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Bloodstained Narratives - The Giallo Film in Italy and Abroad

Bloodstained Narratives

The Giallo Film in Italy and Abroad

Edited by Matthew Edwards & Fernando Gabriel Pagnoni Berns
Series: Horror and Monstrosity Studies Series

Hardcover : 9781496844453, 288 pages, 27 b&w illustrations, March 2023
Paperback : 9781496844460, 288 pages, 27 b&w illustrations, March 2023

Critical essays on the transnational thriller genre that influenced myriad horror films


Contributions by Donald L. Anderson, Brian Brems, Eric Brinkman, Matthew Edwards, Brenda S. Gardenour Walter, Andrew Grossman, Lisa Haegele, Gavin F. Hurley, Mikel J. Koven, Sharon Jane Mee, Fernando Gabriel Pagnoni Berns, Émilie von Garan, Connor John Warden, and Sean Woodard

The giallo (yellow) film cycle, characterized by its bloody murders and blending of high art and cinematic sleaze, rose to prominence in Italy in the 1960s and 1970s. Beginning with Mario Bava’s The Girl Who Knew Too Much (1963) and Dario Argento’s The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (1970), giallo films influenced the American slasher films of the 1980s and attracted an increasingly large fandom.

In Bloodstained Narratives: The Giallo Film in Italy and Abroad, contributors explore understudied aspects of gialli. The chapters introduce readers to a wide range of films, including masterpieces from Argento and overlooked gems, all of them examined in close detail. Rather than understanding giallo as focalized exclusively in Italy in the 1970s, this collection explores the extension of gialli narratives abroad through different geographies and times. This book examines Italian gialli of the 1970s as well as American neo-gialli, French productions, Canadian horror films of the 1980s, and Asian rewritings of this “yellow” cycle of crime/horror films. Bloodstained Narratives also features interviews with two giallo film directors, including cult favorite Antonio Bido. Rather than fading from the cinematic stage, gialli serves as a precursor and steady accomplice to horror-thriller films through the twenty-first century.


"Bloodstained Narratives wonderfully embodies the range of responses to and readings of the giallo, showing that much of the discourse rarely meets any comprehensive consensus, which is a particular advantage of this collection."

- Wickham Clayton, author of SEE! HEAR! CUT! KILL! Experiencing “Friday the 13th” and editor of Style and Form in the Hollywood Slasher Film

"Edwards and Pagnoni Berns apply their critical tools to a genre that has been dissected innumerable times and yet manage to draw fresh blood from it. Bloodstained Narratives teems with ideas, speculations, and thought-provoking analyses on both well-known and obscure titles. It adds much-welcome new perspectives that no one had touched before and proves that the giallo is a field well worth investigating."

- Roberto Curti, film historian and author of several books on Italian genre cinema

"Very, very interesting stuff"

- Giallo Ciao! Ciao! podcast

"The sharp, passionate writing in Bloodstained Narratives highlights the genre’s connections to current cinema and shows the debt many writer-directors owe to the blood-drenched masterpieces of Italy."

- Christopher Schobert, The Film Stage

"Included are deep dives into specific titles, an analysis of the genre’s roots in postwar Italy, and giallo’s influence on directors outside of Italy, from Canada to China. Written for an audience both knowledgeable in cult films and fluent in film theory, this title meets a niche need."

- Terry Busky, Library Journal

"With Bloodstained Narratives, we get a useful update on neo-giallo with a transnational view and almost a manual for experiencing a new generation of genre pieces from various countries worth exploring."

- A. Ebert,

"The library on the giallo film has yet another worthwhile addition."

- Barry Forshaw, Crime Time (UK)