Blu-ray Review: Giallo Essentials

Andrea at work

Over the last decade or so, giallo has become increasingly popular. As a sub-genre it has always had an ardent set of fans and has garnered an almost cult-like status, but its influence has started seeping into mainstream horror cinema. Its heady mix of bloody style, pulpish crime and often bizarre mystery has proved to be a winning formula. With Giallo Essentials, Arrow Video brings together three of the more impressive examples showcasing what it has to offer.

The Possessed

Shrouded in mystery, Luigi Bazzoni’s film riffs off an infamous murder case to create a curious enigma. A depressed novelist (Peter Baldwin) searches for an old flame (Virna Lisi) and in the process becomes embroiled with a dark and disturbing family history. Highly influenced by film noir, The Possessed harks back to the days of the intrepid gumshoe, hot on the trail of justice.

The Fifth Cord

When people start dying around him, Andrea (Franco Nero) find himself both chief suspect and also the most likely person to solve the puzzle. Bazzoni plays heavily off early Hitchcock to create an intelligent and multi-layered crime thriller. Nero is great as the downtrodden hero who faces a race against time to clear his name.

The Pyjama Girl Case

Based on one of Australia’s most notorious unsolved murders, when a young woman’s body is found on the beach, the police have their suspect. However, one man, a retired detective (Ray Milland), is not convinced. Flavio Mogherini’s film plays with dial narratives to build up a picture of a heinous crime and a flawed investigation.

Special edition contents:

  • Brand new 2K restorations of the film from the original camera negative for The Possessed, The Fifth Cord and The Pyjama Girl Case
  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentations of each film
  • Original lossless mono Italian and English soundtracks
  • Newly translated English subtitles for the Italian soundtracks
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for the English soundtracks
  • Rigid box packaging with newly designed artwork by Adam Rabalais in a windowed Giallo Essentials Collection slipcover

The Possessed

  • New audio commentary by writer and critic Tim Lucas
  • Richard Dyer on The Possessed, a newly filmed video appreciation by the cultural critic and academic
  • Cat’s Eyes, an interview with the film’s makeup artist Giannetto De Rossi
  • Two Days a Week, an interview with the film’s award-winning assistant art director Dante Ferretti
  • The Legacy of the Bazzoni Brothers, an interview with actor/director Francesco Barilli, a close friend of Luigi and Camillo Bazzoni
  • Original trailers
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Sean Phillips

The Fifth Cord

  • New audio commentary by critic Travis Crawford
  • Lines and Shadows, a new video essay on the film’s use of architecture and space by critic Rachael Nisbet
  • Whisky Giallore, a new video interview with author and critic Michael Mackenzie
  • Black Day for Nero, a new video interview with actor Franco Nero
  • The Rhythm Section, a new video interview with film editor Eugenio Alabiso
  • Rare, previously unseen deleted sequence, restored from the original negative
  • Original Italian and English theatrical trailers
  • Image gallery
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Haunt Love

The Pyjama Girl Case

  • New audio commentary by Troy Howarth, author of So Deadly, So Perverse: 50 Years of Italian Giallo Films
  • New video interview with author and critic Michael Mackenzie on the internationalism of the giallo
  • New video interview with actor Howard Ross
  • New video interview with editor Alberto Tagliavia
  • Archival interview with composer Riz Ortolani
  • Image gallery
  • Italian theatrical trailer
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Chris Malbon

Giallo Essential is released on Blu-ray by Arrow Video on 25 October.

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