Vintage Pulp May 12 2024
SUFFER LITTLE CHILDREN
Who'd want to kill a child? On occasion, virtually any parent on the planet, but in this case it's a violent psychopath.


This poster was painted by the great Enzo Nistri (the brush behind classic promos such as this and this) for the giallo flick Chi l'ha vista morire?, known in English as Who Saw Her Die? It stars former James Bond lead George Lazenby (looking unhealthily thin here because for reasons inexplicable he lost thirty-five pounds for the role) as an American artist in Venice whose young daughter goes missing. He first appeals to the (pro forma ineffectual) police, but the girl turns up floating dead in the Grand Canal.

This brings Lazenby's estranged wife Anita Strindberg to town for the funeral, and soon they're asking questions about a child murder from the previous year, which we the viewers have seen in the opening reel being committed by a woman clad and veiled in black. Lazenby and Strindberg go full sleuth in order to identify and locate this suspected killer, who meanwhile graduates to knocking off adults who might have clues. You may assume co-star and former Bond villain Adolfo Celi has something to do with all this, and he might, but this is a giallo. There's no way to know who's the killer until the final reveal.

The movie's real star may be Venice, where residents once sauntered easily through lanes uncluttered by tour groups and AirBnB renters. You'll see many hidden nooks of the city, beautifully shot by director Aldo Lado and cinematographer Franco Di Giacomo. This type of scenery will come courtesy of AI image generators in the approaching years. After all, why close down St. Mark's Square when you can render it in a computer? Take heart, though—even a computer will never be able to generate Anita Strindberg. Chi l'ha vista morire? premiered in Italy today in 1972.
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Femmes Fatales Jan 29 2024
RAPTOR MUSIC
You better watch her like a hawk.


We already shared a couple of nice images of Swiss actress Monica Strebel, but when we saw this great shot we had to bring her back. It was published in the Italian magazine IO. The accompanying text doesn't explain why she has a bird, but it's rather interesting anyway because it claims she wanted to play characters “psychologically suited to her personality, detached from the usual exclusively sexy artificial doll roles, real characters, [that] suffer.” Well, the suffering part came true—she mostly acted in giallo films, where enduring psychological torture is a prerequisite. In this photo, though, she looks like someone who does the torturing. It's from 1969.

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Vintage Pulp Jan 9 2024
A REAL WRIST TAKER
Doing her part to take a bite out of crime.

Above is the cover of Bagliori sulla città, written by Roy Parks for S.P.E.R.O.’s series I Gialli Polizieschi Americani, 1957. Parks was actually a writer named Mario Casacci, who also published novels as Bill Coleman, Mario Kasak, Rex Sheridan, and possibly others. He was also a noted screenwriter most famous for inventing, along with Alberto Ciambricco, the figure of Lieutenant Sheridan, who was a staple on Italian television through the 1960s and early 1970s, played by Ubaldo Lay. Casacci also participated on several soundtracks as a lyricist. The art here is from Averardo Ciriello, who we’ve featured before here and here on movie posters.

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Vintage Pulp Aug 7 2023
DON'T STOP THE DANCE
My dream is actually to be a singer, so I interrupt this striptease to perform Verdi's aria, “Stride la vampa.”

This entry in Editions ERP's I Gialli dello Schedario's FBI series is a late one. It was number 259 and came in 1980, which is surprsing because we didn't realize ERP was still using painted cover art then. This one was the work of Mario Carìa, and Norman Forrest the author was actually—you guessed it—Renato Carocci, the guy who you could be forgiven for thinking wrote every Italian crime novel ever. You can check his output by clicking his keywords below, and you can see a small collection of FBI covers here

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Vintage Pulp May 7 2023
ON THE MARK
Anonymous Italian cover artist hits the target.


Above: a pretty nice cover with a bullseye motif for Angeli neri di Brooklyn by Thomas Wright, from Editions ERP, entry fifty-four in their I Gialli dello Schedario series, published in 1959. Wright was a pseudonym often used by author Aldo Crudo, who wrote more than four hundred books beginning in 1957. The cover artist is unknown to us. We thought it could be Mario Ferrari. Alternate option, there's a possible artist signature in red ink but we can't read it and it doesn't correspond to any we could find. It might be from the person who owned the book. We've run into book signers before. Anyway, we like the art. 

