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  • Writer's pictureGabe Powers

Grinding the Stream: Giallo Films

Are you self isolating? Are you thinking about broadening your cinematic horizons? Perhaps you’d like to learn about a specific genre? I’m here to help. Let’s start by seeing what is available to stream, beginning with some worthwhile entries in the giallo canon. Giallo (plural: gialli) films aren’t the easiest to define, but tend to be Italian (occasionally Spanish) murder mysteries that skirt the lines between thriller, horror, sexploitation, and sometimes comedy. By the end of the original cycle, the difference between gialli and slashers was nominal.

Netflix and Hulu have pretty pathetic foreign film selections, not to mention a lack of movies made before 1980, so they weren’t particularly helpful in this regard. Amazon Prime has a healthier selection, however, as do a number of free streaming services available via Roku, Amazon Fire, Chromecast, et cetera. I compared a bunch and, for the sake of simplicity, I found the best in terms of content and video quality to be Tubi, Midnight Pulp (a "+" will be included wherever subscription fees apply), VUDU’s free selections, The Roku Channel, Shout Factory TV (though most of their titles can also be watched via Amazon Prime), and Dark Matter TV (again, a "+" will be included wherever subscription fees apply). And, of course, who can forget smaller, but no less important paid services, namely Criterion Channel, Fandor, and Shudder.

Again, be warned – all of the free apps have ad breaks (I know, it sucks) and the video quality is inconsistent from app to app. Sometimes it's genuine HD, other times, it's sub-VHS. Apologies if I’ve suggested something with particularly grim A/V quality and be aware that the availability is based on the research I did on March 17th, 2020. Given the nature of streaming media, I imagine very few of these titles will be available in perpetuity. I've included links to my own reviews of some of these films and be aware that, despite my classifications below, complete director filmographies are not currently available free/subscription streaming.

Mario Bava Gialli

  • Blood and Black Lace (Italian: Sei donne per l'assassino, 1964) – Amazon Prime and Fandor

  • Five Dolls for an August Moon (Italian: 5 bambole per la luna d'agosto, 1970) – Fandor

  • Hatchet for the Honeymoon (Italian: Il rosso segno della follia, 1970) – Fandor

  • A Bay of Blood (Italian: Ecologia del delitto; aka: Reazione a catena, Blood Bath, Twitch of the Death Nerve, 1971) – Fandor

Dario Argento Gialli

  • Bird with the Crystal Plumage (Italian: L'uccello dalle piume di cristallo, 1970) – Fandor

  • Cat o’ Nine Tails (Italian: Il gatto a nove code, 1971) – Amazon Prime, Shudder, VUDU FREE, and Midnight Pulp

  • Deep Red (Italian: Profondo rosso, 1975) – Amazon Prime, Shudder, VUDU FREE, Dark Matter TV (104 minute cut only for all streaming platforms)

  • Opera (aka: Terror at the Opera, 1987) – Amazon Prime and VUDU Free

  • Trauma (1993) – Amazon Prime (this seems to be the edited, R-rated cut)

  • The Stendhal Syndrome (Italian: La sindrome di Stendhal, 1996) – Amazon Prime, Shudder, and VUDU FREE

Lucio Fulci Gialli

  • Don’t Torture a Duckling (Italian: Non si sevizia un paperino, 1972) – Amazon Prime, Shudder, and VUDU FREE

  • The Psychic (Italian: Sette note in nero; aka: Seven Notes in Black, 1977) – Fandor and Midnight Pulp

  • The New York Ripper (Italian: Lo squartatore di New York, 1982) – Amazon Prime

Sergio Martino Gialli

  • The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh (Italian: Lo strano vizio della Signora Wardh; aka: Blade of the Ripper, 1971) – Shudder

  • All the Colors of the Dark (Italian: Tutti i colori del buio, 1972) – Shudder and Midnight Pulp +

  • Your Vice Is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key (Italian: Il tuo vizio è una stanza chiusa e solo io ne ho la chiave, 1972) – Amazon Prime and Midnight Pulp +

  • The Suspicious Death of a Minor (Italian: Morte sospetta di una minorenne, 1975) – Amazon Prime

Emilio Miraglia Gialli

Luciano Ercoli Gialli

Antonio Bido Gialli

  • Watch Me When I Kill (Italian: Il gatto dagli occhi di giada, 1977) – Fandor

  • Bloodstained Shadow (Italian: Solamente nero, 1978) – Amazon Prime

Lamberto Bava Gialli

  • Macabre (Italian: Macabro, 1980) – Amazon Prime and VUDU Free

  • A Blade in the Dark (Italian: La casa con la scala nel buio, 1983) – Amazon Prime

Classics & Personal Favorites

  • Death Laid an Egg (Italian: La morte ha fatto l'uovo; Giulio Questi, 1968) – Amazon Prime and Midnight Pulp +. Note that both feature the edited 88 minute cut, not the 104 minute director's cut. It's still worth seeing.

  • In the Folds of the Flesh (Italian: Nelle pieghe della carne; Sergio Bergonzelli, 1970) – Fandor

  • Black Belly of the Tarantula (Italian: La tarantola dal ventre nero; Paolo Cavara, 1971) – Amazon Prime

  • Short Night of the Glass Dolls (Italian: La corta notte delle bambole di vetro; Aldo Lado, 1971) – Amazon Prime

  • The Fifth Cord (Italian: Giornata nera per l'ariete; Luigi Bazzoni, 1971) – Amazon Prime and VUDU Free

  • Bloodstained Butterfly (Italian: Una farfalla con le ali insanguinate; Duccio Tessari, 1971) – Amazon Prime

  • What Have You Done to Solange (Italian: Cosa avete fatto a Solange?; Massimo Dallamano, 1972) – Amazon Prime and Midnight Pulp +

  • Eye in the Labyrinth (Italian: L'occhio nel labirinto; Mario Caiano, 1972) – Amazon Prime

  • Case of the Bloody Iris (Italian: Perché quelle strane gocce di sangue sul corpo di Jennifer?; Giuliano Carnimeo, 1972) – Amazon Prime and VUDU Free

  • Crimes of the Black Cat (Italian: Sette scialli di seta gialla; Sergio Pastore, 1972) – Amazon Prime

  • Death Smiles on a Murderer (Italian: La morte ha sorriso all'assassino; Aristide Massaccesi, 1973) – Amazon Prime

  • Seven Deaths in a Cat’s Eye (Italian: La morte negli occhi del gatto; Antonio Margheriti, 1973) – Amazon Prime 

  • Autopsy (Italian: Macchie solari; Armando Crispino,1975) – Amazon Prime

  • Murder Obsession (Italian: Follia omicida; Riccardo Freda, 1981) – Amazon Prime

Gialli Adjacent

  • Madhouse (aka: There Was a Little Girl, ...And She Was Bad; Ovidio G. Assonitis, 1981) – Amazon Prime, Shudder, and Midnight Pulp +

  • Nightmares (aka: Nightmares in a Damaged Brain; Romano Scavolini, 1981) – Amazon Prime

  • Pieces (Spanish: Mil gritos tiene la noche; Juan Piquer Simón, 1982) – Shudder and Midnight Pulp

  • Stagefright (aka: Deliria, Aquarius; Michele Soavi, 1987) – VUDU Free

  • All the Colors of Giallo (documentary about gialli; Federico Caddeo, 2019) – Midnight Pulp + and Tubi



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