While the release of Dario Argento’s The Bird with the Crystal Plumage gave rise to a glut of imitators, there was more to the giallo than just shameless copycats setting out to ape a rigid formula. This volume of Giallo Essentials celebrates the range and breadth of the genre with three lesser-seen films from its early 1970s heyday.
In Silvio Amadio’s Smile Before Death, familicide with a sprinkling of Oedipal love is the order of the day when teenager Nancy returns home to discover the apparent suicide of her mother, and quickly comes to suspect that her stepfather and his mistress are to blame. Next, Horny priests and self-flagellating nuns abound in Francesco Mazzei’s The Weapon, the Hour, the Motive, as police commissioner Franco Boito investigates the brutal murder of a young clergyman, only to enter into an affair with the dead man’s lover. Finally, in Giuseppe Bennati’s The Killer Reserved Nine Seats, an assortment of wealthy degenerates – including Italian cult mainstays Andrea Scotti and Howard Ross – answer the summons of an eccentric nobleman and assemble in the theatre attached to his ancestral home, only to find themselves trapped in the decaying building while a savage killer picks them off Agatha Christie-style!
With gory murders, wanton debauchery and left-field plot twists a-plenty, all three of these oft-overlooked gialli are restored in 2K from their original camera negatives – including brand-new, Arrow-exclusive restorations of Smile Before Death and The Weapon, the Hour, the Motive – alongside a range of in-depth bonus features.