Giallo as a sub-genre of horror is fascinating. The word giallo means “yellow” in Italian and these very specific Italian slasher films were dubbed giallos because of the pulpy feel they conveyed, reminding critics of the time of old paperback genre books, pages yellowed with age.
These kinds of movies are distinguished from North American slashers (like “Black Christmas” and the “Friday the 13th” films) in that they usually lean heavily into a whodunnit realm. They have all the violence of a traditional slasher; as a matter of fact, the Italians tended to push the gory envelope in ways unmatched by Hollywood and the American indie film scene, but they often do so with an otherworldly tone and feel. The color palette of “Suspiria” is shockingly different from most horror movies and the scores are often operatic in nature.
Argento is the King of the giallo, helping define it as a legitimate sub-genre and creating its best films. We don’t know if this upcoming film with Isabelle Huppert is going to be a giallo, but the idea of Argento directing an actor of her talents in modern-day giallo is pretty exciting, even if it’s been a while since he’s made a movie I’ve loved top to bottom.