, abject wrongness of those images that leaps out of the screen, and this is a concept that the current incarnation of genre cinema could do well to remember.

You don’t need masses of gore. You don’t need endless jump-cuts and you don’t have to rely on a soundtrack to instigate shock moments. These things can be done with a build up of tension, a well-placed reaction, and limited bloodshed on-camera. Look again at those early Argento Giallo movies. Take in the structure and visual flair of The Bird With The Crystal Plumage and the like. Those noir-esque visual and narrative touches make so much difference, and turn an average film into something to be appreciated instead of mocked, and indeed something that will remain in the public consciousness (and thus making more from the production) long beyond the home release.

A resurgence in the art of the Giallo may be down to diminishing returns on many identikit horror flicks, a shift in the tastes of the public or any number of social and cultural changes that are constantly shaping the things that people deem to be their favoured form of entertainment.

I can only see a return to the notion of thrillers with horror elements and a more artistic direction to be a good thing for here and now, as the genre is far too often accused of not moving forward. The genre should be more like the Giallo, and move in any direction but that which the viewer expects. Will this be the dawn of a new age? I certainly hope so.

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About Andrew Hawnt

As well as Horrornews.net, Andrew writes for the UK's POWERPLAY ROCK AND METAL MAGAZINE and film geek site WEEKLY GEEK SPEAK. He is the author of books such as VHS ATE MY BRAIN, BAGGED AND BOARDED: LIFE ON PLANET GEEK, the novel A STOLEN FATE and several others. Andrew lives in Nottingham, UK. You can find him on Twitter as @andrewhawnt

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