Recent scholarship on the giallo film – and Italian horror more broadly – has emphasized the use of the Italian term filone (“thread” or “streamlet”) instead of “genre” to describe the particular production contexts of Italian genre film in the post-war period. This article considers how and why the giallo problematizes film genre as it is traditionally conceived, and argues that the giallo is uniquely positioned to pose fundamental questions about genre as a theoretical system, as well as to question the task of genre criticism itself. Through an examination of historical approaches to film genre via the giallo case study, the article shows how this group of films debunks theories of generic evolution and complicates the notion of generic hybridity. Whilst challenging the cultural hegemony of Hollywood, framing the giallo as a genre demands a radical conceptualization of genre systems that more readily accommodates their propensity to shift and change over time.
The integral version of this article can be found in the printed KINO!