16 March 2019

Article: Terrore Italiani - Classical Detective Fiction and the Giallo

This is a piece I wrote a long time ago for my MA dissertation many years ago. I was actually studying for an MA in Modern English Literature but somehow persuaded the powers that be to let me write my dissertation about Giallo films...
Meeting Dario Argento at Cine-Excess in 2009.
The Dupin tales of Edgar Allen Poe are considered by many to be the beginning of what is now classed as detective fiction. In these works Dupin's services are engaged to investigate a crime that has occurred prior to the commencement of the narrative. In the course of the investigation evidence is gathered, subsequently examined and the mechanics and perpetrator of the crime exposed. In doing this Dupin reveals to the reader the skills he employs to solve the crime; namely an ability to read the crime scene and evidence, and to interpret these observations in a methodical, almost scientific, manner in order to reach an accurate conclusion.

These tales of ratiocination set the groundwork for the majority of detective fiction that has followed since. This pattern of investigation may be seen at work in the tales of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie, and a number of other writers. Although the genre has diversified, and many subgenres have been created, the spirit of these early texts seems to infuse the majority of this writing.

For the purposes of this current study we will concentrate our attention on these tales by Edgar Allan Poe, and also to a greater extent Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's stories concerning the adventures of Sherlock Holmes. Holmes is considered by many to be the quintessential detective, and as a result the stories concerning him are of primary importance to any discussion of detective fiction.

Another reason that these tales are of relevance to this study is due to the fact that they may clearly be seen to have influenced the giallo. A number of directors, notably Dario Argento, have cited Conan Doyle as an influence on their work and he is often used as a point of parodic reference within a number of these films.

The Giallo, meaning yellow, takes its name from the fact that originally in Italy many crime/detective novels were published in distinctive yellow covers. The giallo developed from this into a literary genre of its own before the genesis of it's more distinctive cinematic counterpart in the 1960's. Essentially the cinematic giallo combines elements of classical detective fiction with the visceral impact more often associated with the horror genre, to produce a distinctive and highly stylised from of murder mystery. While the narrative structure of the giallo will be examined in detail later it is worth briefly mentioning a number of key elements here for those unfamiliar with the genre.

The narrative structure of the giallo is principally built around a series of murders, shown in graphic detail and carried out by a masked/gloved killer (the giallo here clearly forming an influential precursor to the popular American slasher films of the 1980's). The protagonist is often a bystander who is drawn to investigate the crime, often finding themselves implicated in the process. Any police investigation is usually shown to be ineffectual, though the police often take all the credit for solving the mystery at the end of the narrative. When the identity of the murderer is eventually revealed it regularly seems to be at odds with the evidence gathered throughout the narrative, regularly revealing more than one transgressor and often confounding gender expectations. The motive for the killings is usually very convoluted, often stemming from some form of childhood psychological trauma.

The film most often cited as the first giallo is Mario Bava's Blood And Black Lace (Sei donne per l'assassino, 1964), though elements of the giallo may be seen in Bava's earlier film The Evil Eye (La ragazza che sapeva troppo, 1962) and the genre did not really take off until the release of Dario Argento's The Bird With The Crystal Plumage (L'uccello dalle piume di cristallo, 1969). This influential film inspired a vast number of imitations, and the giallo remained popular throughout the early 1970's until it seemed to metamorphosise into a form of the more traditional police procedural in films such as Massimo Dallamano's What Have They Done To Your Daughters? (La polizia chiede auito, 1974).

The early 1980's saw the genre make a comeback with a number of self-reflexive gialli, notably Argento's Tenebrae (Tenebre, 1982), and more sadistic gialli, notably Lucio Fulci's The New York Ripper (Lo squartatore di New York, 1982). Following this resurgence the giallo has remained popular and a number of directors continue to produce entries into the genre, including Argento and Lamberto Bava, although output is not as prolific as it was in the heyday of the 1970's.

While I intend to consider a number of examples of the giallo, this study has taken the work of Dario Argento as its principle focus for a number of reasons that we will examine in a moment. First though it may be useful to briefly summarise Argento's background.

Being the son of a Brazilian fashion photographer and an Italian movie producer - his father Salvatore Argento produced all of his son's films until Inferno (Infierno, 1980) - it seemed natural that Argento should make his career within the film industry. Like many Italian filmmakers of his generation, Argento began his career as a critic, writing for Rome newspaper Paesa Sara, before moving into screenwriting. His most famous work before moving into directing was his collaboration with Sergio Leone and Bernard Bertolucci on the story for Leone's epic western Once Upon A Time In The West (C'era una volta il West, 1969).

Argento's first film was the influential giallo, The Bird With The Crystal Plumage as previously discussed. Following this Argento made three further gialli: The Cat O' Nine Tails (Il gatto a nove code, 1971), Four Flies On Grey Velvet (Quattro mosche di velluto grigio, 1972) and Deep Red (Profondo rosso, 1975), before making the two supernatural thrillers Suspiria (1977) and Inferno. In 1982 he returned to his roots with the post-modern giallo Tenebrae.

Tenebrae dissected the origins of the genre in a refreshing and self-reflexive manner. It made a conscious point of referencing many influences from detective fiction in a way that illuminates the methods by which the giallo both embraces and subverts its conventions.

Since Tenebrae, Argento has continued to work within the giallo and has produced a number of notable entries into the genre such as Terror At The Opera (Opera, 1987), Trauma (1993) and The Stendhal Syndrome (La sindrome di Stendhal, 1996).

Argento has been chosen as the main focus of this study for a number of reasons. As previously stated, Argento's early work set the scene for the explosion of gialli in the early 1970's following the success of The Bird With The Crystal Plumage in 1969. He is one of the few directors within the genre whose work, though not well known and often truncated by the censors, is available in the United Kingdom.

