Giallo (Italian pronunciation: [ˈdʒallo], plural gialli) is a 20th-century Italian genre of literature and film. In Italy, the term simply denotes thrillers, typically of the crime fiction and mystery subgenres, regardless of the country of origin. In English-speaking countries, however, the term "giallo" is used to refer to a particular style of Italian-produced murder mystery film which often includes elements of horror fiction and eroticism (similar to the French fantastique genre). The genre began in the late 1960s, peaked in popularity during the 70s, and subsequently declined over the next few decades (though some examples continue to be produced up to the present day). It is considered to be a predecessor to, and significant influence on, the later American Slasher film genre.
The word "giallo" is Italian for "yellow." Its use as a label denoting the thriller genre derives from its association with a series of cheap paperback mystery novels, popular in post-fascist Italy, which were adorned with yellow covers.
The term giallo derives from a series of crime-mystery pulp novels entitled Il Giallo Mondadori ('Mondadori Yellow [books]'), published by Mondadori from 1929 on, and taking its name from the trademark yellow cover background. The series consisted almost exclusively of Italian translations of mystery novels by British and American writers, such as Agatha Christie, Ellery Queen, Edgar Wallace, Ed McBain, Rex Stout, and Raymond Chandler.
Published as cheap paperbacks, the success of the "giallo" novels soon began attracting the attention of other publishing houses, who began releasing their own versions, mimicking the yellow covers. The popularity of these series eventually established the word giallo as a synonym for a mystery novel.
For Italian audiences, giallo has come to refer to any kind of thriller, regardless of its origin. Thus, American, British or other thrillers such as Psycho, Vertigo or Peeping Tom are considered gialli. For English-speaking audiences, however, the term has come to refer only to a very specific type of Italian-produced thriller which Italian audiences have historically referred to as "thrilling all'italiana" or "spaghetti thrillers."
The term giallo first referred to similarly themed crime and mystery pulp novels with yellow covers which became popular in post-fascist Italy. The film subgenre that emerged from these novels in the 1960s began as literal adaptations of the books, but soon began taking advantage of modern cinematic techniques to create a unique genre which veered into horror and psychological thrillers. Many of the typical characteristics of these films would subsequently be incorporated into the later American slasher genre.
There is some critical disagreement on exactly what elements comprise a giallo film. Critic Gary Neednam, considering the problem, writes:
"By its very nature the giallo challenges our assumptions about how non-Hollywood films should be classified, going beyond the sort of Anglo-American taxonomic imaginary that "fixes" genre both in film criticism and the film industry in order to designate something specific. ...however, despite the giallo's resistance to clear definition there are nevertheless identifiable thematic and stylistic tropes."
These distinct "thematic and stylistic tropes" constitute a loose definition of the genre which is broadly consistent, though various critics have proposed slightly differing characteristic details (which consequently creates some confusion over specifically which films can be considered gialli).
Although often based around crime and detective work, gialli should not be confused with the other popular Italian crime genre of the 1970s, the poliziotteschi, which includes more action-oriented films centering on violent law enforcement officers (largely influenced by Dirty Harry, The Godfather, and The French Connection). Directors and stars often moved between both genres, and some films could be considered under either banner, such as Massimo Dallamano's 1974 film La polizia chiede aiuto (What Have They Done to Your Daughters?). Nevertheless, most critics agree that the giallo represents a separate and distinct category with unique features.
Giallo films are generally characterized as gruesome murder-mystery thrillers that combine the suspense elements of detective fiction with scenes of shocking horror, featuring excessive bloodletting, stylish camerawork, and often jarring musical arrangements. The archetypal giallo plot involves a mysterious, black-gloved psychopathic killer who stalks and butchers a series of beautiful women. While most gialli involve a human killer, some also feature a supernatural element.
The typical giallo protagonist is an outsider of some type, often a traveler or tourist, and usually a young woman (gialli rarely feature law enforcement officers as chief protagonists, which would be more characteristic of the poliziotteschi genre). They are generally unconnected to the murders before they begin, and are drawn to help find the killer through their role as a witness to a crime. The mystery centers on the identity of the killer, who is often revealed in the climax to be another key character who conceals his or her identity with a disguise (usually some combination of hat, mask, sunglasses, gloves, and trench coat). Thus, the literary whodunit element of the giallo novels is retained, while being filtered through Italy's longstanding tradition of opera and staged grand guignol drama.
It is important to note, however, that while most gialli feature elements of this basic narrative structure, not all of them do. Some films (for example Mario Bava's 1970 Hatchet for the Honeymoon, which features the killer as the protagonist) may radically alter the traditional structure or abandon it altogether and still be considered gialli due to stylistic or thematic tropes, rather than narrative ones. In fact, one consistently observed element of the genre is an unusual lack of focus on coherent or logical narrative storytelling. While most have a nominal mystery structure, they may feature bizarre or nonsensical plot elements and a general disregard for realism in acting, dialogue, and character motivation. As writer Jon Abrams notes, "Individually, each [giallo] is like an improv exercise in murder, with each filmmaker having access to a handful of shared props and themes. Black gloves, sexual ambiguity, and psychoanalytic trauma may be at the heart of each film, but the genre itself is without consistent narrative form."
