Friday, 18 December 2009

Cover Notes

Two for this evening.

I feel I've now moved into another level in my Giallo watching, and I don't necessarily mean in an upwards direction; this may be very unfair to these films, I haven't watched them yet, but this is my response to the covers from Shameless.

Now, I thank Shameless very much for making more Gialli available to the masses (although Italian dubbing would be a lovely addition), but compared to the mysterious and understated cover for the Blue Underground 2005 release of "Crystal Plumage" and the sumptuous Shriek Show version for "Woman in A Lizard's Skin" (I realise there are other complaints about the quality of the DVD), I can't help feeling that this has a negative effect on the perception on the product. Their cover for "Torso", which uses a still from the film, does not pave the way for the stylish delights therein, and is a bit of a spoiler. How much better is the sinister, atmospheric Anchor Bay 2000 cover, I have the recent Blue Underground release, which has an almost 60's poster look to it.

Consequently, I'm not expecting great things from these two - but, we shall wait and see.

Other favourites include:

The NoShame Sergio Martino collection (these guys do do some delightfully stylish for other genres too)
"The House with Laughing Windows" Image Entertainment 2003
The "Perversion Story" cover above from Severin 2007

These are intriguing and stylish covers that you want on your shelf. I like the way Shameless have used the yellow as a nod to the books, which is handy because you will instantly pick them out on your shelves BUT, I'm not keen on these cheapo covers. I know there are people enjoy this look, but I'd love to see Shameless up their game a bit. I love schlock n'sleaze with the best of them, but I don't feel these are good examples of that either.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Early Christmas present to Self

La Dolce Morte by Mikel J. Koven - Scarecrow Press (and I am checking them out right now)
I am So going to enjoy this.

The first two lines:
"This book has three aims. The first, obviously, is an explanation of the giallo, albeit from a rather synchromic, rather than diachronic, perspective..."
I'm thinking "Cor!!!" in the manner of Norman Wisdom! I am getting my dictionary out and settling down to it shortly. All this and the sound of carol singers echoing in the park! Mmmmmm.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Pronto! Pronto! a go! go!

We drove back with our latest t-shirts hot off the press from the wonderful guys at October Textiles. This time I managed to take some film of the process. We've still got to take some pics with our models but the t-shirts will be for sale online later today.
There's a bit more to add but I just wanted to put the pics and film up for now.

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Pronto Pronto

We're going to our printers next week to pick up our new t-shirts for "Pronto Pronto!" (popular request). Also we've decided to keep the url off this design. I'll be taking some pics of the printing process too.

Curtis Harrington's House Part2

Image © Tyler Hubby

I've just found out that the person who sent me the link to the pics of Curtis Harrington's house is film editor Tyler Hubby who has made a film profile of the director: House of Harrington, as well as editing Harrington's last film "Usher"; there's a mention of this gem in this lovely obituary on Alternative Film Guide by Andre Soares.

Monday, 23 November 2009

Speciale Stracult: L'Horror Italiano

What a fab find!

I was trawling around YouTube last night and just happened on this nugget Speciale Stracult: L'Horror Italiano. How cool. All 4 parts are worth a watch but this one is a must for Giallo fans, featuring some tiny interviews with Bava, Fulci and Freda, also quite a bit with Babs Steele (parts 1 and 4 has some lovely footage of Argento).

A Meander down Curtis Harrington Lane

OK, this is just a slightly sketchy response to a link I've just received which is a lovely coincidence as it has something to do with a new design I've been working on. A great set of pictures of: Curtis Harrington's House by TylerHubby.

I saw his film "Ruby" when it came out in the UK and although I saw it as an Exorcist/Carrie rip-off at the time I will never get certain scenes out of my head (it starred the lovely and unforgettable Piper Laurie too). Years later I started to find out more about this interesting director, and I was lucky enough to discover an interview with him in one of the copies of Films and Filming from the 70's which I'd rescued from the bin men in Crouch End about 20 years ago - but sorry I digress.

Curtis made Avante Garde films in the 40's and 50's (and also worked with Kenneth Anger). I've still to see "Night Tide" (with Dennis Hopper) though it's on my list. But I have seen "How Awful About Allan" and "Games" (and 'Who slew Aunty Roo' is on order). There's an unnerving and sinister dream like quality to these films that seems quite unique to him. I feel he's similar to Sergio Martino in that they both have a particular style that totally immerses the viewer in their world. I feel the same could be said of Russ Meyer.