Also Argento is one of the few directors to have remained working within the genre for the duration of his career, he is currently working on another giallo provisionally titled (in Italian) Non Ho Sonno and starring Max Von Sydow. Even the supernatural thrillers Suspiria and Inferno may be seen to adhere to the template of the giallo. Both concern an amateur detective investigating a series of murders/disappearances, where the key to the mystery is something that is seen or heard but incorrectly decoded. The only significant change is that in both these narratives the transgressor is revealed as an agent of the supernatural.

For the purposes of this particular study it is also of importance that Argento has always recognised the links between classical detective fiction and his own work. He has drawn attention to this in both his narratives and interviews spanning his career.

The purpose of this study is therefore to examine the relationship between classical detective fiction and the Italian giallo. I will concentrate primarily on the works of Edgar Allan Poe, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Dario Argento. The study will be divided into three key areas: narrative, identity/gender, and voyeurism.

Chapter One will concentrate on a number of key elements of both classical detective fiction and the giallo (i.e. the detective, the crime etc) and examine their position in relationship to both genres. This will provide a more detailed introduction to the formats we will be dealing with. I intend to draw on models of detective fiction as suggested by lan Ousby, Franco Moretti and Tzvstan Toderov.

Chapter Two will examine the roles that notions of identity and gender play within the texts. Identity is fundamental to detective fiction as the desire to uncover it is central to the investigative narrative. We will discover how the giallo may be seen to play games with these notions and our expectations of them in relation to classical detective fiction. Of primary importance to this discussion will be the notion of the primal scene as initially discussed by Freud, and revised in important ways by Lacan. I will also draw upon ideas suggested by the writer Paul Auster, a contemporary novelist whose narratives fundamentally deconstruct the conventions of detective fiction.

Finally, in Chapter Three, we will look at the role that voyeurism plays within both genres in terms of the narrative and it's audience. The gaze of the detective provides the main drive of any investigative narrative and I will illustrate this. This discussion will be linked back directly to the previous two chapters discussions of narrative, identity and gender. I will take into consideration Slavoj Zizek's theories of the detective as analyst as well as Carol J. Clover's theories concerning the gaze in the contemporary horror film.

In each chapter I also intend to draw upon the limited analysis already afforded to the giallo. There has been very little academic criticism of the giallo, and one of the motivations of this study is to help redress this situation.

Narrative: The Bloodstained Shadow
"A detective, amateur or professional, asks questions, finds clues, makes deductions and brings it all together in a stunning denouement" (McDonagh 14).

Maitland McDonagh has suggested that all detective fiction follows the above narrative pattern. However, the narrative structure of the giallo presents us with a number of radical reworkings of the key elements of the classical detective story. Both genres present us with the crime, the detective, the investigation and the criminal; however their approach to these elements is very different.

In this chapter I will take each of these elements in turn and examine the way in which the giallo may be seen to depart from the narrative structure of the classical detective story, and subvert it's conventions to its own ends. Our purpose here is to clearly identify the way in which the narrative structure of the giallo recodifies the practices of classical detective fiction. Using commentaries on detective fiction by Franco Moretti, lan Ousby and Tzvstan Todorov we will examine these narrative differences with illustrations from both genres.

The figure of the detective is central to both the giallo and the classical style of narrative, however the traits that define this central character seem to be radically opposed in these genres. The detectives Auguste Dupin and Sherlock Holmes are both professionals. Though their stylistic presentation may differ they both follow the same essential drive to logically reconstruct the scene of a crime and identify the criminal. All of these characters have developed their skills of deduction over time, and are able to consistently apply these skills to reading the scene of the crime and any clues that they may uncover. Both men also look on detection as an intellectual process rather than one relating to law and the punishment of the transgressor; indeed in a number of the Holmes stories the criminal evades capture but Holmes seems content that the mystery has been solved.

To use the character of Sherlock Holmes to illustrate the methods of the classical detective in greater detail. According to lan Ousby the detective is, "a gentleman, polished and suave in his manners" (Ousby 140). He goes on to assert that the classical detective is individualistic and combines the methods of science with the showmanship of an artist and a desire to seek justice. Converse to this Franco Moretti presents us with the argument that Holmes sheds his individuality in order to serve the purposes of detection (Moretti 245). However we may assert that these two positions do not work in direct opposition to one another. It is no doubt true that Holmes is presented as a striking individual who has a profound impact upon those that he meets, in particular Doctor Watson, but it is necessary for him to disguise this individuality in order to accomplish his goals as a detective. What is crucial to our understanding of Holmes, and the figure of the detective in classical detective fiction generally, is the fact that for him the process of detection is a scientific one. This notion is clearly foregrounded at the beginning of A Study In Scarlet. Our first picture of the man we later learn to be Sherlock Holmes comes from Watson's old acquaintance Stamford who describes him as, "a fellow who is working at the chemical laboratory up at the hospital" (Conan Doyle 12).

The character of the classical detective is readily presented as intellectually superior to established official agencies of detection. The police are often presented as incompetent in both the Dupin and Holmes stories. For example, in Poe's The Purloined Letter the police search the premises of a prime suspect and completely fail to notice that a stolen letter that they are seeking is on clear display attached to a notice board. Dupin asks the Prefect of the Parisian Police to describe in detail the method used to search the premises, and then recommends that they search them again. For a second time they are unable to locate the letter.

In Conan Doyle's stories the police themselves are seen to use Sherlock Holmes as a consultant on a number of cases that they are unable to solve. However, as Ousby suggests, Holmes' relationship with the police exhibits the appearance of a, "a friendly rivalry of long-acquainted sparring partners" (Ousby 144), as opposed Dupin's direct criticism of what he sees as the stupidity of the police.

Opposed to this notion of the classical detective, the giallo provides us with the central character of the amateur detective. He is often characterised as a witness to the crime itself, who finds himself impotent to intervene and consequently finds himself drawn to investigate it in order to restablish the order of his own world. Todd French aptly describes these detective figures as, "paranoid, alienated seekers. . .choosing to play detective out of a sense of intellectual vanity or to satisfy a nagging doubt about the crime they have witnessed" (French 11).