While a shadowy killer and mystery narrative are common to most gialli, the most consistent and notable shared trope in the giallo tradition is the focus on grisly death sequences. The murders are invariably violent and gory, featuring a variety of explicit and imaginative attacks. These scenes frequently evoke some degree of voyeurism, sometimes going so far as to present the murder from the first-person perspective of the killer, with the black-gloved hand holding a knife viewed from the killer's point of view. The murders often occur when the victim is most vulnerable (showering, taking a bath, or scantily clad); as such, giallo films often include liberal amounts of nudity and sex, almost all of it featuring beautiful young women (actresses associated with the genre include Edwige Fenech, Barbara Bach, Daria Nicolodi, Mimsy Farmer, Barbara Bouchet, Suzy Kendall, Ida Galli, and Anita Strindberg). Due to the titillating emphasis on explicit sex and violence, gialli are sometimes categorized as exploitation cinema. The association of female sexuality and brutal violence has led some commentators to accuse the genre of misogyny.
Gialli are noted for psychological themes of madness, alienation, sexuality, and paranoia. The protagonist is usually a witness to a gruesome crime, but frequently finds their testimony subject to skepticism from authority figures, leading to a questioning of their own perception and authority. This ambiguity of memory and perception can escalate to delusion, hallucination, and delirious paranoia. Since gialli protagonists are typically female, this can lead to what writer Gary Needham calls, "...the giallo's inherent pathologising of femininity and fascination with "sick" women." The killer is likely to be mentally ill as well; giallo killers are almost always motivated by insanity caused by some past psychological trauma, often of a sexual nature (and sometimes depicted in flashbacks). The emphasis on madness and subjective perception has roots in the giallo novels (for example, Sergio Martino's Your Vice Is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key was explicitly based on Edgar Allan Poe's short story story "The Black Cat", which deals with a psychologically unstable narrator) but also finds expression in the tools of cinema: The unsteady mental state of both victim and killer is often mirrored by the wildly exaggerated style and unfocused narrative common to many gialli.
Writer Mikel J. Koven posits that gialli reflect an ambivalence over the social upheaval modernity brought to Italian culture in the 1960s. He writes,
"The changes within Italian culture... can be seen throughout the giallo film as something to be discussed and debated -- issues pertaining to identity, sexuality, increasing levels of violence, women's control over their own lives and bodies, history, the state -- all abstract ideas, which are all portrayed situationally as human stories in the giallo film.
Gialli have been noted for their strong cinematic technique, with critics praising their editing, production design, music, and visual style even in the marked absence of other facets usually associated with critical admiration (as gialli frequently lack characterization, believable dialogue, realistic performances, and logical coherence in the narrative). Writer Alexia Kannas argues of 1968's La morte ha fatto l’uovo (Death Laid an Egg) that "While the film has garnered a reputation for its supreme narrative difficulty (just as many art films have), its aesthetic brilliance is irrefutable," while critic Leon Hunt writes that frequent gialli director Dario Argento's work "vacillate[s] between strategies of art cinema and exploitation."
Gialli are frequently associated with strong technical cinematography and stylish visuals. Critic Maitland McDonagh describes the visuals of Profondo rosso (Deep Red) as, "vivid colors and bizarre camera angles, dizzying pans and flamboyant tracking shots, disorienting framing and composition, fetishistic close-ups of quivering eyes and weird objects (knives, dolls, marbles, braided scraps of wool)..." In addition to the iconic images of shadowy black-gloved killers and gruesome violence, gialli also frequently employ strongly stylized and even occasionally surreal uses of color. Directors Dario Argento and Mario Bava are particularly known for their impressionistic imagery and use of lurid colors, though other giallo directors (notably Lucio Fulci) employed more sedate, realistic styles as well. Due to their typical 1970s milieu, some commentators have also noted their potential for visual camp, especially in terms of fashion and decor.
Music has been cited as a key to the genre's unique character; critic Maitland McDonagh describes Profondo rosso (Deep Red) as an "overwhelming visceral experience...equal parts visual...and aural."  Writer Anne Billson explains, "The Giallo Sound is typically an intoxicating mix of groovy lounge music, nerve-jangling discord, and the sort of soothing lyricism that belies the fact that it's actually accompanying, say, a slow motion decapitation," (she cites as an example Ennio Morricone's score for 1971's Four Flies on Grey Velvet). Composers of note include Morricone, Bruno Nicolai, and the Italian band Goblin (all three of whom are probably best known for their collaborations with director Dario Argento, though they worked with other directors as well). Other important composers known for their work on giallo films include Riz Ortolani (composer for La ragazza dal pigiama giallo [The Girl in the yellow Pajamas]) and Fabio Frizzi (Sette note in nero aka The Psychic).
Gialli often feature lurid or baroque titles, frequently employing animal references or the use of numbers. Examples of the former trend include Sette scialli di seta gialla (Crimes of the Black Cat), Non si sevizia un paperino (Don't Torture a Duckling), La morte negli occhi del gatto (Seven Deaths in the Cat's Eye) and La tarantola dal ventre nero (Black Belly of the Tarantula); while instances of the latter include Sette note in nero (Seven Notes in Black Stars) and Giornata nera per l'ariete (The Fifth Cord).
History and Development
The first giallo novel to be adapted for film was James M. Cain's The Postman Always Rings Twice, adapted in 1943 by Luchino Visconti as Ossessione. Though the film was technically the first of Mondadori's giallo series to be adapted, its neo-realist style was markedly different from the stylized, violent character which subsequent adaptations would acquire. Condemned by the fascist government, Obsessione was eventually hailed as a landmark of neo-realist cinema, but it did not provoke any further giallo adaptations for almost 20 years.
