Sunday, February 26, 2017

American Giallo: Body Double

My interest in Body Double (1984) derived from the role it played in one of my perennial favorites, American Psycho (2000), as one of the films Patrick Bateman constantly watches in the background. I had no idea it was a modern re-envisioning of Alfred Hitchock's Rear Window (1954), nor did I know how much it would bolster my theories about the blurring of national lines when it comes to post-war cinema focused on stylized violence. At present, film scholars tend to think of German krimis, Italian gialli, and American slashers as being somewhat related to each other as artistic efforts in violence, but still bound by certain generic definitions that confine themselves to national borders. I have argued, (and will continue to argue if I ever get around to writing that book), that those genre borders should be re-examined, especially in regard to nationality.

Being a Peeping Tom can cause all
sorts of problems-especially when you witness a murder
Body Double is the perfect example of an out-and-out giallo that is NOT Italian. What makes it so? A few things:
*experimental camera angles and framing
*nonlinear storytelling
*stylized violence, usually witnessed
*an amateur investigator as a protagonist
*exploration of memory, selfhood, identity, and voyeurism
*set in an artistic community (actors)

Body Double excelled at all these. Added to this was an intriguing layer of petrifying claustrophobia, which was played brilliantly. Of course, as a Dario Argento fan, the leading director of gialli, I thought this film could have taken some of its scenes even further, but, this is an extraordinary work, and should be witnessed by all serious fans of horror.

K Rating: 10/10

1 comment:

  1. I was also impressed by Body Double. I've viewed it several times and still remember when I first saw it of counting the many homages to various movies represented in the film. I also like the music video done by Frankie Goes to Hollywood "Relax" and once or twice have fast-forwarded to that part simply to watch the song again.