This notion of amateur detective unable to read the clues presented to him is the key figure in Argento's work, and remains one of the constants in the genre (it may be suggested that this idea of the obvious visual clue that cannot be decoded may be linked to the "hidden" letter of The Purloined Letter). While the classical detective is able to apply his recognised ability to read the crime scene and clues, the amateur detective seems to fumble his way to the unmasking of the transgressor through a process of trial and error. It is more by luck than judgement that the killer's identity is revealed at the closure of the narrative.

The overall plot structure of Argento's The Bird With The Crystal Plumage sets out the blueprint for the quintessential giallo. Its narrative begins with Sam Dalmas (Tony Musante) witnessing the attempted murder of a woman who he later learns to be Monica Ranieri (Eva Renzi). Dalmas is unable to intervene as he finds himself caught between two panels of glass. When questioned by the police Dalmas is convinced that a fragment of the tableau he has witnessed holds the key to the identity of the killer (who the police believe to have been responsible for a number of recent murders). Unable to dismiss this he becomes involved in his own investigation, even after an attempt on his own life. When the police investigation, and Dalmas' own, lead to Monica's husband it seems as though the case has been solved. However, Dalmas remains uneasy.

Returning to the scene of the crime he tries to piece together the vital visual clue that has obsessed him. When finally he realises what it is that is missing from his recollection it becomes clear that he has completely misread the original scene, and that it is in fact Monica herself that is the killer and that the figure believed to be the killer was in fact her husband defending himself.

The giallo also repositions the relationship between the detective and the crime within its narrative structure as illustrated in The Bird With The Crystal Plumage. The amateur detective in the giallo is not removed from the crime, unlike the classical detective who acts as a consultant and has no direct contact with the original crime itself. In the giallo the detective figure often directly witnesses the crime and therefore becomes the focus of the killer's attentions, and in addition becomes a likely suspect in the eyes of the police.

In one parallel to the classical narrative it can clearly be suggested that the official agencies of detection in these narratives are also unable to employ the skilled scientific methods of deduction used by the classical detective. It may be suggested that as both Conan Doyle and Poe are readily accepted to be influences on the giallo that it is from these tales that the notion of the incompetent official detective in the giallo draws its inspiration. This ineptitude also extends beyond the detective himself and also infects any apparatus (often scientific) or procedure that may be used to aid them in their enquires.

Argento presents us with a number of inept detectives who are also misled by the apparatus that they use. This trend may be seen to begin in The Bird With The Crystal Plumage. Here the police investigation into a string of violent homicides, led by Inspector Morosini (Enrico Maria Salerno), consistently fails to progress in any fashion and is constantly misdirected when any form of technology is used to interpret clues. At one stage a computer is used to analyse one of the suspect's black gloves found at the scene of the crime. The computer concludes that the killer must be a well-dressed, left-handed male with a liking for cigars (and produces a list of approximately 150 000 suspects). Thus the police use this information to guide them in their search for the killer. However, at the end of the narrative the killer is revealed to be female, and that the glove actually belongs to her husband.

In a number of Argento's narratives it may also be suggested that the ineptitude of the police or any other official detective figure can lead to them becoming victims themselves, and that this ineptitude extends beyond their position as detectives and into other aspects of their work. For example, in Terror At The Opera a young policeman (played by Argento protege, director Michele Soavi) is given the job of protecting the central character Betty (Cristina Marsillach) from a psychopathic killer who has been terrorising her. The policeman is so ineffectual at his job that he is dispatched so efficiently by the killer that the first time we even see his face is when he is on the floor dying.

The notion of the police as inept and impotent agencies of detection may also be seen in a number of other entries into the genre. In Aldo Lado's Who Saw Her Die? (Chi l'ha vista morire? 1972), Franco Serpieri (George Lazenby) searches the canals of Venice in a quest to track down the killer of his young daughter Roberta (Nicolleta Elmi who later appeared in Argento's 1975 film Deep Red). Serpieri's own investigation is mirrored by the official police investigation led by Inspector De Donato (Sandro Grinfa). While the police investigation goes nowhere focusing primarily on Serpieri himself as prime suspect (a feature of the giallo that we will discuss further), Serpieri manages to link his daughter's death to a similar murder in the French Alps some time previously. This in turn leads him to expose a group of decadent art dealers who are shielding the killer, who is eventually revealed to be masquerading as the local priest. It is notable that while Serpieri does all the valid detection, Inspector De Donato makes sure that he takes all the credit himself at the end of the narrative.

Similarly in Lucio Fulci's Don't Torture A Duckling (Non si sevezia un Paperino, 1972); when a young local boy disappears and a ransom demand is made to his poverty stricken parents, it takes Journalist Andrea Martelli (Tomas Milian) to point out to the police that the demand must have been made by someone mentally deficient. He points out that it is obvious that there is no way that the boy's parents could hope to raise the amount of money demanded. Indeed it transpires that the demand has been made not by the killer but by a mentally retarded local, Giuseppe (Vito Passeri), who has merely discovered the child's body.

As we have touched upon the position of the detective in relation to the crime in the giallo it is perhaps now pertinent to move on to discuss the processes of crime and investigation as they are presented in the two genres under discussion.

In The Typology Of Detective Fiction, Tzvstan Toderov presents us with a valuable insight into the structure of classical detective fiction. He identifies the fact that the narrative may be seen to be split between two distinct strands, one linked to the crime itself and the other to the investigation. This distinction seems to be a vital one when discussing the differences between the giallo and classical detective fiction as it provides us with a focus that illustrates the different positioning of both the crime and the detective in both genres.

Classical detectives, such as Sherlock Holmes and Auguste Dupin, are employed to use their skills to solve a crime that has occurred at some point prior to the commencement of the narrative. They have no direct contact with the crime itself, as we have asserted previously. We have also noted that in the case of the amateur detective of the giallo, such as Sam Dalmas, there is no distancing between the crime and the detective; hence he becomes both potential victim and suspect. From this position we may proceed to apply Toderov's insight to the discussion in hand.