In addition to the literary giallo tradition, early gialli were also influenced by the German "krimi" films of the early 1960s. Produced by Danish/German studio Rialto Film, these black-and-white crime movies based on Edgar Wallace stories typically featured whodunit mystery plots with a masked killer, anticipating several key components of the giallo movement by several years. Despite their link to giallo author Wallace, though, they featured little of the excessive stylization and gore which would define Italian gialli.
The Swedish director Arne Mattsson has also been pointed to as a possible influence, in particular his 1958 film Mannequin in Red. Though the film shares stylistic and narrative similarities with later giallo films (particularly its use of color and its multiple murder plot), there is no direct evidence that subsequent Italian directors had seen it.
The first "true" giallo film is usually considered to be Mario Bava's The Girl Who Knew Too Much (1963). Its title alludes to Alfred Hitchcock's classic The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934, remade by Hitchcock in 1956), highlighting the early link between gialli and Anglo-American crime stories. Though shot in black and white and lacking the lurid violence and sexuality which would define later gialli, the film has been credited with establishing the essential structure of the genre: in it, a young American tourist in Rome witnesses a murder, finds her testimony dismissed by the authorities, and must attempt to uncover the killer's identity herself. Bava drew on the krimi tradition as well as the Hitchcockian style referenced in the title, and the film's structure served as a basic template for many of the gialli that would follow.
Bava followed The Girl Who Knew Too Much the next year with the stylish and influential Blood and Black Lace (1964). It introduced a number of elements that became emblematic of the genre: a masked stalker with a shiny weapon in his black-gloved hand who brutally murders a series of glamorous fashion models. Though the movie was not a financial success at the time, the tropes it introduced (particularly its black-gloved killer, provocative sexuality, and bold use of color) would become iconic of the genre."
Several similarly-themed crime/thriller movies followed in the next few years, including early efforts from directors Antonio Margheriti (Nude... si muore [Naked You Die] in 1968), Umberto Lenzi (Orgasmo in 1968, Paranoia [A Quiet Place to Kill] and Così dolce... così perversa [So Sweet... So Perverse] in 1969) and Lucio Fulci (Una sull'altra [One on Top of the Other] in 1969), all of whom would go on to become major creative forces in the burgeoning genre. But it was Dario Argento's first feature, in 1970, that turned the giallo into a major cultural phenomenon. That film, The Bird with the Crystal Plumage, was greatly influenced by Blood and Black Lace, and introduced a new level of stylish violence and suspense that helped redefine the genre. The film was a box office smash and was widely imitated. Its success provoked a frenzy of Italian films with stylish, violent, and sexually provocative murder plots, (Argento alone made three more in the next five years) essentially cementing the genre in the public consciousness. In 1996, director Michele Soavi wrote, "there's no doubt that it was Mario Bava who started the "spaghetti thrillers" [but] Argento gave them a great boost, a turning point, a new style...'new clothes'. Mario had grown old and Dario made it his own genre... this had repercussions on genre cinema, which, thanks to Dario, was given a new lease on life." The success of The Bird with the Crystal Plumage provoked a decade which saw multiple gialli produced every year. In English-language film circles, the term "giallo" gradually became synonymous with a heavy, theatrical and stylized visual element.
The giallo genre had its heyday from 1968 through 1978, with dozens of films released. The most prolific period, however, was the three-year timespan between 1971 and 1973, during which time 65 different gialli were produced (see filmography below). Directors like Bava, Argento, Fulci, Lenzi, and Margheriti continued to produce gialli throughout the 70s and beyond, and were soon joined by other notable directors including Sergio Martino, Paolo Cavara, Armando Crispino, Ruggero Deodato and Bava's son Lamberto Bava. The genre also spread to Spain by the early 70s, resulting in films like La residencia (The House That Screamed) (1969) and Los Ojos Azules de la Muneca Rota (Blue Eyes Of The Broken Doll) (1973) which had unmistakable giallo characteristics but feature Spanish casts and production talent. Though they preceded the first giallo by a few years, German krimi films continued to be made contemporaneously with early gialli, and were also influenced by their success. As the popularity of krimis declined in Germany, Rialto Film began increasingly pairing with Italian production companies and filmmakers (such as composer Ennio Morricone and director/cinematographer Joe D'Amato, who worked on later krimi films following their successes in Italy). The overlaps between the two movements is strong enough that one of Rialto's final krimi films, Cosa avete fatto a Solange? (What Have You Done to Solange?), features an Italian director and crew and has been called a giallo in its own right.
Gialli continued to be produced throughout the 1970s and 1980s, but gradually their popularity diminished and film budgets and production values began shrinking. Director Pupi Avati satirized the genre in 1977 with a slapstick giallo titled Tutti defunti... tranne i morti.
Though the giallo cycle waned in the 1990s and saw few entries in the 2000s, they continue to be produced, notably by Argento (who in 2009 released a film actually titled Giallo, somewhat in homage to his long career in the genre) and co-directors Hélène Cattet & Bruno Forzani, whose Amer (which uses music from older giallis, including tracks by Morricone and Bruno Nicolai) received a positive critical reception upon its release in 2009. To a large degree, the genre's influence lives on in the slasher films which became enormously popular during the 1980s and drew heavily on tropes developed by earlier gialli.
