What Is a Giallo?
If you're new to giallo films, you may wonder what it is exactly that defines the genre. That's actually a source of great debate among film enthusiasts and we love to argue over weather or not a movie is a "real" giallo or if it falls into some other category or sub-category.
To Italian audiences, it's quite simple: "giallo" is synonymous with "thriller." Any movie with action and suspense, from The Third Man to The Silence of the Lambs to Night of the Living Dead is called "giallo."
But to American audiences and film buffs, the criteria are more complex, making giallo a narrowly-defined sub-genre. Sometimes giallo films are incorrectly referred to as "Italian horror" or "spaghetti horror," but this definition is far too broad, as it would also include zombie movies, ghost stories, and slasher flicks that lack important giallo elements. Definitions change, depending on who you ask, but since it's my blog, we'll use my definition: A giallo is a stylish European murder mystery.