In classical detective fiction, the crime itself has happened sometime prior to the beginning of the story and therefore we are presented with Toderov's investigative narrative. This narrative of investigation leads the protagonists, and the readers, to a point where the specifics of the crime are revealed and the transgressor is unmasked, what may be considered to be the narrative of the crime. This narrative of the crime therefore forms the conclusion to the tale.

For example, in Edgar Allan Poe's The Purloined Letter, a letter is stolen at some point prior to the commencement of the narrative. Auguste Dupin undertakes the investigation to establish where the letter is and unmask the identity of the perpetrator. The majority of the narrative concerns Dupin explaining the process he undertook to solve the crime. The final section of the tale tells us the specifics of the crime itself and unmasks the thief, as well as revealing where the letter is hidden.

One tale that provides us with a very clear illustration of Toderov's distinction between the narrative of the investigation and the narrative of the crime is Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's A Study In Scarlet (1887). In this, the very first of the Sherlock Holmes stories, the reader is recounted the tale of two revenge murders and the investigation to uncover the identity of the murderer by Sherlock Holmes. The story is structurally split into two very distinct parts.

The first part recounts Doctor Watson's introduction to Sherlock Holmes and the circumstances that lead to them sharing a flat together. Watson continually quizzes Holmes about the nature of his business. Holmes then receives a letter from Tobias Gregson of Scotland Yard requesting his assistance in investigating a murder that has occurred the night before. Holmes is at first reluctant to go but is persuaded by Watson to attend. Watson then finds himself accompanying Holmes to the site of a murder. When they arrive at 3 Lauriston Gardens they are shown the body of Joseph Stangerson. Holmes undertakes the investigation and uncovers another murder, that of Enoch J. Drebber, and eventually traces the crime back to an individual named Jefferson Hope. When Hope is confronted he confesses to the crime.

The second part of the story describes the story of Jefferson Hope and explains the reasons behind his actions, these events taking place over a number of years. It seems that both Drebber, Stangerson, and Hope all hailed from the United States of America. Drebber and Stangerson had been Mormons in Salt Lake City, and Hope had been an outsider who fell in love with one of the Mormon women. When he attempts to elope with her and her elderly father Drebber and Stangerson give chase with a posse of outraged Mormons. The girl's father is murdered and the girl taken back while Hope is away from their campsite. When the girl is forced to marry Drebber she only lives a month before dying due to her shock at the death of her father and a loveless marriage. Hope learns of this and swears revenge, but is thwarted when he finds Drebber's house deserted. As a result he traces Drebber and Stangerson to Europe and kills them both.

The giallo is markedly different in that it merges these two narrative strands of crime and investigation into one. The crime is presented within the framework of the narrative and has a direct relationship to the investigation in the sense that it both implicates and threatens the central figure of the detective.

Argento's gialli may be seen to deliberately play with this idea. We have already seen how Sam Dalmas becomes both suspect and potential victim in The Bird With The Crystal Plumage, and the pattern may be seen to continue in The Cat O' Nine Tails and Deep Red for example. In both of these narratives we again see a witness to a crime, overheard in The Cat O' Nine Tails and seen in Deep Red, become obsessed with solving the mystery and in so doing becoming the focus of the attentions of both the police and the killer. What is also notable in these gialli, and other films of the genre, is the equal emphasis placed upon the processes crime and the investigation. It is here that the giallo begins to blur the boundaries between detective fiction and horror fiction. As noted by Ray Guins in his essay Tortured Looks: Dario Argento And Visual Displeasure:

"Whereas traditional horror and mystery films emphasise a struggling yet surviving protagonist who overcomes or solves the horrific conundrum, the giallo places equal (if not more) importance on the actual method of killing as well as solving the crime" (Guins 141) .

In classical detective fiction the crime takes place prior to the commencement of the narrative and the reader is given no description of the act itself only the aftermath. For example in A Study In Scarlet, Watson gives the following description of the corpse of the man later discovered to be Joseph Stangerson: "It was a man of about forty-three or forty-four years of age, middle-sized, broad-shouldered, with crisp curling black hair, and a short, stubbly beard" (Conan Doyle 21). Watson then goes on to describe the attire of the body and the look on the man's face. There are no gruesome details of the method of murder given such as details of bloody wounds or decomposition.

Conversely in the giallo the viewer has the crime presented to them in as much graphic detail as possible. In Argento's Terror At The Opera we see a man stabbed in the throat and the knife blade exit through his mouth. In Inferno a black gloved killer repeatedly guillotines one of his victims with a broken windowpane.

Other graphic representations of violence in the giallo include eyeballs being sliced in two (Lucio Fulci's The New York Ripper), skulls cracked open with rocks (Aldo Lado's Who Saw Her Die?), and heads removed by industrial machinery (Tonino Valerii's My Dear Killer originally titled Mio caro assassino, 1971). Thus it becomes clear that the positioning and presentation of crime itself within the narrative framework of the giallo is radically different to that of classical detective fiction.

Following from the crime it becomes necessary to examine the notion of the criminal and motive. In classical detective fiction it is fair to say that the majority of crimes spring out of very tangible motivations. As we have seen in A Study In Scarlet we find crimes motivated by revenge, in The Purloined Letter we find a crime motivated by blackmail. It is also possible to find crimes motivated by jealousy, greed and the need to cover up some form of conspiracy. With the exception of stories that deal with some form of criminal organisation (e.g. we find the Moriarty Organisation in a number of Conan Doyle's narratives), in the majority of these narratives we find the criminal working alone with his individual motivations . In his essay Clues, Franco Moretti talks of the criminal in terms of an isolated individual who to allies himself to others as, "merely the expedient that allows him to attain his own interests" (Moretti 238). Moretti suggests that it is the criminals individuality that allows him to be traced: "Innocence is conformity; individuality, guilt. It is, in fact, something irreducibly personal that betrays the individual: traces, signs that only he could have left behind" (Moretti 238).

To return to A Study In Scarlet; it is logical that the murders of Enoch Drebber and Joseph Stangerson should be traced back to Jefferson Hope. Hope is one of the few links between the two men, once Drebber and Stangerson are linked together it is only a matter of time before Hope is located.