I saw "Games" very recently, and it definitely could be considered Giallo-esque. I also can't help feeling that it was the inspiration behind "Oasis of Fear" ("Un posto ideale per uccidere") in some way.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Thoughts on "Mrs Wardh" and the woman's giallo

Just pondering somewhat about the idea of Sergio Martino's "The Strange Vice of Mrs Wardh " being a 'woman's giallo', only because I've shown it to a few women friends (none Giallo watchers) and they've been quite taken by it.
Many Gialli follow a heroine being persecuted by a murderer but I still think "Wardh" does more.
Similar themes run through Carnimeo's "The Case of the Bloody Iris" (which is more of a "fun giallo").

In both films (both written by Ernesto Gastaldi) Edwige Fenech plays a victim of an ex-husband. In "Iris", Jennifer Lansbury has been previously married to the head of a cult who makes her take part in orgies somewhat against her will. Julie Wardh, although seemingly in a passive role is actually a willing participant in the S&M flavoured games with her husband Jean ie: the strange vice of the title.
In "Iris" the character is less rounded, generic victimised female, the important thing is the plat, finding out who the murderer is, whereas in Wardh, we're not sure, we want to know why and what's she going to do, there's a stalker about but we're still more engaged by what Mrs Ward thinks.
In Wardh she has motivations, I love the wonderful long bike ride with George (George Hilton) where different expressions flutter across her face as she seemingly makes her mind up about him, first excitement, then fear, some suspicion and finally desire.

Mrs Wardh is clearly a complex woman willing to take risks. She's left Jean (Ivan Rassimov), presumably tired and fearful of her games with him and looked for security and stability with Neil Wardh - but we sense all is not well - she still yearns for excitement (and someone who clearly isn't averse to wearing a bit of lip gloss now and again) and takes a risk again to pursue a relationship with George.

Maybe my friends enjoyed that in the end Mrs Wardh falls victim to all three males in her life - like you can't trust blokes sane or insane!? I wonder about that cop at the end too, wouldn't trust him as far as I could throw him.

"All the Colour of the Dark" is yet another Martino film to make the heroine the main protagonist, but it follows the route of having us assume that the heroine, Jane Harrison (Edwige again) could be unbalanced, so you're not sure if everything is real or in her head; this is somewhat distancing and like "Sweet Body of Deborah" and "The Red Queen Kills 7" Times" you're not quite immersed in the heroine's world.

I don't think any other Giallo I've seen (and there are still plenty more of me to see) matches "Wardh" for depth of characterisation and motivation. The victim becomes the victor in a round about twist and has much more to do with her persecutors' demise than most other rescued heroines.

Edwige is important in this respect too. In the other Martino Gialli, "Your Vice" and "Scorpions Tail", the victim is played by Anita Strindberg who doesn't have that vulnerability. Hers is a rather fragile, febrile victimhood and indeed with the twist in "Scorpion's Tail" this suits the character. You feel sorry for her in both but there's something about Fenech's depiction of fear that is almost voluptuous - she wallows in it, in fact is almost galvanised by it...there's nothing lightweight about her screaming.
So there's me thoughts, somewhat incoherent but you get the picture.

Friday, 6 November 2009

URL on T-Shirt

This is an interesting one for me, because I do like text and images together (as you may have guessed from the other designs) and I quite liked the detailed url against the larger picture of a laughing Rassimov incorporated into the design (and I thought it balanced the "Four Flies" title quite well) . However, we have had three comments so far that object to the url and see it as spoiling the design, now that I wasn't expecting but has made me think.

The reason we put the logo and url on the design was because we haven't put our labels inside the garments yet, we do want to we've only done a relatively short run so far to see what people like and it's not been cost effective to add the labels we've designed. We wanted something that told people who we are as well as signifying what the t-shirt was about and so we decided to include the url as part of the design.

For the next run we will have labels, (although not for Rassimov or Four Flies as that we'd have to pay for the set up again - and we couldn't do that just yet) and as we do more I'm looking forward to having some lovely swing tags too (mmmm I've got some lovely ideas for swing tags - I have a wish list of goodies). I'd be very interested to hear what other people think as if we get more feedback like this we may reconsider the url on the other designs.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

About Us - addition to page

Well, ok, that was our take on the hyperbolic language that features in Gialli (although is that translation or par for the course in Italian). It's hard to shake it off when you've been immersed in that yellow glow for several years.

We've just started this site and decided to start small to get an idea of what the interest would be , and that's where our visitors can help, we'd genuinely like to know what designs take your eye, we do have much more in store and so please take a moment to register you interest on our Coming Soon pages, or even just drop us a line through our Contact Us page. We'd be most grateful for your feedback.

Hope you've enjoyed the site so far.

Monday, 2 November 2009