All the Colors of Giallo (Home Video Review)

Starring Dario Argento, Lamberto Bava, Barbara Bouchet, Luciano Ercoli

Directed by Federico Caddeo

Distributed by Severin Films


The heyday of the Italian giallo film was approximately a decade, lasting through the ‘70s mostly, but the impact that movement had on horror has influenced countless filmmakers. There are still some giallo films produced these days, but the genre experienced a precipitous drop-off in the ‘80s and virtually every title still talked about today was made during the early ‘70s boom. The world of Italian horror can be a bit obtuse and confusing to the uninitiated, though, which is why a concise overview like All the Colors of Giallo (2018) is a useful documentary. Horror fans well-versed in the pulpy world of yellow violence might find the information here redundant or glib; there is an awful lot to cover. This piece paints in broader strokes, too, tracing a lengthy route from early beginnings to the genre’s apex and eventual dwindling output.

I see this release as more of a celebration of giallo – and its German sibling genre, the krimi – and less of something designed to be all-encompassing and hugely informative. You get the expected interview with Dario Argento discussing his output, “rivalry” with Lucio Fulci, stylistic choices, etc. There are a number of scholarly interviewees who offer up critical thoughts and comparative discussion on the emerging talent in the giallo scene. Practically all of the major titles are touched upon, with some minor works getting a brief highlight, too. Again, if you’re a horror fan who has been devoutly purchasing every giallo title from the major studios – Arrow Video, Scream Factory, Severin, etc. – and you’ve watched a majority of the bonus features contained therein then much of this might seem like old hat. If that’s the cast then just consider this documentary an attractive bonus to the real meat & potatoes here: that trailer reel.

Running a mammoth four hours, Severin has included Giallothon, a gargantuan reel of giallo trailers available to watch individually or in one marathon session via the “play all” option. Additionally, Kat Ellinger, author of “All the Colors of Sergio Martino”, is on hand to provide optional audio commentary. If the documentary didn’t provide enough recommendations for titles to watch, certainly a few dozen in this lengthy assemblage of murder will inspire interest.

In order to ensure the Italians aren’t having all the fun, the bonus DVD in this set also includes “Kriminal! Trailer Compilation”, which is 90 minutes of krimi film trailers. This is a subgenre of which I am far less familiar than giallo, so having a reel of films to digest in small bits and add to my watch list is fantastic.

The documentary proper is presented with a 1.78:1 1080p image that is nicely lit, capably shot, and visually in line with how viewers might expect a modern movie filled with talking heads to appear. The intercut giallo film footage has been cleaned up well enough that it is commensurate with the interview footage. Once we get to the trailer reels, footage quality is variable, which is to be expected.

Similarly, the Italian DTS-HD MA 2.0 stereo track serviceably carries audio with no detectable defects. The accompanying score tracks are powerful and robust, with some cues sounding fuller than they have on any previous home video editions. Subtitles are included in English.
Special Features:

DISC ONE:

  • OVER FOUR HOURS OF GIALLO TRAILERS
  • NEW All the Colors of Giallo – Newly produced feature length documentary by Federico Caddeo
  • The Giallo Frames – Interview with John Martin, editor of ‘The Giallo Pages
  • Audio Commentary on every trailer with Kat Ellinger, author of All The Colors of Sergio Martino

DISC TWO:

  • Kriminal! – 90 Minute Krimi Trailer Compilation
  • The Case of the Krimi – Interview with film historian Marcus Stiglegger

DISC THREE:

  • The Strange Sounds of The Bloodstained Films – Bonus CD of Giallo themes compiled by Alfonso Carrillo of Rendezvous. From the archives of BEAT Records Company. Remastered by Claudio Fuiano.
All the Colors of Giallo (2019)
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