Moretti suggests that the criminal may be located as one of three types of individual (Moretti 244). First there is the Noble, defined by Moretti as an individual whose crimes are perpetrated in order to maintain his high social/financial standing. The opposite of this is the Upstart who wishes to increase his social/financial standing through the crimes that he commits. Finally, Moretti suggests the notion of the Stepfather, "who steps in to seize the inheritance" (Moretti 244).

In the giallo we are confronted with what Moretti describes as, "The perfect crime - the nightmare of detective fiction - is the featureless, deindividualized crime that anyone could have committed because at this point everyone is the same" (Moretti 238). It is very rare in the giallo that a clear cut motive, such as revenge or greed, may be pinpointed. In the majority of gialli the killer is motivated by some form of psychological trauma. In The Bird With The Crystal Plumage, Monica Ranieri is motivated to kill after seeing a picture depicting an attack on a woman similar to an experience she had sometime previously and that left her sexually scared both physically and mentally. In Sergio Pastore's The Crimes Of The Black Cat (7 Scialli di seta gialla, 1972), Francoise Bally (Sylvia Koscina) is motivated to kill the glamorous models at her fashion house because her breasts were mutilated in a car crash. What this essentially does is take away the emphasis of gathering tangible facts to identify the killer as such psychological motivations remain unknown and intangible until the denouement of the narrative.

Even in gialli where a tangible motive is apparent there are often undertones of psychological imbalance. As Leon Hunt observes in respect of Blood And Black Lace:

"The motive for the killings is tied up with an elaborate and inconsequential blackmail plot, but the murders are performed as though something more fundamentally sadosexual is taking place" (Hunt 71).

An element of the giallo that also ties into Moretti's comments concerning the deindividualised crime, is the notion that many gialli provide multiple transgressors within their narratives. Rather than pinpointing any one individual as in the case of classical detective fiction, the giallo presents us with multiple solutions.

A key example of this may be seen in Tenebrae. Here a series of murders are linked to giallo writer Peter Neal (Anthony Franciosa). Pages of his new novel are found stuffed into the mouth of at least one victim, and he receives notes from the killer following each murder. Neal's own investigations lead to the unmasking of critic Christiano Berti (John Steiner) as the killer. But when Berti is killed, the murders continue. At the end of the narrative it is revealed that Berti's crimes have awoken a dormant psychoses in Neal himself (it is suggested that Neal may have been responsible for the death of a young girl in New Jersey in his youth) and that after killing Berti he has taken up his own murderous quest.

Argento was to use this plot structure again in The Stendhal Syndrome. As there is more than one transgressor it becomes more difficult for any methods found in classical detective fiction to uncover the truth; a notion alluded to in Tenebrae's narrative nods to Sherlock Holmes. When Neal comments that, "When you have eliminated the impossible whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth," the quote is attributed to Conan Doyle's The Hound Of The Baskervilles (1902) when in fact it comes from The Sign Of The Four (1890). It may therefore be suggested that this tells us that any conventional methods of detection used by either Neal or Detective Giermani (Guiliano Gemma) are equally misplaced.

This also neatly encapsulates the way in which the giallo subverts the narrative structures of classical detective fiction. The giallo presents itself as a detective story, but on close inspection it misquotes the narrative structures of the form.

Identity And Gender - Death Walks In High Heels
"The detective is the a true son of the murderer Oedipus, not only because he solves a riddle, but also because he kills the man to whom he owes his title, without whom he would not exist in that capacity (without crimes, without mysterious crimes, what would he be?) because this murder was foretold for him from the day of his birth or, if you prefer, because it is inherent in his nature, through it alone he fulfils himself and attains the highest power" (Michel Butor cited in Dibdin 214).

The nature of identity within detective fiction is a complex issue, as highlighted by Michel Butor's quote from L'Emploi du temps (1951) cited above. Identity is a fundamental issue within these texts. The detective must locate the identity of a transgressor who is trying to hide it. In the process of investigation the detective's own identity must be sacrificed as a means to the process of investigation, and the state of the detective's notion of self is often determined by the outcome. The Oedipus myth is often linked to analysis of detective fiction and has provided a starting point for much psychoanalytic criticism of the genre. According to Slavoj Zizek:

"There are a wide range of studies that set out to reveal the psychoanalytic undertones of the detective story: the primordial crime to be explained is parricide, the prototype of the detective is Oedipus, striving to attain the terrifying truth about himself" (Zizek 50).

Alongside issues of identity runs the notion of gender. Traditionally it may be suggested that gender expectations are often fulfilled within the genre; women as victims, brilliant male detectives, callous male criminals etc. Urszula Clark and Sonia Zyngier draw attention to the fact that:

". . .sleuthing is primarily the province of men. Where women feature as detectives, they occupy a position of deference, working as helpers to the male police, always handing the murderer over to them so that they finished the job and dispersed justice" (Clark and Zyngier 146).

Further to this Patricia Merivale, in her essay An Unsuitable Genre For A Woman... (1996), cites Kathleen Gregory Hines in suggesting that the detective is always male and the victim always female irrespective of biology (Merivale 699). The giallo may be seen to clearly play with these notions. A central feature of the giallo is the way in which the identity of the transgressor seems to constantly shift within the narrative, often unmasking two killers in it's conclusion. An example of this may be seen in Argento's The Bird With The Crystal Plumage. It is revealed that while Monica Ranieri is primarily responsible for the series of violent murders in Rome; her husband has also been responsible for a number of killings in an attempt to draw suspicion away from his wife. Also the revelation at the conclusion of the narrative, rather than reinstating the status quo, causes the detective figure to radically revaluate his own notion of identity.

In this chapter I will examine the ways in which identity and gender may be seen at work in classical detective fiction and the giallo. I will start by briefly considering the notion of the detective as artist. Following this I will move on to look at the way in which Lacanian theories about the construction of identity have been applied to classical detective fiction, and how they may be read within the context of the giallo. This analysis will concentrate primarily on the Freudian notion of the primal scene as it pertains to investigative narratives before I move on to examine the notion of the chivalrous male hero in classical detective fiction and the giallo.

