Whilst Mario Bava’s 1960s thrillers, The Girl Who Knew Too Much (1963) and Blood & Black Lace (1964), have become known as the defining giallo texts of the 1960s, the tropes and genre markers of the giallo weren’t fully established and popularised until Dario Argento’s debut, The Bird with the Crystal Plumage in 1970.

As such, the Italian thrillers of the 1960s could be thought of as prototype gialli – transitional works that bridge the gap between the the fantastical psychosexual modernist fare of the 1970s and the more traditional thrillers of the 1960s that were often rooted in the Gothic.

One key text to understanding this transitional period in the giallo is Ernesto Gastaldi & Vittorio Salerno’s Libido (1965) which is imbued with elements of both and marks a move towards the archetypal giallo that Gastaldi helped to popularise as a prominent writer in the genre. In this episode of Fragments of Fear, we examine this key period in the genre and examine how Libido acts as a transitional yet highly influential work in the giallo. We take a look at the film’s Freudian themes, Gastaldi & Salerno’s use of the Gothic and Libido’s enduring influence on the giallo alongside our usual musings on the film’s production history and key players:

And here’s a trailer for you…

About The Author

Simon Fitzjohn

Simon is a journalism tutor in London, who also just happens to be a movie fanatic, with a craving for the darker side of cinema. He has written three books - on the horror films of director Bob Clark (2014), the history of the character Norman Bates (2015) and the work of British exploitation director Pete Walker (2017). He is currently working with director Richard Loncraine to explore all avenues in a bid to orchestrate the re-release of 1978 Mia Farrow chiller Full Circle