The giallo cycle has had a lasting effect on horror films and murder mysteries made outside of Italy since the late 1960s. This cinematic style and unflinching content is also at the root of the gory slasher and splatter films that became widely popular in the early 1980s. In particular, two violent shockers from Mario Bava, Hatchet for the Honeymoon (1970) and Twitch of the Death Nerve (1971) were especially influential.
Early examples of the giallo effect can be seen in the British film Berserk! (1967) and the American mystery-thrillers No Way to Treat a Lady (1968), Klute (1971), Pretty Maids All in a Row (1971, based on an Italian novel), Alfred Hitchcock's Frenzy (1972), Vincent Price's Madhouse (1974) and Eyes of Laura Mars (1978). Berberian Sound Studio (2012) offers an affectionate tribute to the genre.
Director Eli Roth has called the giallo "one of my favorite, favorite subgenres of film," and specifically cited Sergio Martino's Torso (I corpi presentano tracce di violenza carnale) (along with the Spanish horror film Who Can Kill a Child?) as influential on his 2005 film Hostel, writing, "...these seventies Italian giallos start off with a group of students that are in Rome, lots of scenes in piazzas with telephoto lenses, and you get the feeling they're being watched. There's this real ominous creepy feeling. The girls are always going on some trip somewhere and they're all very smart. They all make decisions the audience would make." 
- The Girl Who Knew Too Much (Mario Bava, 1963; Italian: La ragazza che sapeva troppo) aka The Evil Eye
- The Monster of London City (1964) This German crimi film was an obvious template for the giallo form
- The Embalmer (Dino Tavella, 1964; Italian: Il mostro di Venezia / The Monster of Venice)
- Blood and Black Lace (Mario Bava, 1965; Italian: Sei donne per l'assassino / Six Women for the Murderer)
- Libido (Ernesto Gastaldi, 1965)
- The Third Eye (Mino Guerrini, 1966; Italian: Il terzo occhio)
- A For Assassin (Angelo Dorigo, 1966; Italian: A... come Assassino)
- Omicidio per appuntamento / Murder by Appointment (Mino Guerrini, 1966)
- The Murder Clinic (Elio Scardamaglia, 1966; Italian: La lama nel corpo / The Knife in the Body) aka Nights of Terror
- The Killer Without a Face (Angelo Dorigo, 1967: Italian: Assassino senza volto)
- The Sweet Body of Deborah (Romolo Guerrieri, 1968; Italian: Il dolce corpo di Deborah)
- La morte ha fatto l'uovo / Death Laid an Egg (Giulio Questi, 1968) aka Plucked, aka A Curious Way to Love
- Naked... You Die! (Antonio Margheriti, 1968, Italian: Nude... si muore) aka The Young, the Evil and the Savage, aka The Schoolgirl Killer
- Deadly Inheritance (Vittorio Sindoni, 1968; Italian: L'assassino ha le mani pulite / The Killer Has Clean Hands)
- A Black Veil for Lisa (Massimo Dallamano, 1968; Italian: La morte non ha sesso / Death Has No Sex)
- Orgasmo (Umberto Lenzi, 1968) released theatrically in USA as Paranoia
- Paranoia (Umberto Lenzi, 1969) released in USA as A Quiet Place To Kill (not to be confused with "Orgasmo")
- So Sweet...So Perverse (Umberto Lenzi, 1969; Italian: Così dolce...così perversa)
- Satan's Baby Doll (Ferrruccio Casapinta, 1969; Italian: La bambola di Satana)
- Una sull'altra / One on Top of the Other (Lucio Fulci, 1969) aka Perversion Story
- The House That Screamed (Narciso Ibáñez Serrador, 1969; Spanish: La Residencia)
- Death Knocks Twice (Harald Philip, 1969; Italian: La morte bussa due volte) aka Blonde Bait for the Murderer, aka Hard Women, aka The Blonde Connection
- Double Face (Riccardo Freda, 1969: Italian: A doppia faccia) aka Liz et Helen
- Macabre (Javier Seto, 1969; Spanish: Viaje al Vacio/ Journey into Emptiness) aka The Invisible Assassin, aka Shadow of Death
- The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (Dario Argento, 1970; Italian: L'uccello dalle piume di cristallo) aka Phantom of Terror, aka The Gallery Murders,
- Five Dolls for an August Moon (Mario Bava, 1970; Italian: 5 bambole per la luna d'agosto) aka Island of Terror
- Hatchet for the Honeymoon (Mario Bava, 1970; Italian: Il rosso segno della follia / The Red Mark of Madness) aka Blood Brides
- La morte risale a ieri sera / Death Occurred Last Night (Duccio Tessari, 1970)
- A Suitcase for a Corpse (Alfonso Brescia, 1970; Italian: Il tuo dolce corpo da uccidere / Your Sweet Body to Murder)
- Le foto proibite di una signora per bene / Forbidden Photos of a Lady Above Suspicion (Luciano Ercoli, 1970)
- Kill the Fatted Calf and Roast It (Salvatore Samperi, 1970; Italian: Uccidete il vitello grasso e arrostitelo)
- In the Folds of the Flesh (Sergio Bergonzelli, 1970; Italian: Nelle pieghe della carne)