It is notable that while detection seems very closely allied to the practices of scientific enquiry, it is often referred to as the, "art of detection." Developing directly from this notion comes the notion of the detective as artist. This is clearly highlighted in both Poe and Conan Doyle's work. Poe spends some time discussing the nature of analytical power in his introduction to The Murders In The Rue Morgue, the first of the Dupin tales. It may be considered that the link with the artistic is drawn out in his statement that, "the truly imaginative [are] never otherwise than analytic" (Poe 143).

Sherlock Holmes as well as being a man of science, as evidenced in his time spent in the hospital laboratory, also has a clearly artistic side to his personality. This is shown in the stories through Holmes' hobby of playing the violin, an artistic pastime. In A Study In Scarlet, Watson makes several references to this remarking on Holmes' skill as a musician: "That he could play pieces, and difficult pieces, I knew well, because at my request he played me some of Mendelssohn's lieder, and other favourites" (Conan Doyle 16).

It is notable that several of Argento's protagonists are artists in one field or another. We have musicians (Marcus Daly in Deep Red, Roberto Tobias in Four Flies On Grey Velvet), writers (Sam Dalmas in The Bird With The Crystal Plumage, Peter Neal in Tenebrae) and dancers (Suzy Banyon in Suspiria).

This notion of the detective as artist has been dissected by Paul Auster in his novel The New York Trilogy (1987). In the first part of the trilogy Quinn, a writer of detective fiction, receives a call in the middle of the night from someone trying to contact the Paul Auster Detective Agency. Quinn is intrigued and when he receives a second call he pretends to be Paul Auster and takes on the case. The novel is very clearly playing with notions of identity: we have the idea Paul Auster the actual author, and Paul Auster the fictional detective who appears in the book to consider from the outset, and Quinn the fake Paul Auster. Auster writes:

"The detective is the one who looks, who listens, who moves through this morass of objects and events in search of the thought, the idea that will pull all these things together and make sense of them. In effect, the writer and the detective are interchangeable" (Auster 8).

By linking this with the previous quotation from Michel Butor we are presented with a train of thought which directly links the identities of murderer, detective and artist. If writer and detective are interchangeable as Auster suggests, then we are able to proceed to the conclusion that detective and criminal/writer and criminal are also interchangeable in the same manner. This notion is clearly an idea that Argento plays with in Tenebrae.

In Tenebrae, Peter Neal's identity fluctuates between these three roles. Initially Neal is the writer, in Rome to promote his new book, whose work has had a profound effect on a killer who attempts to replicate the crimes in Neal's new novel. As the narrative progresses, Neal adopts the role of detective in order to help the police identify the killer. When Neal then identifies the murderer he kills him and takes advantage of this to indulge his own psychotic impulses. The writer, detective and killer are therefore all aspects of Neal's identity.

McDonagh also draws on the notion that Peter Neal and Detective Giermani reflect each others identities as writer and detective. Neal draws on classical techniques of detection, gathering evidence and analysing it, while Giermani tries to reconstruct events in the way a writer of detective fiction would. McDonagh argues that:". . .the detective/writer and the writer/detective, each belittles the other half, as though by being demeaned this inverted reflection could be made to go away" (McDonagh 184). This would seem to suggest that both the detective and the writer are rendered impotent and ineffectual by their assimilation of key features of the others identity.

Auster's The New York Trilogy also critiques the way in which the detective uses language to construct identity. Though this is not the place to provide an in depth discussion of this fascinating piece of writing it is of value to the current study to identify a couple of the features central to this story.

Quinn is hired, albeit under false pretences, by Peter Stillman to locate a man he believes is going to kill him. Stillman believes this man to be Ms father, who once kept him locked in a room from infancy to see if he would develop his own independent language.

Quinn spends time tracing the man believed to be Stillman's father, and spends time observing his daily routines. One of these routines is to go for a daily walk, always choosing a different route. When Quinn draws these routes on a map he realises that each route gives him a different letter, suggesting the words Tower Of Babel. Slowly Quinn begins to lose himself and his identity: "Little by little, Quinn was coming to the end. . .Quinn no longer had any interest in himself' (Auster 130).

Auster's work draws on Lacan's notions that identity and sexuality are governed by language using a number of terms that privilege the masculine. Lacan suggests that disorders such as psychoses occur when this process of government breaks down, in a place to which he gives the term the Real. It has been suggested by Bice Benvenuto and Roger Kennedy in their introduction to The Works Of Jacques Lacan (1986) that Lacan's notion of psychosis relates to a break between the structures of the symbolic and the subject. They argue that this is related to Oedipal tensions found in infancy, and is caused by alterations of the subject's notion of self, external reality and language. It is the function of the symbolic to repress these infantile experiences and psychosis is caused when they break to the surface in adulthood.

One of the most regularly cited examples of this may be seen in Freud's notion of the primal scene, where the young child accidentally witnesses his parents having sexual intercourse. The trauma of this tableau may consequently lead to the child developing into an adult with an unstable notion of their own identity. For the young male child this may lead to him identify his mother's different sexual organs with castration, and hence revise the loving act with one of violence in his own mind. A primary example of this may be seen in Freud's case study of the "Wolf Man" as cited by Xavier Mendik in his essay Detection And Transgression: The Investigative Drive Of The Giallo. The patient witnessing the parental act of coitus recast this childhood memory, "as that of anal coitus with its implications of violent intent" (Mendik 38).

Lacan analyses Poe's The Purloined Letter in his essay found in The Purloined Poe. He reads elements of the relationship between the primal scene and language into the tale. The primal scene, he suggests, is acknowledged by the fact that the site of transgression, the location from which the letter is stolen, is the Queen's bedroom and hence a place with sexual resonances. The prefect of police then recodifies this scene of transgression when he narrates it to Dupin at the beginning of Poe's tale.

