Wednesday, October 28, 2009

THE RETURN OF 31 Days Of Horror: #26 The Girl Who Knew Too Much

Giallo, for the uniniated, is an Italian genre known for it’s violent style and stylish violence. Some featuring the supernatural, some merely good old fashion psycho killers. A Giallo has to be stylish, gory, terrifying, and ideally star an American star whose moment of glory has passed.

The Girl who Knew Too Much is consider the ground zero for Giallo movies. It’s director Mario Bava would later refine the style to near perfection, with Blood And Black Lace, but despite its rough edges there’s something that’s a lot of fun about The Girl Who Knew Too Much.

Bava is sometimes referred to as the Italian Hitchcock, I prefer to think of him as the Italian De Palma (At least in his modern day and "Pop Art" films his more traditional horror movies are another thing altogether) (And readers of this blog know that from me at least this is by no means an insult). A drop dead cool stylist, with a wicked sense of humor, a prankster’s sensibility, who can make your blood run cold at will.

The Girl Who Knew Too Much plays out like a darkly funny inverse of Roman Holiday. In what must rank somewhere as the worst vacation ever a young naïve tourist arrives in Rome only to become an unwitting accomplice to a drug smuggler, watch her great aunt die, get mugged, witness a brutal murder, and then get harassed by Nuns. This is in the first five minutes folks and it takes a downturn from there.

The Girl Who Knew Too Much is propelled by a slinky cool Jazz score and beautiful black and white photography (immaculately restored by Anchor Bay for the DVD release). Bava is a master here reigning suspense and scares with equal aplomb, and screwing around gleefully with the conventions of Giallo as he was inventing them. With its slick sense of humor, surprisingly light tone, none too brutal brutality, and quality scares it’s an ideal place to get a good first look at Giallo filmmaking, which is fitting as that’s exactly what it is.

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