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Ciao Monster fiends, correspond with MIFF’s wonderful line up of great Giallo films all set to kick it, or in this case, stab it on the big screen. I’ve decided to take you on a bit of a freaked out trip down the lane of five of the most, nasty, fucked up, Giallos ever made.

What the hell is a Giallo? A Giallo is a Hitchcockian type thriller, usually made in Italy, that has the violence and sex cranked into hyperdrive. They are the sophisticated older brother to the 80’s Slasher film. They usually have lots of visual flair and stylish camera work and often feature faceless, black gloved killers. The first one is said to be Mario Bava’s The Girl Who Knew Too Much (1963). The most famous examples being: Dario Argento’s Deep Red (1975) and Brian De Pama’s Dressed to Kill (1980).

Anyway turn on the tube and crank out the lube. Let’s get down and dirty with these 5 suckers….

Giallo in Venezia (1979)  Dir. Mario Landi

This saucy little dish of moral outrage is not only a sight for sore eyes but also in some cases here… sore vaginas. If not the most morally corrupted Giallo out of the whole bunch, it’s definitely one of the sleaziest ones.

This film doesn’t concentrate on the traditional ‘who done it’ sensibilities of the Giallo’s usual framework, instead it wallows in the smut and violence on display. Not much of a story apart from the detective trying to work out why dead bodies keep on appearing.  Could any of this be related to our main characters, who are a couple that spends most their of on-screen time fucking in public, or masturbating while their partner screws other people?

Who cares? We’re here for the debauchery and violence! Crotches are stabbed with scissors and people are sexually humiliated. The beautiful Mariangela Giordano has her leg sawn off and much, much more. Most Giallo’s usually look visually fairly stunning but not this. It’s from Mario Landi who gave us the equally disturbing Patrick Still Lives, which I’ll be covering next week.

New York Ripper (1982) Dir.Lucio Fulci

Although not Fulci’s best Giallo, it’s definitely qualifies as the nastiest and most memorable. This film oozes misogyny like Oprah likes cake. Several women have turned up ‘brown bread’ and detective Fred Williams is on the case. Could it be a duck voiced killer overheard by one of the victims landlady’s or perhaps someone else?

The sleaze is working overtime in this one: nipples and eyeballs are sliced with razors, faces have holes shot through them, and a woman is jabbed in the crotch with a broken bottle and cut upwards. It also has a rich woman who enjoys getting toe fucked by strangers in a cafe. Is promiscuity the reason these ladies are dying? You won’t know ‘til the end as Lucio throws ridiculous red herrings at you, one after the other. A truly repulsive but enjoyable piece of celluloid.

Strip Nude for your Killer (1975) Dir. Andrea Bianchi.

A hot, young model kicks the proverbial bucket, in a back alley abortion ‘clinic’. This triggers the deaths of her abortionist and the her associates from the modelling agency, by a motorbike helmet wearing nutter. Who could it be? This is quite a well paced flick from the director of Burial Ground; Andrea Bianchi. The female cast spends a large portion of the film naked and some of the scenes are beyond belief, including one scene in which a girl prevents being raped by succumbing to her attacker in one of the least PC scenes you could see. There’s a fair bit of humour here which lightens things a little and it’s not hard picking the killer either. Like some of the other films listed here, this is more of a nutty, visual feast rather than a psychological one.

The Beast Kills in Cold Blood (1971) Dir. Fernando Leo.

This sucker stars Klaus Kinski whose the head doctor at a mental asylum for women, good looking ones at that. His patients do nothing but lay around masturbating; with insert shots that looked to be tacked on, showing fingers in vaginas and what not. It’s also a very well shot film, and a lot of the set pieces look marvelous. The killing scenes are done well and a variety of medieval weapons are used to off the victims. One subplot of the film concerns one of the inmate’s relationship with her brother; adding just a little more grime to proceedings. A pre-Halloween killers POV is also utilized in this. The ending seems tacked on and terrible and Kinski only appears for about 10 – 15 minutes or so. Despite this all the sex and nudity make up for anything else the film is lacking and it proves quite enjoyable. I also hear there are versions which contain a shocking disembowelment which wasn’t present in the cut I viewed. Don’t miss the last 5 minutes.

The Sisters of Ursula (1978)

Sexually, it’s pretty hard for a soft-core film. The film details the story of two sisters who go hunting for their real mother. They decide to stay at a hotel where the promiscuous guests seemed to get off first. This is loaded with sex from lesbian scenes to close ups of female genitals, arse licking, to bizarre masturbation. Most of the murders are off screen although you do get to soak in the aftermaths of these grizzly killings. It features Barbara Magnolfi from Argento’s Suspiria and the killer utilizes my favourite weapon of all time: A GIANT WOODEN DILDO! One aftermath features a dead female bleeding from her vagina. However this film is very badly plotted but makes up for things by looking quite nice.

Jason Driver

About the author: Admin

Monster Pictures is a Melbourne-based distribution / production company dedicated to delivering the most energetic, unique, creative, innovative, provocative, bizarre, frightening, challenging, surreal, offbeat, absurd, twisted, demented, raunchy, cinema in the world today.


  1. Bryn says:

    Nice one Jason.
    Where did you source the movies from?
    What are your top five favourite gialli from across the board?

    1. jason Driver says:

      Hello Bryn. Thanks for inquiring into my article. I already owned all the films on vhs or disc bar Sisters of Ursula. That i had to source from elsewhere.There was another film i was going to include called The Killer is Still among us but i couldn’t get my hands on it in time. Let me know by email if you want me to inform you where to get the best versions of each film. 🙂 My top 5 hmmm. There is still lots i need to see but Don’t Torture a Duckling, Tenebre , Autopsy,Terror at the Opera and Lizard in Womens’ Skin. Love all the Argento and Fulci ones obviously. Oh and thanks to J66 for the following info….” Rings of Fear (1978) and Without Trace aka Calling All Police Cars (1975) both feature marital aids as instruments of terror and/or murder”.

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