Following this Dupin makes his investigation and recovers the letter, thus reintegrating discourse and the status quo. In this Dupin is also able emphasise his mastery over the relationship between the subject and the symbolic in the form of his explanatory speech. Clark and Zyngier comment that:

"The detective's role is to re-establish order after the exposure of the criminal. This means striving for the maintenance of idealized social relations, including traditional class and gender divisions. . .such relations are maintained by forms of speech and address chosen along lines of social class" (Clark and Zyngier 146).

Slavoj Zizek suggests, from his own interpretation of Lacan, that the detective figures in classical detective fiction are able to accurately read visual clues at the scene of the crime. Following their investigations they are able to successfully reinstate the laws of language and logic through an explanation such as the one given by Dupin. The role of the detective in reading these clues is to identify an absent suspect in order to reinstate the relationship between the subject and the symbolic.

Sherlock Holmes may be seen to demonstrate this notion in a number of Conan Doyle's tales. One of the most pertinent examples of this may be found in the tale A Case Of Identity. In this tale Sherlock Holmes receives a request from Mary Sutherland, a young lady trying to locate her missing fiance Hosmer Angel. Holmes quickly reads a vital visual clue, although it is initially dismissed by Watson. He tells Watson: "I then glanced at her face, and observing the dint of a pince-nez at either side of her nose, I ventured a remark upon short sight and typewriting, which seemed to surprise her" (Conan Doyle 153).

In the conclusion of the tale it is revealed that Hosmer Angel does not in fact exist. It comes to light that Hosmer Angel is in actual fact the creation of Mary's stepfather Mr James Windibank. Windibank, it transpires, has taken advantage of Mary's poor sight and has been disguising himself as a possible suitor for her. He has been doing so in order to keep control of her finances which are all controlled by Mary's mother and himself, apart from the small amount she makes as a typist. By disguising himself he has been able to pursuade the short-sighted Mary into swearing eternal loyalty to the fictitious Hosmer Angel. The notion of identity being linked to modes of language is highlighted by Windibank disguising his voice, leading Mary to state (believing the voice to be that of her fiance): "Even his voice was gentle. He'd had the quinsy and swollen glands when he was young, he told me, and it had left him with a weak throat, and a hesitating, whispering fashion of speech" (Conan Doyle 150). By making Angel disappear Windibank makes sure that Mary remains unavailable to any other possible suitors.

Holmes is able to deduce this due to two important observations he makes. Firstly he notes that Mary is prone to wearing glasses but does not wear them all the time. Secondly he is able to ascertain that the typeface of a letter sent to Mary by Hosmer Angel, and a note sent to Holmes by James Windibank must have been written on the same typewriter.

This highlighting of the written communications between the protagonists, coupled with the fact that Windibank is forced to disguise his voice confirm the erosion of accepted forms of language. Hence this leads to the erosion of established identity and the fracturing of the relationship between the subject and the symbolic.

The primal scene is central to many gialli, and is often presented within the narrative as a driving force behind transgression. We are often presented as viewers with dream sequences that are repeated and elaborated throughout the course of the giallo's narrative. Fundamental to this discussion are the dreams of the protagonists in Argento's Four Flies On Grey Velvet and Tenebrae.

The narrative of Four Flies On Grey Velvet begins when drummer Roberto Tobias (Michael Brandon) follows and confronts a stranger that he believes has been following him. During this confrontation the man is fatally stabbed by Roberto, and the whole sequence of events photographed by a mysterious masked figure. This masked figure then begins to send the photographs to Roberto, who in turn breaks down and confesses what has happened to his wife Nina (Mimsy Farmer).

The narrative continues with the Tobias' maid discovering the identity of the masked figure, and being brutally killed in the local park. It is revealed (to the audience but not Roberto) that the death in the theatre has been staged by the stranger and the masked man. When the stranger demands more money he too is murdered, as is Gianni Arrosio (Jean-Pierre Marielle) a homosexual detective hired by Roberto. When Nina's cousin Dalia, with whom Roberto has an affair, is also murdered the police try a new technique to identify the killer. Using a special camera they take the final image seen by Dalia from her retina revealing what appears to be four flies in the shape of an arc. Consequently when Nina returns home Roberto notices that the pendant she is wearing contains a fly within it. He realises that Nina must be the killer and the four flies a multiple exposure of the one in her pendant. It transpires that Nina has been tormenting Roberto for the sins of her father, whom Roberto resembles. Her father it is revealed was abusive and raised her as a boy.

The primal scene in Four Flies On Grey Velvet is evidenced by a recurring dream that Roberto has, and that wakes him at key points in the narrative. The dream relates to a story told to him by Andreas (Stefano Satta-Flores) concerrung a public beheading in a middle eastern country. Each time the dream is repeated, it is revised and elaborated. Initially very little is revealed but the final dream ends with the man in the square being beheaded, prefiguring Nina's spectacular decapitation at the end of the film. What is clear is the fact that Roberto's subconscious is recodifying the story told to him to reflect his own situation. According to Maitland McDonagh:

"The progress of these dreams charts the process by which Roberto's reality dissolves into a nightmare of death and retribution, or perhaps simply that by which all his dreams run together into one continuing dream whose landscapes. . .are really one landscape full of hidden pitfalls and viscious surprises" (McDonagh 92-93).

Tenebrae also highlights the primal scene and the fracturing of discourse in its narrative. We are presented with a number of images such as books being torn up and burned, pages stuffed into the mouths of victims. These images clearly highlight the fact that stable notions of language are being eroded within the narrative, and therefore stable notions of identity along with them.

The primal scene is highlighted in three dream sequences that occur at important moments within the narrative. The first dream sequence depicts a girl openly encouraging a group of young men sexually on an expanse of beach. When another man appears he strikes the girl before turning and running up the beach. He is pursued and pinned down by the other men, and then humiliated by the girl who forces the heel of her red shoes into his mouth. The second and third dreams show the same girl courting a young man from the perspective of a hidden voyeur. The dream closes with the voyeur stabbing the girl to death after the young man accompanying her departs. The voyeur then steals the girl's red shoes suggesting that the voyeur is in fact the humiliated party from the initial dream exacting his revenge.