- The Weekend Murders (Michele Lupo, 1970; Italian: Concerto per pistola solista) aka The Story of a Crime
- The Man with Icy Eyes (Alberto de Martino, 1971; Italian: L'uomo dagli occhi di ghiaccio)
- A Lizard in a Woman's Skin (Lucio Fulci, 1971; Italian: Una lucertola con la pelle di donna) aka Schizoid
- The Fifth Cord (Luigi Bazzoni, 1971; Italian: Giornata nera per l'ariete / Black Day for the Ram) aka Evil Fingers
- Oasis of Fear (Umberto Lenzi, 1971; Italian: Un posto ideale per uccidere / An Ideal Place for Murder) aka Dirty Pictures
- The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh (Sergio Martino, 1971; Italian: Lo strano vizio della Signora Wardh) aka Blade of the Ripper, aka Next!, aka The Next Victim
- The Case of the Scorpion's Tail (Sergio Martino, 1971; Italian: La coda dello scorpione / Tail of the Scorpion)
- Black Belly of the Tarantula (Paolo Cavara, 1971; Italian: La tarantola dal ventre nero)
- The Cat o' Nine Tails (Dario Argento, 1971; Italian: Il gatto a nove code) 
- The Bloodstained Butterfly (Duccio Tessari, 1971; Italian: Una farfalla con le ali insanguinate)
- Four Flies on Grey Velvet (Dario Argento, 1971; Italian: 4 mosche di velluto grigio) 
- My Dear Killer (Tonino Valerii, 1971; Italian: Mio caro assassino)
- Marta (Jose Antonio Nieves Conde, 1971; Italian: ...dopo di che, uccide il maschio e lo divora / After That, It Kills and Devours the Male)
- The Double (Romolo Guerrieri, 1971; Italian: La Controfigura)
- Cross Current (Tonino Ricci, 1971; Italian: Un Omicidio perfetto a termine di legge / A Perfect Murder According to Law)
- Twitch of the Death Nerve (Mario Bava, 1971; Italian: Reazione a catena / Chain Reaction) aka Ecologia del delitto / Ecology of Crime, aka A Bay of Blood, aka Last House on the Left, Part 2
- The Iguana with the Tongue of Fire (Riccardo Freda, 1971; Italian: L'iguana dalla lingua di fuoco)
- They Have Changed Their Face (Corrado Farina, 1971; Italian: Hanno cambiato faccia)
- Murder By Design (Maurizio Lucidi, 1971; Italian: La vittima designata / The Designated Victim)
- Slaughter Hotel (Fernando Di Leo, 1971; Italian: La bestia uccide a sangue freddo / The Beast Kills in Cold Blood) aka Asylum Erotica, aka The Cold-Blooded Beast
- The Fourth Victim (Eugenio Martin, 1971; Italian: In fondo alla piscina / At the Front of the Pool) aka Death at the Deep End of the Pool, aka La ultima senora Anderson / The Last Mrs. Anderson
- The Devil Has Seven Faces (Osvaldo Civirani, 1971; Italian: Il diavolo ha sette facce) aka The Devil with Seven Faces
- Jack the Ripper of London (Jose Luis Madrid, 1971; Spanish: Jack el destripador de Londres) aka 7 Murders for Scotland Yard, aka 7 Corpses for Scotland Yard
- Death Walks on High Heels (Luciano Ercoli, 1971; Italian: La morte cammina con i tacchi alti )
- Cold Eyes of Fear (Enzo G. Castellari, 1971; Italian: Gli occhi freddi della paura) aka Desperate Moments
- In the Eye of the Hurricane (Jose Maria Forque, 1971; Italian: La volpe dalla coda di velluto / The Fox with the Velvet Tail)
- The Glass Ceiling (Eloy de la Iglesias, 1971; Spanish: El techo de cristal) stars Patty Shepard and Emma Cohen
- The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave (Emilio Miraglia, 1971; Italian: La notte che Evelyn uscì dalla tomba)
- Amuck! (Silvio Amadio, 1972; Italian: Alla ricerca del piacere / In Pursuit of Pleasure) aka Maniac Mansion, aka Leather and Whips, aka Hot Bed of Sex
- The Red Headed Corpse (Renzo Russo, 1972; Italian: La rossa dalla pelle che scotta) aka The Sensuous Doll
- The Case of the Bloody Iris (Giuliano Carnimeo, 1972; Italian: Perché quelle strane gocce di sangue sul corpo di Jennifer? / What Are Those Strange Drops of Blood on Jennifer's Body?
- Don't Torture a Duckling (Lucio Fulci, 1972; Italian: Non si sevizia un paperino) aka The Long Night of Exorcism
- Who Killed the Prosecutor and Why? (Giuseppe Vari, 1972; Italian: Terza ipotesi su un caso di perfetta strategia criminale / Third hypothesis about a perfect criminal strategy case)
- La morte accarezza a mezzanotte / Death Walks at Midnight (Luciano Ercoli, 1972; Death Caresses at Midnight) aka Cry Out in Terror
- An Open Tomb...An Empty Coffin (Alfonso Balcazar, 1972; Spanish: La casa de las muertas vivientes / House of the Living Dead Women)
- Who Saw Her Die? (Aldo Lado, 1972; Italian: Chi l'ha vista morire?)
- A White Dress for Marialé (Romano Scavolini, 1972; Italian: Un bianco vestito per Marialé) aka Spirits of Death
- Your Vice Is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key (Sergio Martino, 1972; Italian: Il tuo vizio è una stanza chiusa e solo io ne ho la chiave) aka Gently Before She Dies, aka Eye of the Black Cat, aka Excite Me!
