wdanthemanw | Geneva, Switzerland | 08/14/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In my opinion, this Anchor Bay box set is by far one of the major DVD releases of the year 2002. These DVDs let us rediscover four italian movies directed in the seventies and unfortunately half forgotten nowadays. They belong to a peculiar genre the "giallo", a genre whose prominent figures are or were, until this release came out, Mario Bava and Dario Argento.Two of these movies are masterpieces, SHORT NIGHT OF THE GLASS DOLLS and WHO SAW HER DIE ?, both directed by Aldo Lado. The first one is more a mystery thriller than a pure giallo with his hero Jean Sorel, left for dead in the pragian morgue and trying to remember what has happened to him while the doctors prepare his autopsy. Really frightening, a movie that creates the same terror in you than another masterpiece of the genre : George Sluizer's THE VANISHING.WHO SAW HER DIE ? is a movie shot entirely in Venice, Italy with a haunting musical score by Ennio Morricone. The uneasiness you feel during the movie is greatly increased by the fact that the killer's main victim is a child who's the main character of WHO SAW HER DIE ? during the first 20 minutes of the film. Terrifying.Giuliano Carnimeo's THE CASE OF THE BLOODY IRIS is perhaps the movie of the box set that fits the best in the giallo category. One or two sexy scenes with Edwige Fenech, a madman hidden in the apartment of an old lady, subjective points of view that create the nervous tension, policemen with the I.Q. of an houseplant and knives as the main companion of the killer. Antonio Bido's THE BLOOD STAINED SHADOW is, in my opinion, the weakest of the movies presented here but still presents excellent scenes in a Venice that isn't Venice (the movie was shot in an island nearby), specially the last scene in the church.Anchor Bay has had the excellent idea to interview the directors of these movies who, in 10 minutes, manage to create in us the desire to discover their entire filmography. Superb work on the images and the sound too. A must-buy.A box set that should already be in your library."
Four chilling classics
Jeffrey Leach | Omaha, NE USA | 01/05/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Antonio Bido's "The Bloodstained Shadow" begins by introducing us to a scholar named Stephano (Lino Capolicchio) returning home after many years for a visit with his brother Father Paul (Craig Hill), the local priest. Right from the start, the film also introduces us to some tensions in this little town. Paul hints at problems he has had with a few locals involved in some sort of séance group. The members consist of Nardi (Juliette Mayniel), a woman who acts as a midwife to pregnant mothers but harbors a secret she keeps hidden in her house; Count Pedrazzi (Massimo Serato), an unsavory character whose hatred for Father Paul knows no bounds and who is involved in suspicious activities with his assistant and the town's younger citizens; and a doctor who accidentally shot and killed his wife years before while cleaning a firearm. A nice bunch, eh? All suspects in the coming bloodbath, too. On the very first night Stephano spends with his brother, the murder of the woman who leads these séances takes place right outside. Father Paul witnesses the crime, in fact, but is too late to do anything to prevent the tragedy. Oddly, both Stephano and his personal assistant were outside at the time. Throw in strange paintings, Stephano's flashbacks, and a conclusion torn right from Fulci's "Don't Torture a Duckling" and you have the makings of a great giallo.
Aldo Lado's "Who Saw Her Die?" is a confusing film. I haven't seen a movie this messy since...well...never, actually. Even in the convoluted world of the giallo, "Who Saw Her Die?" stands as a cryptic statement. It's only redeeming feature in terms of plot are the relatively easy to follow opening sequences. The film begins in 1968 on some snow-capped mountains as a girl and her mother play around in the snow. Soon the young girl zips down the hill on her sled, moves out of sight of her mother, and runs straight into the hands of a killer wearing a black veil. After completing the nasty deed, the murderer buries the redheaded girl in the snow. There is no explanation for this crime. Then the film jumps ahead four years to Venice, where we soon meet Franco Serpieri (George Lazenby!) and his redheaded daughter Roberta (Nicoletta Elmi). A sculptor with talent, Franco divorced his wife Elizabeth (Anita Strindberg) some time before and only gets to spend time with his daughter once in awhile. After a few scenes used to establish the father and daughter connection, and another scene in which the girl meets up with one of her dad's creepy acquaintances, Roberta suddenly disappears after playing with a group of local kids. Cue the mystery and its ultimate resolution, if you can follow it.
