A cycle of stylish, psychosexually loaded Italian crime films which peaked sometime in the late '70s. The name means "yellow," and refers to the yellow covers of the pulp detective novels which were adapted into the first of the films. Gialli are generally plotted as "puzzle" mysteries (with either police or amateurs investigating), but with a heavy admixture of horror and thriller elements.
Many American movies have been influenced by gialli. These include Basic Instinct, Kill Bill, Vol. 2 (when it isn't being a Spaghetti Western), the Hostel movies, and pretty much anything by Brian De Palma. Slasher Movies have their roots in the giallo sensibility, as well. All quite appropriate, considering the considerable stylistic influence the genre draws from Alfred Hitchcock—to the point that many have deemed Hitch the unofficial "father" of Giallo cinema.
And now you too can create your own, with the Do-It-Yourself Giallo Kit.
A related genre is the German "krimis".
Common tropes include:
- Acquitted Too Late
- Animal Motifs
- Conspicuous Trenchcoat: the default outfit for Giallo killers is a black leather coat with matching fedora and gloves, and sometimes a mask
- Death by Sex
- Drop Dead Gorgeous
- Everyone Is a Suspect
- Fake Nationality: If the film's set anywhere but Italy, it's a guarantee that there's several of these (and even then there are exceptions.
- Film Noir: Somewhat comparable to this genre, but much more colorful, surreal, and gory.
- Freudian Excuse
- Going by the Matchbook
- Hand of Death: Almost always the black-gloved version.
- Interplay of Sex and Violence: Murders often done toward Fanservice female characters
- Kensington Gore
- Mood Lighting
- Motive Rant
- Never One Murder
- Overly Long Title: Sometimes, titles are whole sentences. Example - Your Vice Is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key
- Peek-a-Boo Corpse
- Police Are Useless: if the main character is a civilian trying to solve the murders on their own, the cops will never figure it out first
- Red Herring: Often an incredibly cheap variety in which one character is clearly extremely suspicious, creepy and weird and end up dead like any other victim without so much as a Hand Wave as to their odd behavior.
- Serial Killer
- Scenery Porn: brutal killings are often contrasted against stunning architecture and landscapes
- The Summation
- Widget Series
- Word Salad Title
- A Bay of Blood
- The Bird with the Crystal Plumage
- The Black Belly of the Tarantula
- Blood and Black Lace
- La Casa Dalle Finestre Che Ridono
- The Cat o' Nine Tails
- Death Laid an Egg
- Deep Red
- Don't Look Now
- Don't Torture a Duckling
- Five Dolls for an August Moon
- Four Flies on Grey Velvet
- Giallo in Venice
- The New York Ripper
- Il Profumo Della Signora In Nero
- Suspiria (1977)
- What Have You Done to Solange?
- Basic Instinct
- Berberian Sound Studio - literally set during the making of a giallo film
- Dressed to Kill
- I Know Who Killed Me