Giallo, the word means “yellow” in Italian. The term comes from paperback mystery novels published in 1929. The trademark of these was the yellow background on the cover. They became so popular over the years that Giallo became a synonym for mystery. In the 60’s Giallo films became more and more popular, but it wasn’t until 1970 that they exploded onto the scene with Dario Argento’s film The Bird With The Crystal Plumage. With that film an entire subgenre of Giallo films came out, even making there way to America. The films most always feature a killer, but you only see his hands, usually wearing black gloves, that is not revealed until the end. Unlike an average mystery film in America these films featured nudity, sex, violence, and ample amounts of gore. They influenced and entire generation of filmmakers.
Two of those filmmakers are the Onetti brothers, Luciano and Nicolas. Fans of the films they began making their own Giallo films back in 2013. Starting with Sonno Profondo, and Francesca (great film) they are completing their own Giallo trilogy with their newest film titled Abrakadabra. And yes it does center on a magician.
Abrakadabra is the tale of Lorenzo, the son of the famous magician Dante The Great. Dante dies on stage during a trick that went wrong, and Lorenzo was there to witness it all. That left him not only scared but also gambling alcoholic who decided to follow in his fathers footsteps and become a magician as well. He’s about 3 steps below being washed up when we meet him but he decides to return to the town, as well as the theater that his father performed the fatal stunt in. Lorenzo and his assistant Antonella have everything ready for what seems to not only be a comeback, but a redemption arc as well when a body turns up amongst his magical equipment.
Soon after that more and more bodies start piling up, all with a tie to Lorenzo. It does not take the local police long to target him as their prime suspect. Lorenzo must work to find out who the real killer is and save himself. To make matters worse as these murders not only tie to Lorenzo, they tie to his late father as well, which means his accident may have been murder.
I loved this film, and that’s saying something as the average Giallo usually puts me to sleep. The Onetti brothers have crafted this film to make it leaner than the original films of the 70’s. Running just a little over an hour this film moves a quick pace, never leaving your mind wander. A complaint I have always had is the runtime in Giallo film, in fact in mystery films in general. If they are too long you lose interest. By having this one run short you stay more vested in the plot and characters. Abrakadabra opens fast and the pace never slows down.
Another thing that I must point out, is this is much more than a throwback film. Sure its set in the 70’s but it doesn’t look like a modern film trying to look old. What this is is a beautiful homage to the old Giallo films. The Onetti brothers filmed this perfectly. It captures the look and feel perfectly, in some cases better than the classic source material they drew inspiration from. Beautiful colors. I say that because Giallo films have always had a very distinctive red, and blue look about them, a tint if you will. This looks and feels like a 70’s film. Its almost breathtaking. The score is amazing as well. If you have watched the old films you know Goblin composed amazing scores. In fact in most cases the scores were what made the movies flow. Well the score on this one is definitely Goblin inspired and really does propel everything along. Its haunting to say the least. I can only hope that it gets a vinyl soundtrack release.
The wonder folks at Cauldron Films have just released this film with a beautiful transfer. The video and audio are immaculate in every sense of the word. This is a great film that looks and sound amazing. I cant stress enough how well the score bellows out of your surround sound. This film may look like a 70’s throwback but the transfer really help make it its own picture. On top of the transfer Cauldron even included special features, the best of which is the inclusion of the CD Soundtrack.
· CD soundtrack with music by Luciano Onetti
· Behind the Scenes
· Italian 5.1, Italian 2.0, and English 2.0 audio options
· English & Spanish subtitles
· Inserts with promotional artwork
· Limited Edition high quality slipcase with original poster art
· Limited to 1000 copies
Overall this is a great film, much more than a simple throwback. This is an entirely new version of a Giallo that captures the old classic quality and adds new twists and turns. Blood, gore, a fantastic twist ending, this has it all. Pick it up today.
Overall 4 out of 5 Stars!