It's much easier to follow the plot of "The Case of the Bloody Iris." Andrea Barto (George Hilton) is the owner of an apartment plagued with problems. When a young lady with an unusual wrestling job (watch and see) perishes in the apartment thanks to a black-gloved killer, Barto approaches models Jennifer Lansbury (Edwige Fenech) and her friend Marilyn (Paola Quattrini) with a great deal. He offers them the spacious apartment for a song, a piece of luck the two attractive women can't believe is true. Of course, there's the murder to worry about, but its resolution is only a matter of time with Inspector Enci (Giampiero Albertini) on the case. Enci is an odd duck, a man given to shouting at his insubordinates while he roots through people's mail in search of new stamps to collect. Anyway, Barto makes the offer and the girls agree. They're so happy about the deal that Jennifer strikes up a torrid relationship with Andrea despite increasing suspicion that he might be involved in the murder. Too, Jennifer's jealous ex-husband Adam (Ben Carra) presents a formidable challenge; he's the leader of a free love type cult Lansbury left after she tired of starring as the main attraction on the activities roster. The title of the film refers to the flower Jennifer's husband uses in his free love ceremonies.
Whereas "Who Saw Her Die?" took place in Venice, Lado's "Short Night of Glass Dolls" takes place in Prague, Czechoslovakia. As the film opens, a groundskeeper finds the lifeless body of a journalist named Gregory (Jean Sorel) in a thicket. Not surprisingly, he calls in the authorities, who arrive and move the body to the local morgue in the hopes of discovering its identity and the cause of death. But Gregory, we soon learn, is not dead. Rather, he's in a cataleptic state as a result of an injection brought about by an odd series of events. The journalist tells us his story in flashback as the morgue doctors go about their grim task. At one point a physician friend of the reporter arrives to identify the body, and expresses astonishment when he notices that Gregory's temperature seems higher than it should be. This doctor attempts to revive his friend since cases supposedly exist where someone who appeared dead did in fact wake up. Alas, there are also cases where a deceased individual's temperature remained elevated for some time after death. Thus it comes as no great disappointment when the attempts fail to bring the reporter back to life. It's an enormous disappointment to Gregory, however. Especially when they wheel him in for his autopsy...
I love giallo films and I love this box set. All of the films come with a few extras, usually a trailer and filmography, but on three of the four discs Anchor Bay also gives us short interviews with the directors. According to some sources, a second collection of four more films may arrive sometime this year. I hope so since I'm rapidly running out of new gialli to watch. "The Giallo Collection" is a great place to start for those beginning their journey through the wonderful world of the giallo.
I'll have a classic "Giallo" (collection) please!!
Francis DeMarco | Worcester, Massachusetts United States | 03/07/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This "giallo" collection, (giallo, meaning "yellow", being the color of the covers of classic Italian, mystery, murder, sleaze, novels, back in the 60's and 70's. My grandfather had many, bringing them back from this great country of Italy, from which he was born.) is a classic, in every sense of the word.Although others that shared their comments on this page, concerning these great movies, may differ a little, in what was the best of the best, in their choice. I'm sure I can speak for most, if not all of them, that we all agree that this is a great package deal. These are all great, classic giallos of the genre. But certainly, not as graphic, or gory, as some fans of this great genre have come to expect, from the likes of The Maestro, Dario Argento, or the great Mario Bava. They all seem to rely more on suspense, and the suspense of the unknown. Which can be just as frightening in it's own right.Take the advice from the other comments you may have read on this page. It's more than worth it."
Excellent Collection of Rare Thrillers
The Magician | New York, NY | 06/25/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"For fans (or even those who are just curious) of European trash cinema this box is a steal.
The four films are fairly well-made, stylish examples of the giallo film made popular by Mario Bava and Dario Argento in the late sixties. And while the films included in this collection are not up to the high standard of those masters they are excellent.
The widescreen transfers are excellent--clear, detailed and colorful--they probably didn't look this good during their original release. The menu design on each disc is quite cool--each accompanied by a memorable piece of their respective scores.
"Short Night of Glass Dolls" is quite slow but fairly rewarding with a great concept and a haunting conclusion.
"Who Saw Her Die?" is by far my favorite of the set. A disturbing tale of child murders set in a creepy Venetian landscape and enhanced by a great Ennio Morricone score. Very well-crafted, acted, engrossing, suspenseful, artful... this is a superb example of the giallo... and one you won't be embarrassed to show your friends.
"The Bloodstained Shadow" is the worst of the set. It's a moderately entertaining hodge-podge of scenes cribbed from far stronger giallos, most notably "Deep Red". It does have good performances, well-composed compositions and some decent set pieces such as a murder via motor boat to keep you watching. However, the synth score is one of the most annoying I've ever heard and drags it down further.
The trashiest (and easily the most fun) is "Case of the Bloody Iris". The story has a black-gloved (of course) maniac is knocking off the groovy tenants of an apartment building. The beautiful Edwige Fenech plays a fashion model who's on the killer's list. This one has an insanely catchy theme that will ring in your head for hours. The film is only available in the box set so get it while it lasts!"