Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Giallo-a-Go-Go: Short Night of Glass Dolls

Am I alive or am I dead?  Today's film is Short Night of Glass Dolls, the Debut film by Aldo Lado- the man who's name is its own anagram.  He's done some memorable films like The Night Train Murders, so let's see where it all began.  Truth be told, I rented this film in the early days of when I had a Website, but didn't review it.  I bought it during the really-truly last hurrah of Blockbuster and it has been sitting in a DVD Sleeve ever since.  Why do I keep putting this thing off?  Who knows?  I sure don't!  The film tells the parallel tales of a mostly-dead man found in the grass and the days leading up to his fate.  Can he solve the mystery behind what happened to him and his girlfriend?  Can he convince someone that he's still alive before it is too late?  No matter what happens Barbara Bach is here (for a while), so I'm happy regardless.  To see a better version of Scared to Death, read on...
This man is discovered 'dead' in the garden at a random building.  He's not dead, however...
...but only he knows it.  He can't move and appears to just be a corpse.  But how did this happen?
He is/was a Reporter who isn't looking for a big Story to break or conspiracy to uncover.
His girlfriend- Bach- comes to visit and all seems well.  However, he's called away for a lead later that night and...
...returns to find her missing.  He clothes and suitcase are there, which makes him very, very suspicious.
In classic Giallo fashion, he tries to solve the crime alongside the Police.  He is at least an Investigative Journalist, as opposed to, say, a Novelist.

A Novelist solving crime- who'd ever think of that?
Unfortunately, he keeps getting cut off before he can get to the truth.  Either evidence disappears, the Police distrust him or witnesses die before he can speak to them.
On top of that, a random Singer appears to interrupt the flow of the investigation (and the film).

I'm honestly sure why this Scene was shot as a mix of group shots and close-ups (in 'another dimension' The Brain That Wouldn't Die-style) either.
With a public autopsy (for a Lecture Class) approaching, can our hero prove that he's still alive and solve the crime proper?  To find out, watch the movie (since I'm a dick).  The End.
It has taken me almost five years and two viewings to do this, but it has been worth it.  Short Night is not the greatest film ever made or anything, but it is a neat variation on the Giallo formula.  The dead Narrator is obviously not a new idea.  The basic structure of Giallo Films is here and not changed too much.  So why is this unique?  Well, there's very little gore or on-screen death.  Almost all of the major stuff (save for the End) is implied and works better that way.  I have seen plenty of Giallos with throat-slitting, head bashing and decapitation- that was all just in Deep Red!  Director Aldo Lado (always a fun name to write) doesn't give this film the visual flourish of Dario Argento or Mario Bava, but the film is still shot well.  Even the lower-quality Giallo films are neat to look at and this film is too.  The film can be a bit slow at times and the pay-off is...odd, to say the least.  Nonetheless, I've gotten my money's worth out of the film.  Did I mention that I paid $1 for it from a Blockbuster (since it was a Disc with no case)?  I didn't?  Oh well.  In all seriousness, it is a neat mix of Art Film and Giallo that will appease those that like either.  It may not be perfect, but it does feature a random amputee for no good reason...
Next up, a very-much-overlooked film that spawned a Remake (that most people assumed was new).  Without Mr. Potter, can the Original be good?  Stay tuned...


  1. Is it just me, or does the lead bear more than a passing resemblance to DeForest Kelley in "Night of the Lepus?" O_O

    1. I can see that.

      I bet you watched this instead of 'Scared to Death,' don't you? :-)

  2. Nice movie, but clearly not the "greatest film ever made or anything" indeed X) I buy it just because Bach was in it, my first (and last i think) Giallo.

    1. If you're only going to watch one Giallo, it should at least be something like 'Blood and Black Lace,' 'The Bird With the Crystal Plumage' or 'Deep Red.'

      Or if you want another one with Bach in it, there's 'Black Belly of the Tarantula.' It's not as good, but...a young Bach is in it.