APRIL MOVIE THON 2: Darkness Surrounds Roberta (2008)

April 26: American Giallo — Make the case for a movie that you believe is an American giallo.

This Italian/German/American — yes, I am cheating on the American Giallo theme — giallo comes from some of the same people who made 5 Dead On A Crimson Canvas. Shot in Florence, Italy, it concentrates on Roberta Parenti (Yassmin Pucci), who was once an artist but has now settled into being a politician’s wife and, if you’ve seen enough giallo, you know what that means. She’s exploring her sexuality after being assaulted in the past. Her husband forbids her from being an artist, which leads her into the clutches of a man killing the most beautiful women in the city. And he’s wearing the mask of a man within her artwork.

Directed by Giovanni Pianigiani, who wrote the story with Bruno Di Marcello, you may notice that unlike nearly every other giallo you’ve seen this isn’t dubbed and everyone is speaking English. Dubbing is something that throws off people not used to Italian movies. A lack of dubbing conversely threw me off.

But you know what made this work for me? Joe Zaso shows up and not just to be a producer. He plays Derek, a detective with an incredibly keen sense of smell to make up for his blindness. That’s the kind of character that can only exist within this genre and it’s absolutely great, as is the music by Marco Werba.

While this doesn’t push itself to have the Argento camera angles and Bava colors of so many modern giallo that try and tackle the look, if not the story and experience of 1970s yellow postered psychosexual murder movies, this gets the lunatic feel of those films right.

Also: I love that so many reviews are like, “This has some really gratuitous sex scenes.”

Tell me you’ve only told people you’ve watched giallo without telling me.

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