Talk and Slash

For the first time I’m in the esteemed Bright Lights Film Journal, with a piece co-authored by genius Daniel Riccuito. Subject: giallii!

Daniel is, believe it or not, the easiest and most agreeable of collaborators — typically he just gets in touch and says “I need a paragraph to get me from here to here.” I don’t usually read the bits I’m supposed to join up. This time, I seem to have wound up doing at least half the piece, but Daniel had to do a lot of hammering to get it coherent. The result — a lucid critical analysis of the form animated by the same fervid enthusiasm as the films themselves, and cutting deeper, I believe, than most accounts of the psychological impulses at play.

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8 Responses to “Talk and Slash”

  1. Tony Williams Says:

    Congratulations, David. You do, of course, know the UK slang for “slash”?

  2. Yes, of course! I am a UKan.

  3. Look forward to reading the giallo piece! I have two semi – related (i.e. tangential as all hell) questions/comments for the good Mr. Cairns

    – There’s an outstanding American horror film called Wolfen from 1981. Has some giallo elements (the cops, psychedelia, murders, locations revealing internal psychology), but with a strong mythical and political element. There’s also a story element involving psychic communion with nature, and the idea of a species with a morality and psychology above human understanding. I may be trying to fit a square peg in a round hole, but watching it I was wondering if Michael Wadleigh would then have been perfect for an adaptation of any Cordwainer (“Container”) Smith stories

    – Maybe slightly more pertinent: I recently watched Welles’ F for Fake and Othello, and remembered your post “Orson Welles = Universal Horror”. You need to develop a new theory: Euro Horror was derived from Welles experimental phase! Mr. Arkadin, with its bargain basement Gothic, make – do footage and incoherent artifice seems like the ur – text of Euroschlock (isn’t the opening very similar to Franco’s Venus in Furs?). Othello has the stunning murder of Desdemona, with the white sheet creating a weird faceless effect that I think comes up again in Nightmare Castle. And then onto F for Fake: the Oja Kodar story seems like Welles looked at his erstwhile protege Franco and decided to show him “This is how you make pop art inflected erotica on no budget with an actress you’re obsessed with!”.

    Anyhoo, sorry the ramble. Hope it was entertaining at least

  4. Read the piece, must reread, but two thoughts, both on Deep Red

    – True that it has the most sympathetic characters. That does lend t Nicolodi’s attack a strange dignity. Come to think to think of it, both the other female victims are sympathetic too, and SPOILER the eventual female villain’s demise is not especially trumphant – the final shot seems more mournful than anything else. Is Deep red unique in this regard?

    – I think homophobia in Argento’s regard may be more complex, Massimo (played by Geraldine Hooper) is pretty much the most selfless and kind character in the piece, and if I’m not mistaken, a gay private eye is the flat out protagonist in Cat O’ Nine Tails?

  5. The beauty of co-authorship is I don’t have to defend anything we say. But I like your points. Argento is not particularly homophobic by the standards of the genre, and seems to be up to something in casting a trans actor in Tenebrae, though I’m not sure precisely what.

  6. And as for Welles and Euro-horror, yes! There’s his appearance in Malpertuis to seal the deal.

    Since Welles claimed he turned down Caligula, I wonder how he felt about Franco’s later work. Though he did help Gary Graver out with some editing on one of his hardcore films, on the sly.

    Who would best suit Cordwainer Smith? You need someone who can manage to squeeze emotion through some very tight filters of weirdness and alienation… Who can make everything straneg enough and obscure enough but still access feeling. Tsukamoto? Jodorowsky? The Schloendorff of The Tin Drum?

  7. Jodorowsky sprang to my mind too. I imagine in some alternate universe, Frank Borzage working under Jack Arnold would approximate the ideal feeling of the loneliness of space, and the weirdness. Maybe Don Bluth could do a great animated version? He’s got the melancholy and grotesquerie down

  8. I’ve never had any time for Bluth since I learned he didn’t like Tex Avery’s toons. “Those harsh, abrasive voices!”

    Rene Laloux might be a decent fit, and there must be Japanese anime guys who could do it. Night on the Galactic Railway has some of the right feel.

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