January 7, 2021
Fashion Crimes (1989)
In the latest episode of Fragments of Fear, we return to the eighties once again to dissect Bruno Gaburro’s 1989 giallo, Fashion Crimes. Perhaps most notable for its leading role from Tenebrae alumni, Anthony Franciosa, we take a look at the actor’s career and assess the effectiveness of his character and the draw his casting has on the film. In our exploration of the film, we look at the film’s thematic ideas that tie back to the golden age of the giallo from fragmented memories and nonsensical crimes to innate psychic abilities. We also assess the film’s failings and missed opportunities, offering our thoughts on ways in which plot could potentially be rectified and improved upon. As always, we take a look at the film’s director, production history and place in the evolution of the Italian giallo.
December 6, 2020
The Double (1971)
In the latest episode of Fragments of Fear, we take a moment to mark the tragic passing of Daria Nicolodi; discussing her legacy and contribution to Italian cult cinema before moving on to this month’s discussion of Romolo Guerrieri’s 1971 giallo, The Double. In our examination of this experimental giallo, we explore the film’s literary origins, Guerrieri’s work as a director and the film’s inventive narrative structure whilst also taking a look at its thematic concerns from sexual politics, the crisis of masculinity and post sixties counter culture.
November 1, 2020
Strip Nude For Your Killer (1975)
In celebration of Fragments of Fear’s first anniversary, we eschew our focus on the lesser known gialli in favour of a more well known title requested by you - the listeners! Running away with the vast majority of the vote was Andrea Bianchi’s popular giallo from 1975, Strip Nude For Your Killer, one of the more sordid titles to emerge from the giallo cycle. We examine the film’s sleazy reputation and accusations of misogyny, framing them within the film’s comedic stylings and the Italian cinema of the period. We also take a look at the film’s self aware usage of giallo tropes, effective set pieces and comical characterisation as well as celebrating one of the most iconic actresses of the genre - Edwige Fenech.
October 11, 2020
Door into Darkness: Part One
To celebrate Fragments of Fear’s one year anniversary, we are releasing part 1 of our Door into Darkness episode, a previously Patreon exclusive episode, to celebrate as a way of thanking everyone for their support.
In episode one of our two part discussion into Dario Argento’s 1973 television series for RAI, Door into Darkness, we discuss episodes one and two of the series; Luigi Cozzi’s Il vicino di casa (The Neighbour) and Dario Argento’s Il tram (The Tram). As well as looking at Cozzi and Argento’s contributions to the series, we examine Door into Darkness’s cultural impact and how it ushered in a new form of televised thriller, pushing the boundaries of what had previously been seen on Italian television.
If you’ve enjoyed our Patreon exclusive content and want to hear part 2 and more, head on over to www.patreon.com/fragmentspod to pledge.
Theme music performed by Massimo e Massimo. Hear more at superspectrum.bandcamp.com
September 30, 2020
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.
September 30, 2020
Tropic of Cancer (1972)
Fragments of Fear returns for another episode focussing on the genre’s golden period, examining Edoardo Mulargia & Gian Paolo Lomi’s Haitian set 1972 giallo Tropic of Cancer; an entry that eschews some of the more traditional trope heavy gialli of the early 1970s in favour of incorporating influences outside of it - primarily the Mondo film of the 1960s. We look at how this influence manifests throughout the film and ascertain the effectiveness of Tropic of Cancer’s Mondo like elements and depictions of Haitian culture within the structure of the giallo. We also discuss the film’s musings on sexuality, a fitting topic considering the prominent role of Swedish screen siren and giallo queen, Anita Strindberg whose career we take a look at in our discussion of the film’s players. As always, we give our insights into the film’s production history, plot mechanics and thematic ideas whilst evaluating its role in the giallo pantheon.
August 2, 2020
The Rage Within (1969)
In this month’s episode of Fragments of Fear, we return to the Italian thrillers of the late 1960s, looking at Franco Rossetti’s The Rage Within. Released in 1969, at the height of the student protests, we examine how the political volatility of the late 1960s manifests throughout the film - assessing if the purported ideologies of the main characters are wholly honourable. Adapted from Alberto Moravia’s short story, “Crime at the Tennis Club” we look at how Rossetti translates Moravia’s themes of Roman existentialism to the 1960s through various familiar giallo thematic tropes such as blackmail, jealousy and double crossing. We also analyse what The Rage Within says about the widening chasm of the generational divide in the 1960s and explore this concept in relation to the relationships between the central characters.
July 4, 2020
Cross Current (1971)
In the latest episode of Fragments of Fear, we take a look at Tonino Ricci’s 1971 giallo Cross Current. An example of an Italian Spanish co-production, Cross Current was released during the boom period of the giallo and exhibits elements of the Les Diaboliques influenced sexy Italian thriller of the 1960s alongside the more psychological Argento styled thriller. Throughout the episode we examine the effectiveness of these elements and explore the execution of the film’s many twists and turns. We also take a look at the film’s cast of seasoned euro cult actors and the motivations of their characters alongside our usual examination of the film’s production history, design and set pieces.
May 27, 2020
Plot of Fear (1976)
Delving once again into the genre’s post golden period, in this month’s episode of Fragments of Fear we take a look at an example of the giallo poliziotteschi hybrid in Paolo Cavara’s politically charged E tanta paura aka Plot of Fear (1976). In our dissection of the film, we explore Cavara’s background as the originator of the Mondo film and take a look at how the creative freedom afforded to him in Plot of Fear led to a complex, deconstruction of the giallo utilising elements of the poliziotteschi and American led conspiratorial thrillers of the era. Other themes explored in the episode include Plot of Fear’s satirical leanings, the concept of surveillance led paranoia, political injustice and decadence and perversion.
April 29, 2020
The 1980s heralded in a new era for the giallo and Carlo Vanzina’s 1983 thriller, Mystère is indicative of a marked change in the Italian thriller during the decade of excess. We take a look at how the cultural shift in the 1980s manifested in the stylings of Carlo Vanzina’s contemporary giallo, examining the film’s influences from Roger Moore era Bond to Jean-Jacques Beineix ’s 1981 thriller, Diva. In our discussion of Mystère, we examine the film’s tonal shift from giallo to espionage thriller, its depiction of prostitution, 1980s yuppified glamour and Carole Bouquet’s enigmatic performance as the morally ambiguous Mystère.