Giallo Finder:  

GialloScore.com - FAQ

  1. What is a "Giallo"?
  2. What is the GialloScore.com project?
  3. So, is this a website for movie reviews?
  4. What are the scoring criteria?
  5. How did you come up with these criteria?
  6. How does a high scoring film compare to a low scoring one?
  7. Can I suggest changes to the criteria or challenge one of the scores?
  8. How often will the site be updated?
  9. Will you review specific DVD and Blu Ray editions of these films?
  10. What about spoilers?
  11. There's a film on this site that I can't find anywhere. How did you get a copy?
  12. I'm new to this whole Giallo thing, but very intrigued. What films should I start with?
  13. Can you suggest other sources of Giallo related information?
  14. Who are you and why are you doing this?


What is a "Giallo"?

Unless you've found this website by accident, you probably already know what a Giallo is, so I'll be brief. "Giallo" (Italian for "yellow") is a term used to describe a genre of films that originated in Italy in the 1970s. These films, inspired by their literary counterparts (Italian crime pulp novels with bright yellow covers), are best categorized as murder mysteries with a heavy emphasis on style and mood.

After establishing itself with a successful cinematic formula, the Giallo experienced a massive proliferation between 1970 and 1974. Today, only the most famous Giallo films (attributed primarily to Dario Argento and Mario Bava) are recognized by the general film community.

Gialli (the widely accepted plural of Giallo) are typically considered to be fun cinematic experiences and usually fall into the "guilty pleasure" category. They were originally produced for the Italian working class who regarded the cinema as a social event rather than a cultural one. Without the burden of achieving critical acclaim, Gialli producers were free to experiment with these films, which ultimately led to their unique and unmistakable style.

For those inclined, this Wikipedia article should fill in the details.


What is the GialloScore.com project?

My initial inspiration for GialloScore.com was sparked by The Do-It-Yourself Giallo Generator. This site pokes fun at the idea that Gialli are formulaic and predictable. I grew up watching these films on VHS and found almost all of them to be quite unique in their style and technique. But there is no denying that all Gialli share at least a few common elements, and these "rules" are seldom broken within the genre.

With this in mind, I started re-watching my collection of Gialli with a more critical and (dare I say) academic eye, and the list of criteria became apparent quickly. But more importantly than just having a neutral "Giallo Checklist," it's obvious that some of the rules these films adhere to are more important than others and should be weighted accordingly. For example: Most Gialli feature multiple suspects, nudity, and the occasional J&B product placement. But are any of these more important than the fact that the killer wears black gloves? Or that the killer's identity remains unknown for most of the film?

The result of all this research is the "Giallo Score" - an experiment that evaluates each film in the genre against a set of rules, each with a point value. The higher the score, the more the the film can be regarded as a "classic" Giallo.


So, is this a website for movie reviews?

No. There are plenty of excellent web sites and blogs dedicated to reviewing these films. The focus of GialloScore.com is on the experiment itself. Each film will include a brief synopsis, a score breakdown, and an interpretation of the results.


What are the scoring criteria?

Check out the Criteria page for a full listing of point opportunities.


How did you come up with these criteria?

Frankly, this was the toughest part. I've been refining the criteria for the past 5 years, watching these films several times each to really understand where the common elements lie. Many times I would consider the criteria to be complete only to think of something new to add soon after. Within the last few months I have really focused on nailing down the point values and scoring formula and I'm very satisfied with it (for now).


How does a high scoring film compare to a low scoring one?

This is a great question! The answer is "it depends." The important thing to understand is that just because a film receives a low score doesn't mean it's not a "good" film. And of course, the opposite is also true.


Can I suggest changes to the criteria or challenge one of the scores?

Please do! Remember that this site is an experiment and the rules for scoring are somewhat arbitrary. If a scoring item seems to carry too many points (or not enough), or if you think a particular film was scored incorrectly, let me know.


How often will the site be updated?

"As often as possible," is the best answer I can give. The initial launch of the site will feature scores for 10 films and I hope to add 2 - 3 more each week after. Follow GialloScore.com on Twitter to get the latest information.


Will you review specific DVD and Blu Ray editions of these films?

Only if it's pertinent to the score. For example: The American Anchor Bay DVD release of "Delirium" by Renato Polselli contains two very different versions of the film. In these cases the score will indicate which version of the film it applies to.


What about spoilers?

In order to properly score a Giallo, the "whodunit" elements will need to be revealed. However, visitors who are using the site for new viewing suggestions will be able to avoid these spoilers and choose a film based on the overall score and a brief synopsis.


There's a film on this site that I can't find anywhere. How did you get a copy?

Almost every Giallo is available if you look hard enough.


I'm new to this whole Giallo thing, but very intrigued. What films should I start with?

Most introductions to the genre include at least one film by Dario Argento. It's hard to find a better example of a director who embraced the genre with as much style. Argento directed three landmark Gialli during the classic period. These films are often referred to as the "Animal Trilogy" because all three feature the name of an animal in their titles. The Giallo beginner would do well to start with any of these three:

Beyond Argento, Mario Bava is most often credited with inventing the genre with The Girl Who Knew Too Much (1963), although I don't recommend this film for people just starting out. Instead, Bava's follow up, Blood And Black Lace (1964) is wildly entertaining and a textbook example of the genre.

Other easily accessible Gialli include:


Can you suggest other sources of Giallo related information?

For those interested in a truly academic discussion of the genre, I highly recommend La Dolce Morte: Vernacular Cinema and the Italian Giallo Film by Mikel J. Koven.

Of course, not everyone is interested in treating this subject so seriously. If you're one of those people, Keith Brown's blog Giallo Fever is a great resource for Giallo information.

Unfortunately, the book that most fans consider the bible of genre, Blood And Black Lace by Adrian Luther Smith, is long out of print and existing copies are selling for over $200. If you can find a copy at a reasonable price, grab it.

Kinoeye has a meaty article on the genre and the now defunct, but still online, Killing In Style blog by Sylvan L has a lot of great observations as well.


Who are you and why are you doing this?

GialloScore.com is a labor of love, conceived over five years ago as a way to showcase my passion for web development, writing, and film. I don't claim to be an educated film critic, just a fan.