- French Sex Murders (Ferdinando Merighi, 1972; Italian: Casa d'appuntamento) aka The Bogey Man and the French Murders
- Smile of the Hyena (Silvio Amadio, 1972; Italian: Il sorriso della iena) aka Smile Before Death
- What Have You Done to Solange? (Massimo Dallamano, 1972; Italian: Cosa avete fatto a Solange?) aka Secret of the Green Pins, aka Who's Next?, aka Terror in the Woods
- Il coltello di ghiaccio / Knife of Ice (Umberto Lenzi, 1972) aka Detrás del Silencio, aka Vertigine
- Murder Mansion (Francisco Lara Polop, 1972; Italian: Quando Marta urlò dalla tomba / When Marta Screamed from the Grave) aka The House in the Fog
- All the Colors of the Dark (Sergio Martino, 1972; Italian: Tutti i colori del buio) aka Day of the Maniac, aka They're Coming to Get You!
- The Killer Is on the Phone (Alberto de Martino, 1972; Italian: L'assassino e' al telefono) aka Scenes From a Murder
- Tropic of Cancer (Edoardo Mulargia, 1972; Italian: Al Tropico del Cancro) aka Death in Haiti
- The Dead Are Alive (Armando Crispino, 1972; Italian: L'etrusco uccide ancora / The Etruscan Kills Again)
- So Sweet, So Dead (Roberto Montero, 1972; Italian: Rivelazione di un maniaco sessuale) aka The Slasher is the Sex Maniac, aka Penetration
- Delirium (Renato Polselli, 1972; Italian: Delirio caldo)
- The Short Night of the Glass Dolls (Aldo Lado, 1972; Italian: La corta notte delle bambole di vetro) aka Paralyzed
- Seven Blood-Stained Orchids (Umberto Lenzi, 1972; Italian: Sette orchidee macchiate di rosso)
- The Crimes of the Black Cat (Sergio Pastore, 1972; Italian: Sette scialli di seta gialla / Seven Shawls of Yellow Silk)
- Naked Girl Killed in the Park (Alfonso Brescia, 1972; Italian: Ragazza tutta nuda assassinata nel parco)
- The Two Faces of Fear (Tulio Demichelli, 1972; Italian: I due volti della paura)
- The Red Queen Kills Seven Times (Emilio Miraglia, 1972; Italian: La dama rossa uccide sette volte) aka Blood Feast, aka Feast of Flesh
- Death Carries a Cane (Maurizio Pradeux, 1973) Italian: Passi di danza su una lama di rasoio / Dance Steps on a Razor's Edge; aka Maniac at Large, aka Tormentor
- Torso (Sergio Martino, 1973; Italian: I corpi presentano tracce di violenza carnale / The Bodies Show Traces of Carnal Violence)
- The Flower with the Petals of Steel (Gianfranco Piccioli, 1973; Italian: Il fiore dai petali d'acciaio) aka The Flower with the Deadly Sting
- Seven Deaths in the Cat's Eye (Antonio Margheriti, 1973; Italian: La morte negli occhi del gatto / Death in the Eyes of the Cat)
- Blue Eyes of the Broken Doll (Carlos Aured, 1973; Spanish: Los ojos azules de la muñeca rota) aka House of Psychotic Women
- The Bloodstained Lawn (Riccardo Ghione, 1973; Italian: Il prato macchiato di rosso)
- Love and Death on the Edge of a Razor (Giusseppe Pellegrini, 1973; Italian: Giorni d'amore sul filo di una lama) aka Muerte au Rasoir
- The Girl in Room 2-A (William Rose, 1973, Italian: La casa della paura / The House of Fear) aka The Perversions of Mrs. Grant
- L'arma, l'ora, il movente / The Weapon, the Hour, the Motive (Francesco Mazzei, 1973)
- No One Heard the Scream (Eloy de la Iglesia, 1973; Spanish: Nadie oyó gritar)
- The Perfume of the Lady in Black (Francesco Barilli, 1973; Italian: Il profumo della signora in nero)
- Five Women for the Killer (Stelvio Massi, 1974; Italian: Cinque donne per l'assassino)
- Spasmo (Umberto Lenzi, 1974)
- Puzzle (Duccio Tessari, 1974; Italian: L'uomo senza memoria / The Man Without a Memory)
- A Dragonfly For Each Corpse (León Klimovsky, 1974; Spanish: Una libélula para cada muerto)
- The Killer Reserved Nine Seats (Giuseppe Benati, 1974; Italian: L'assassino ha riservato nove poltrone)
- What Have They Done to Your Daughters? (Massimo Dallamano, 1974; Italian: La polizia chiede aiuto / The Police Need Help) aka The Co-ed Murders
- Ciak...si muore (Mario Moroni, 1974; rough translation: Click...She Dies)
- The Killer Is One of the Thirteen (Javier Aguirre, 1974; Spanish: El asesino está entre los trece)
- The Killer Wore Gloves (Juan Bosch, 1974; Spanish: La Muerte llama a las diez / Death Calls at Ten) aka Le calde labbra del carnefice / The Hot Lips of the Killer
- The Killer With a Thousand Eyes (Juan Bosch, 1974; Spanish: Los mil ojos del asesino) aka On The Edge
- The Fish With the Gold Eyes (Pedro Luis Ramirez, 1974, Spanish: El pez del los ojos de oro)
