December 22, 2021

GIALLO ESSENTIALS (YELLOW): A Big Batch of Blades & Bodies

GIALLO ESSENTIALS (YELLOW) (Blu-ray Review)
1973-1975 / 283 min (3 movies)

FROM ARROW VIDEO

Review by Fluffy the Fearless😼

This is Arrow Video’s second giallo collection, following the “red” release a few months ago. Once again, it contains three films, each in their own case and distinctive artwork, nicely packaged in a sturdy box with an impressively designed slipcover. Befitting the genre, this edition comes in yellow.

As for the content, all have been previously released (individually) by Arrow with the same generous amount of bonus features. This set is simply a convenient way to grab all at once. And are these films “essential?” That’s obviously subjective. While no one will mistake them with the works of Bava or Argento, they do represent how prolific - and popular - giallo became in the wake of The Bird with the Crystal Plumage.


1974’s What Have They Done to Your Daughters? is the best of the lot. More plot-driven and a bit less lurid than your typical giallo film, this one focuses more on the police procedural aspects of the story, which begins with a teenage girl’s murder. Initially thought to be a suicide, the investigation later reveals a teen prostitution ring. Meanwhile, a black-clad, motorcycle-riding killer is slicing & dicing those involved. Despite the off-putting subject matter, this is a stylishly suspenseful little shocker.


"Let me pop this for you..."

Next is 1973’s Torso, an proto-slasher film featuring a masked killer who stalks and strangles a number of female college students before dismembering their corpses. Not nearly as graphic as the title and plot suggest, director Sergio Martino appears just as concerned with titillating the audience as scaring them. Nearly every female in the cast gets naked at one point or another. Conversely, most of the men are depicted as wide-eyed, lecherous horndogs. But despite some lame performances, the murder sequences are fairly well done and the film does a good job throwing a variety of potential suspects our way.


Though bestowed with one of cult cinema’s most gloriously gratuitous titles, 1975’s Strip Nude for Your Killer is comparatively dull. The basic plot is similar to that of Torso, with another black-clad killer, no less. This time, someone is avenging the death of a model following a botched abortion, slaughtering people in the agency she once worked for. There’s a much greater emphasis on soft-core shenanigans, none of which is particular erotic. Dreadfully paced and terribly written, the movie is absolutely plodding when someone isn’t being killed, and even those scenes are fairly rote. Still, there’s some unintentional humor to be found on occasion, especially if one views it as a giallo parody. 


While I’d argue that none of them are truly “essential,” these films obviously have their share of fans, who’ll be pleased with the 2K restorations. And once again, Arrow has assembled pretty extensive batches of bonus features for each, most of which provide a wealth of information, anecdotes and appreciation. An interesting curio.


EXTRA KIBBLES

WHAT HAVE THEY DONE WITH YOUR DAUGHTERS?

ETERNAL MELODY - Interview with composer Sergio Mertino.

DALLAMANO’S TOUCH - Interview with editor Antonio Siciliano.

UNUSED HARDCORE FOOTAGE - Presented without sound, these scenes are definitely pornographic.

AUDIO COMMENTARY - By author Troy Howarth.

ALTERNATE ENGLISH OPENING TITLES

ITALIAN TRAILER

GALLERY

REVERSIBLE COVER ART

TORSO

THREE VERSIONS OF THE FILM - 90 minute English version; 94 minute Italian version; 94 min English-Italian hybrid.

INDIVIDUAL INTERVIEWS - With director Sergio Martino; Federica Martino (daughter of director Sergio Martino); actor Luc Merenda (who seems like a charming, if somewhat ambiguous); co-writer Ernesto Gastaldi; author Mikel J. Koven.

2017 ABERTOIR INTERNATIONAL HORROR FESTIVAL Q&A - With director Sergio Martino.

AUDIO COMMENTARY - With author Kat Ellinger.

ALTERNATE OPENING TITLE SEQUENCE

ENGLISH & ITALIAN TRAILERS

REVERSIBLE COVER ART

STRIP NUDE FOR YOUR KILLER

SEX AND DEATH WITH A SMILE - Video essay by author Kat Ellinger & actor Edwige Fenech.

A GOOD MAN FOR THE MURDERS - Interview with actor Nino Casteinuevo.

THE BLONDE SALAMANDER - Interview with actor Erna Schurer.

THE ART OF HELPING - Interview with assistant director Daniele Sangiori.

JACK OF ALL TRADES - Interview with actor Yino Polenghi.

AUDIO COMMENTARY - By Adrian J. Smith & David Flint (from Horrorpedia.com).

TWO VERSIONS OF OPENING SCENE - Blue-tinted & untinted.

GALLERY

ENGLISH & ITALIAN TRAILERS

REVERSIBLE COVER ART

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