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Vintage Pulp Sep 30 2022
TROPICO STORM
Haiti gets hit by hurricane Anita.


These two posters for Al tropico del cancro, aka Tropic of Cancer, were painted by Italian master Renato Casaro, and really demonstrate his artistic range, as they're stylistically different from the other poster he painted for the film. We have plenty of Casaro in the website, so if you want to see more just click his keywords below, or if you're pressed for time, you can see what we think is his best work here and here. He isn't the only person we want to highlight today. The movie stars Anita Strindberg, yet another luminous actress to come out of Sweden, and she plays a wife who travels to Haiti and is soon caught up in tropical sensuality, hallucinogenic drugs, and voodoo. It's unabashed exploitation ranging from the sexual to the cultural, and Strindberg is the main reason it's watchable, as you see below. Al tropico del cancro premiered in Italy today in 1972.

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Vintage Pulp Mar 29 2022
SCENT OF A MADWOMAN
Something in Mimsy Farmer's creepy old apartment building definitely doesn't smell right.


It's been a year, so we're retruring to giallo cinema today with Il profumo della signora in nero, known in English as The Perfume of the Lady in Black. The waifish Mimsy Farmer plays a chemical engineer working in Italy who begins experiencing macabre visions or hallucinations. Are these hauntings due to emerging psychological trauma triggered by the suicide of her mother years earlier? Are they somehow related to her university professor friend Andy, an expert on African religious rituals? Or maybe they're being staged by her pervy neighbor, or dissatisfied boyfriend, or weirdo girlfriend Francesca. An eerie psychic reading set up by her friends certainly doesn't help Farmer's mental stability. Shortly after that fiasco a little girl shows up at her door. Is she a manifestation of Farmer's younger self? What the hell is going on?

Well, it's giallo, so you just can't know. The genre typically involves an intersection of horror and mystery sprinkled with visual non sequiturs, indecipherable clues, and incomprehensible behavior. Mixed in are the usual details: garish lighting, rain and thunder, a disconcerting music box, unexplained disappearances, random cats, bug-eyed strangers, discordant violins, and so forth. In addition, the endings of giallos are usually meant to surprise, and in most cases you'll say to yourself, “Wait—wasn't there an easier way to get all that accomplished?” This one, which has a big reveal in more ways than one, brings up that question. But don't think about it too deeply. It's giallo. We can't say this example is good, but we will say Mimsy Farmer is extremely appealing. You might even call her... appetizing. You'll see what we mean if you watch the film. Il profumo della signora in nero premiered in Italy today in 1974
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Femmes Fatales Apr 29 2021
GREENHOUSE EFFECT
With warmth and tender loving care you can grow anything.


Above are two photos of actress Monica Strebel, who was born in Switzerland but mostly appeared in Italian films. She also, like many actresses of her era, appeared in photo novels and posed nude in magazines, such as the French publication Io, which is where the above shots originated in 1969. Several of Strebel's films had amusingly unwieldy titles, among them 1970's La lunga notte dei disertori - I 7 di Marsa Matruh, aka Operation Over Run, and the 1971 giallo La bestia uccide a sangue freddo, aka Cold Blooded Beast. Perhaps her most notable role was in 1972's Racconti proibiti... di niente vestiti, aka Master of Love. We have a promo shot from it below. Strebel plays Death in the form of a naked woman, and she and star Rossano Brazzi run away together across an open field. They don't make 'em like that anymore.

*smack* *smooch* You're so beautiful. I'll follow you anywhere. What's your name again? Did you say Lady Death? That's weird but whatever... *nuzzle* *smooch*

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Vintage Pulp Feb 16 2021
LOST AND CONFOUNDED
In giallo it's not the final destination that matters. It's the endless journey in circles.