- Eyeball (Umberto Lenzi, 1975; Italian: Gatti rossi in un labirinto di vetro / Red Cats in a Glass Maze) aka Wide-Eyed in the Dark
- Autopsy (Armando Crispino, 1975); Italian: Macchie solari / Sunspots
- The Killer Must Kill Again (Luigi Cozzi, 1975; Italian: L'assassino è costretto ad uccidere ancora) aka Il Ragno (The Spider), aka The Dark is Death's Friend
- All the Screams of Silence (Ramon Barco, 1975, Spanish: Todo los gritos del silencio)
- Deep Red (Dario Argento, 1975; Italian: Profondo rosso) aka The Hatchet Murders 
- Nude per l'assassino / Strip Nude for Your Killer (Andrea Bianchi, 1975; Translation: Naked for the Killer)
- Reflections in Black (Tano Cimarosa, 1975; Italian: Il vizio ha le calze nere / Vice Wears Black Hose)
- The Suspicious Death of a Minor (Sergio Martino, 1975; Italian: Morte sospetta di una minorenne) aka Too Young to Die
- The Bloodsucker Leads the Dance (Alfredo Rizzo, 1975; Italian: La sanguisuga conduce la danza) aka The Passion of Evelyn
- A tutte le auto della polizia (Mario Caiano, 1975; English: Calling All Police Cars)
- Snapshot of a Crime (Mario Imperoli, 1975; Italian: Istantanea per un delitto)
- The House with Laughing Windows (Pupi Avati, 1976; Italian: La casa dalle finestre che ridono)
- Plot of Fear (Paolo Cavara, 1976; Italian: E tanta paura)
- Death Steps in the Dark (Maurizio Pradeux, 1977; Italian: Passi di morte perduti nel buio)
- Crazy Desires of a Murderer (Filippo Walter Ratti, 1977; Italian: I vizi morbosi di una governante)
- Sette note in nero / The Psychic (Lucio Fulci, 1977) aka Murder to the Tune of Seven Black Notes
- Suspiria (Dario Argento, 1977) 
- The Pajama Girl Case (Flavio Mogherini, 1977; Italian: La ragazza dal pigiama giallo / The Girl in the Yellow Pyjamas)
- Watch Me When I Kill (Antonio Bido, 1977; Italian: Il gatto dagli occhi di giada / The Cat with the Jade Eyes) aka The Cat's Victims
- The Monster (Luigi Zampa, 1977; Italian: Il Mostro) aka Criminal
- Hotel Fear (Francesco Barilli, 1977; Italian: Pensione Paura)
- Nine Guests for a Crime (Ferdinando Baldi, 1977; Italian: 9 ospiti per un delitto) aka A Cry in the Night
- The Sister of Ursula (Enzo Milioni, 1978; Italian: La sorella di Ursula) aka La muerte tiene ojos / Death Has Eyes
- Red Rings of Fear (Alberto Negrin, 1978; Italian: Enigma rosso) aka Virgin Terror, aka Trauma, aka Rings of Fear
- The Bloodstained Shadow (Antonio Bido, 1978; Italian: Solamente nero / Only Blackness)
- The Perfect Crime (Giuseppe Rosati, 1978; Italian: Indagine su un delitto perfetto)
- Killer Nun (Giulio Berutti, 1979; Italian: Suir omicidi) aka Deadly Habit
- Thrilling in Venice (Mario Landi, 1979) aka Giallo in Venice, aka Giallo a Venezia, aka Giallo, Venetian Style
- Inferno (Dario Argento, 1980) 
- Thrauma (Gianni Martucci, 1980; Italian: Il mistero della casa maledetta / Mystery of the Cursed House) aka Trauma
- Murder Obsession (Riccardo Freda, 1980; Italian: Follia omicida) aka Fear, aka The Wailing, aka The Murder Syndrome
- The Secret of Seagull Island (Nestore Ungaro, 1981; Italian: L'isola del gabbiano)
- Madhouse (Ovidio Assonitis, 1981) aka There Was a Little Girl
- Tenebrae (Dario Argento, 1982) aka Unsane 
- The Scorpion with Two Tails (Sergio Martino, 1982; Italian: Assassinio al cimitero etrusco / Murder in the Etruscan Cemetery)
- A Blade in the Dark (Lamberto Bava, 1982; Italian: La casa con la scala nel buio / The House with the Dark Staircase)
- The New York Ripper (Lucio Fulci, 1982; Italian: Lo squartatore di New York)
- Carnal Crime (Cesare Canaveri, 1982; English: Delitto Carnale)
- Extrasensorial (Alberto de Martino, 1983) aka Blood Link
- Mystère (Carlo Vanzina, 1983) aka Murder Near Perfect
- The House of the Yellow Carpet (Carlo Lizzani, 1983; Italian: La casa del tappeto giallo)
- Murder Rock (Lucio Fulci, 1984; Italian: Murderock - uccide a passo di danza) aka The Demon Is Loose!, aka Murder Rock - Dancing Death
- Nothing Underneath (Carlo Vanzina, 1985; Italian: Sotto il vestito niente / The Last Shot)
- Sweets from a Stranger (Franco Ferrini, 1985; Italian: Caramelle da uno sconosciuto)
- Formula For a Murder (Alberto de Martino, 1985) aka 7 Hyden Park - La casa maledetta
- The House with the Blue Shutters (Beppe Cino, 1986; Italian: La casa del buon ritorno)
- The Killer Has Returned (Camillo Teti, 1986; Italian: L'assassino è ancora tra noi)
- Delitti (Giovanna Lenzi, 1986; English: Crimes)
