I am writing my first giallo novella. The Modulator started as an idea from watching a documentary, on FBI surveillance in the 1970s, called Fear City. I became intrigued by the idea of fairly, close range recording devices and went down a rabbit hole exploring the old tech. I found the archaic specifications of covert listening devices using dirty pulse audio masking schemes at the Crypto Museum. Armed with this tech, the inciting incident became a long ago murder with all the surveillance equipment left behind to be found when a couple moves into an isolated cabin. This is the premise of my first giallo.
My first step in the giallo world was a VHS copy of Creepers (Phenomena) from Media Home Entertainment. I was saw the pics in Fangoria of breaking glass on a face and a body pit and was ecstatic to find the tape at my video store. The mix of style, a black gloved killer, and metal music sold me. I searched out the other few giallo films I could find back then like The Bird with Crystal Plumage (rated PG), Torso, Blood and Black Lace, Deep Red Hatchet Murders (Profondo Rosso), Bay of Blood (Twitch of the Death Nerve), and Unsane (Tenebrae). All were cut of content and it was a revelation to discover the longer versions of those and other giallos on bootleg VHS tapes and imported Japanese Laserdiscs—Terror at the Opera (Opera) was a revelation!—as I explored more of the genre. It was a thrill to find them, a forbidden treat that is hard to understand these days when uncut versions are easy to find unless the footage was destroyed long ago.
The style of the giallo was different from the prominent slasher films of the time in that style flourished in the murder set pieces and the mystery element was key. Some North American films came close like Night School, Dressed to Kill, and Curtains. But the Italian ones were more surreal. I remember staying up late to watch The Cat o’ Nine Tails on television at two in the morning just to see it. Commercials and all it was worth it. (I feel like I have always been a fan of Dario Argento.) Anyway, it was this 1980s influence that has followed me through time and inspired me to write my own giallo.
Similar to my earlier works, I first wrote a screenplay. I had not written one in a long time and the writing exercise was good. On completion, my thoughts drifted to the possibility of adapting The Modulator into a giallo novella with a lurid, yellow cover. And that is my current project while I continue the grind of submissions for my completed projects. I believe it is always important to keep creating, to feed the fire, and grow as an artist.
My hope is to share new matarial this year.
Here is a picture of my framed, Deep Red magazine, with Cristina Marsillach roped with needles taped under her eyelids, signed to me by Dario Argento.