Spasmo is what you used to call your little brother, but amazingly it's also the name of an Italian giallo flick, and like other giallos, this one comes with sly looks, loaded dialogue, appearing mannequins, disappearing bodies, creepy bit players, coincidences that aren't really coincidences, and baffling extraneous events. The plot here here is set into motion when Robert Hoffman shoots an intruder. The body disappears and he spends the rest of the film trying to figure out what happened. Which is impossible, of course, because in giallo the plots are often nonsensical and the characters behave irrationally in ways both minor and major. At one point co-star Suzy Kendall, who needed a long soak in a tub after this torturous journey, says, “I don't understand. I don't understand anything!” And that neatly sums up the film. But giallos (or gialli for you purists) aren't usually meant to be understood. They're puzzles with no solutions. Extremely self-conscious and stylish mindfucks. Some are better than others, but for us, everything about this one falls short except the three excellent, creepy promo posters you see above. Spasmo premiered in Italy today in 1974

I am a normal... and well adjusted... adult female... human being.

Hide? Heh-heh. What makes you think I have anything to hide?

I just pop up and scare the shit out of people when they least expect it. I'm really good at it, too. I'm like the Hendrix of that.

Giuseppe said my plaid leisure suit was ugly and now he must die.
 
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Femmes Fatales Jun 20 2020
INCOMPARABLE INCONTRERA
Annabella is molto bella from every angle.


Every side is Italian actress Annabella Incontrera's good side, as you can in the four shots above. We should all be so lucky. Despite a name that comes off the tongue like poetry, Incontrera sometimes acted as Pam Stevenson, and well, no offense to any Pams or Stevensons out there, but that pseudonym surely had to be the idea of an unimaginative agent or studio head. In the end it was as Incontrera that she made her mark, appearing in several notable Italian giallo and horror films, including La tarantola dal ventre nero, aka Black Belly of the Tarantula, Sette scialli di seta gialla, aka Crimes of the Black Cat, and Perché quelle strane gocce di sangue sul corpo di Jennifer?, aka These Italian Movie Titles are Purely Nuts. She also popped up for a moment in Dean Martin's tongue-in-cheek caper flick The Ambushers as a slaymate. Well, she slays us. These photos are undated but from around 1968.

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Next Page
History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
July 15
1939—Adams Completes Around-the-World Air Journey
American Clara Adams becomes the first woman passenger to complete an around-the-world air journey. Her voyage began and ended in New York City, with stops in Lisbon, Marseilles, Leipzig, Athens, Basra, Jodhpur, Rangoon, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Wake Island, Honolulu, and San Francisco.
1955—Nobel Prize Winners Unite Against Nukes
Eighteen Nobel laureates sign the Mainau Declaration against nuclear weapons, which reads in part: We think it is a delusion if governments believe that they can avoid war for a long time through the fear of [nuclear] weapons. Fear and tension have often engendered wars. Similarly it seems to us a delusion to believe that small conflicts could in the future always be decided by traditional weapons. In extreme danger no nation will deny itself the use of any weapon that scientific technology can produce.
1997—Versace Murdered in Miami
Italian fashion designer Gianni Versace is shot dead on the steps of his Miami mansion as he returns from breakfast at a cafe. His killer is Andrew Cunanan, a man who had already murdered four other people across the country and was the focus of an FBI manhunt. The FBI never caught Cunanan—instead he committed suicide on the houseboat where he was living.
July 14
1921—Sacco & Vanzetti Convicted
Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti are convicted in Dedham, Massachusetts of killing their shoe company's paymaster. Even at the time there are serious questions about their guilt, and whether they are being railroaded because of their Italian ethnicity and anarchist political beliefs.
July 13
1933—Eugenics Becomes Official German Policy
Adolf Hitler signs the Law for the Prevention of Hereditarily Diseased Offspring, and Germany begins sterilizing those they believe carry hereditary illnesses, and those they consider impure. By the end of WWII more than 400,000 are sterilized, including criminals, alcoholics, the mentally ill, Jews, and people of mixed German-African heritage.
1955—Ruth Ellis Executed
Former model Ruth Ellis is hanged at Holloway Prison in London for the murder of her lover, British race car driver David Blakely. She is the last woman executed in the United Kingdom.
1966—Richard Speck Rampage
Richard Speck breaks into a Chicago townhouse where he systematically rapes and kills eight student nurses. The only survivor hides under a bed the entire night.
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