- You'll Die at Midnight (Lamberto Bava, 1986; Italian: Morirai a mezzanotte) aka The Midnight Killer, aka Midnight Horror
- The Monster of Florence (Cesare Ferrario, 1986; Italian: Il mostro di firenze)
- Phantom of Death (Ruggero Deodato, 1987; Italian: Un delitto poco comune / An Uncommon Crime) aka Off Balance
- Stage Fright (Michele Soavi, 1987; Italian: Deliria) aka Aquarius, aka Bloody Bird
- Delirium (Lamberto Bava, 1987; Italian: Le foto di Gioia / Photos of Gioia)
- Body Count / Body Count (Ruggero Deodato, 1987) aka Camping del terrore, aka The Eleventh Commandment
- Too Beautiful to Die (Dario di Piana, 1988; Italian: Sotto il vestito niente 2 / Nothing Underneath 2)
- Dial: Help (Ruggero Deodato, 1988; Italian: Minaccia d'amore / Love Threat)
- Delitti e profumi (Vittorio De Sisti, 1988) aka Crimes and Perfume
- Obsession: A Taste for Fear (Piccio Raffanini, 1988; Italian: Pathos - Un sapore di paura)
- Opera (Dario Argento, 1988) aka Terror at the Opera 
- The Murder Secret (Mario Bianchi, Lucio Fulci, 1988; Italian: Non aver paura della zia Marta / Don't Be Afraid of Aunt Martha) aka Aunt Martha Does Dreadful Things
- Massacre (Andrea Bianchi, 1989)
- Nightmare Beach (Umberto Lenzi, 1989) aka Welcome To Spring Break
- Arabella, the Black Angel (Stelvio, 1989) aka Black Angel
1990s – to present
- Homicide in Blue Light (Alfonso Brescia, 1991; Italian: Omicidio a luci blu)
- Trauma (Dario Argento, 1992) aka Dario Argento's Trauma
- Misteria (Lamberto Bava, 1992) aka Body Puzzle
- Circle of Fear (Aldo Lado, 1992) aka The Perfect Alibi
- Dangerous Attraction (Bruno Mattei, 1993)
- Eyes Without a Face (Bruno Mattei, 1994; Italian; Gli occhi dentro)
- The Strange Story of Olga O (Antonio Bonifacio, 1995) written by Ernesto Gastaldi
- The Stendhal Syndrome (Dario Argento, 1996; Italian: La sindrome di Stendhal) 
- The House Where Corinne Lived (Maurizio Lucidi, 1996; Italian: La casa dove abitava Corinne)
- Fatal Frames (Al Festa, 1996)
- The Wax Mask (Sergio Stivaletti, 1997; Italian: M.D.C. – Maschera di cera)
- Milonga (Emidio Greco, 1999)
- Sleepless (Dario Argento, 2001; Italian: Non ho sonno)
- The Card Player (Dario Argento, 2004; Italian: Il cartaio)
- Eyes of Crystal (Eros Puglielli, 2004; Italian: Occhi di cristallo)
- The Vanity Serum (Alex Infascelli, 2004; Italian: Il siero della vanità)
- Do You Like Hitchcock? (Dario Argento, 2005; Italian: Ti piace Hitchcock?)
- Giallo (Dario Argento, 2009)
- Amer (Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani, 2009)
- Masks (Andreas Marschall, 2011)
- Tulpa (Federico Zampaglione, 2012)
- Sonno Profondo (Luciano Onetti, 2013)
- The Strange Color of Your Body's Tears (Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani, 2014; French: L'étrange couleur des larmes de ton corps)
- The Editor (Matthew Kennedy and Adam Brooks, 2014)
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- Hunt, Leon (Autumn 1992). "A (Sadistic) Night at the Opera: Notes on the Italian Horror Film". Velvet Light Trap 30: 74.
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- McDonagh, Maitland (March 22, 2010). Broken Mirrors/Broken Minds: The Dark Dreams of Dario Argento. Univ Of Minnesota Press. p. 14. ISBN 081665607X.
- Soavi, Michele (1996). "Michele Soavi Interview". In Palmerini, Luca M.; Mistretta, Gaetano. Spaghetti Nightmares. Fantasma Books. p. 147. ISBN 0963498274.
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- Hanke, Ken (2003), "The Lost Horror Film Series: The Edgar Wallace Kirmis.", in Schnieder, Steven Jay, In Fear without Frontiers: Horror Cinema across the Globe, Godalming, UK: FAB Press, pp. 111–123
- Kerswell, J.A. (2012). The slasher movie book. Chicago Review Press. pp. 54–55. ISBN 1556520107.
- Roth, Eli (October 10, 2014). Watch: Eli Roth Talks Giallo-Inspired 'House with the Laughing Windows' (Video Short) (in English). Thompson on Hollywood. Retrieved 25 March 2015.
- Roth, Eli (November 1, 2007). ELI ROTH PRESENTS THE BEST HORROR MOVIES YOU'VE NEVER SEEN. Interview with Joe Utichi. Rotten Tomatoes.
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- Rockoff, Adam (April 2002). Going to Pieces: The Rise and Fall of the Slasher Film, 1978 to 1986. McFarland & Company. ISBN 978-0-7864-1227-3. Retrieved 8 July 2012.
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- Giallo at Allmovie
- The Do-It-Yourself Giallo Title & Plot Generator at BrainEater