Imagination Connoisseur – and black glove collector – Ian Samuels, gives us a little history lesson when it comes to understanding and appreciating the “Giallo” sub-genre of horror films.

(edited for clarity)


As fellow horror fans, I would like us to take a trip back to 1960s Italy and its Horror boom.

This boom was led by Mario Bava. He had two huge hits, BLACK SUNDAY and its sequel, BLACK SABBATH, which starred Universal Studios-great, Boris Karloff. Next, Bava created a new sub-genre, the ‘Giallo’.

Giallo is Italian for “yellow” and called back to the fact there had been pulp fiction paperbacks with yellow covers, many of which in Italy were stories of bloody murder. The unique part of these films was the inclusion of a killer wearing black leather gloves in all of them.

During this time, Bava’s protégé was a young screenplay writer name Dario Argento. When THE BIRD WITH CRYSTAL PLUMAGE was released in 1970, Dario had written the screenplay and to ensure it was done right it, he directed it as well. It was his first Giallo.

In all of his Giallos, Dario did his own ‘Glove Work.’ This meant every time there was a close up of the killer’s gloved hands, they were, in fact, Dario’s hands.

That is true even though it sounds like a plot of a Columbo movie. It would be easy to imagine a famous director making murder movies and there is a real murder on the set of his latest movie. It doesn’t stop him continue with his movie and Lt. Columbo arrives on set to question Mr Argento. “Hey Mr Argento, it’s an honored to meet you, my wife loves your movies…” And so on until Columbo eventually proves that Mr Argento did it.

Anyway, horror fans should really have Bava and Argento films in their repertoire.

– Ian S.