Example of a "giallo" paperback novel
"Giallo" is the Italian word for yellow and refers to a series of cheap paperbook mystery novels with yellow covers that were popular reading from the 1930s onward. Though the books were often in the vein of Agathie Christie or Ellery Queen, when filmmakers began adapting them in the 1960s, they soon added their own very distinct touches, taking the films into territory more associated today with the horror and slasher genres.
Poster for Dario Argento's The Girl Who Knew Too Much (1963)
Directors like Dario Argento, Mario Bava, Lucio Fulci, and Sergio Martino made dozens of these films, rather quickly and cheaply, during the 60s and 70s. They were often filled with operatic levels of violence, not to mention liberal amounts of nudity and sex.
Poster from Sergio Martino's All the Colours of the Dark (1972)
Though best known for their often-garish visual style, giallo films were also innovative in their use of music and sound, which is where our poor sound engineer comes in. Many of the plots were based on madness and psychological horror, and the sound design was integral to setting the right mood.
Poster from Andrea Bianchi's Strip Nude for Your Killer (1975)
In fact, many of these films were shot completely without sync sound, so everything from dialogue to foley effects was recorded later in a studio, perhaps somewhere like Berberian Sound Studio.
p.s. You might notice a certain similarity in the posters I've included. A (presumably male) hand poised over a woman in peril. These films were nothing if not formulaic, but they've been a huge influence on succeeding generations of trashy thrillers.
BERBERIAN SOUND STUDIO screening times:
Mon., Sept. 10, 6PM: THE BLOOR HOT DOCS CINEMA
Tues., Sept. 11, 2:45PM CINEPLEX YONGE AND DUNDAS