At the close of the narrative when it is suggested that Neal may have been responsible for the death of a girl in Long Beach in his youth, the audience is shown a brief flash of this sequence. This would appear to suggest that the dreams represent the primal scene in as much as Neal is recodifying these past traumatic events, triggering his fresh bout of psychosis.

The primal scene in the giallo has also been presented in a number of notable examples as a tool to suppress the memory of some transgression that has been otherwise motivated. A key narrative that illustrates this may be found in Lucio Fulci's A Lizard In A Woman's Skin (Una lucertola con la pelle di donna, 1971).

In this, Fulci's second giallo, Carol Hammond (Florinda Bolkan) confesses to her psychiatrist that she has been having a recurring nightmare. In her dream she sees herself being intimate with her noisy neighbour Julia Durer (Anita Strindberg), before violently stabbing her to death in front of two hippies. The next morning Julia is found murdered in a similar manner and with a number of Carol's belongings near her body. The police arrest Carol but her father, an eminent lawyer, uses her revelations to the psychiatrist as evidence and secures her release.

Carol soon finds herself being harassed by two hippies that bear a strong resemblance to the witnesses in her dream. In order to clear Carol, her stepdaughter Joan (Edy Gall) tries to locate the hippies but is found murdered. The hippie is arrested and confesses to Joan's murder but refuses to admit to the murder of Julia Durer.

Following this Carol's father commits suicide after admitting that a woman has been trying to blackmail him with information about a member of his family. He leaves behind a note confessing to Julia's murder. However, the investigating police officer Inspector Corvin (Stanley Baker) is not convinced by this.

The narrative resolves itself when it is revealed that it was in fact Carol Hammond who murdered Julia Durer. Following the murder it is revealed that Carol has buried the murder in her subconscious by recodifying it as a dream, the primal scene of the narrative.

In Bloodhounds Of Heaven - The Detective In English Fiction From Godwin To Doyle, lan Ousby suggests that Holmes is often required to take on the role of chivalrous knight.

"The chivalric knight is never more knightly nor more chivalric than in his protection of women. On a number of occasions Holmes rescues single women from dangerous situations, and these fall into the familiar patterns of sentimental melodrama" (Ousby 166).

What this suggests is that the male detective is able to reconstitute and reaffirm patriarchal values through his rescue of the female in peril. Ousby cites a number of examples within the Sherlock Holmes tales where women are rescued from physical or sexual danger. An example of this may be clearly seen in The Adventure Of The Illustrious Client (Conan Doyle 1041-1058).

In this tale the "illustrious client" of the title engages Sherlock Holmes to prevent the marriage of Miss Violet De Merville to Baron Gruner. It is revealed to Holmes that Gruner is an unscrupulous adventurer, who has confessed all his past scandals but in such a way as to make him seem an innocent victim. Violet of course has been hoodwinked into accepting Gruner's version of events and will not pay any heed to any alternative. Holmes confronts Bruner and is warned to mind is own business and that:

". . .you will only ruin your own well-deserved reputation. It is not a case in which you can possibly succeed. You will have barren work, to say nothing of incurring some danger. Let me very strongly advise you to draw off at once" (Conan Doyle 1046).

Following this Holmes is attacked and threatened. However he pursues the case and with the help of one of Gruner's previous female conquests is able to locate a diary detailing the Baron's misdemeanours - Watson jovially asks Holmes, "It is his love diary?" to which Holmes replies, "Or his lust diary" (Conan Doyle 1058). Holmes passes this diary onto his client to be used as he sees fit in order to present Violet with the truth. What is also notable here is the fact that the revelation to Violet is entrusted to be carried out by one of two patriarchal figures: "I do not know how the incriminating book was used. Sir James may have managed to it. Or it is more probable that so delicate a task was entrusted to the young lady's father" (Conan Doyle 1058).

This also clearly carries the undertone that women must be protected by patriarchal systems in order to preserve their delicate sensibilities. It may also be suggested that Dupin fits into this role of the chivalrous male hero. In The Purloined Letter he clearly performs the role in ensuring that the Queen's reputation is preserved by returning the incriminating letter to her.

The male detective of the giallo, while he may have pretensions towards chivalry, is often presented as ineffectual and impotent. It is often the case that the female characters are presented in a much more positive light, regularly coming to the rescue of their enfeebled male counterparts. Ray Guins notes this tendency in the giallo when comparing it with the horror movie: "Male characters are ill-suited to traditional notions of the phallocentric hero. That is, they lack the power and the authority commonly associated with men in horror films" (Guins 141). This is particularly evident when the position of the amateur detective of the giallo is considered in relation to the crime. The pattern is established that the male protagonist is unable to intervene to prevent the crime that he witnesses, and so play the chivalric hero. Sam Dalmas finds himself trapped between two sliding glass doors, and even his calls go unheard, in The Bird With The Crystal Plumage. Similarly, in Lucio Fulci's The New York Ripper we see Lieutenant Jack Williams (Jack Hedley) taunted by the killer who has kidnapped Kitty - a prostitute that Williams solicits. Williams is forced to endure Kitty's screams over the phone as she is savagely mutilated, and he naturally arrives too late to save her.

A good example of this tendency of the giallo detective failing to live up to gender expectations set by the classical detective story may be seen in the example of Marcus Daly, the central protagonist of Argento's Deep Red. Like Sam Dalmas before him Marcus witnesses a brutal act of transgression, the murder of psychic Helga Ulman (Macha Meril), but is unable to intervene. Similarly Marcus begins his own investigation, convinced that a painting missing from the scene of the crime holds a vital visual clue. From this point it seems that Marcus has his identity as the chivalric male detective thrown constantly into question. Firstly he is unable to save Helga Ulman from the physical threat of the killer, and rushes to her aid too late. Following this Marcus finds himself on the receiving end of a number of derogatory comments aimed at his sexuality as noted by Maitland McDonagh:

"The police inspector sent to the scene of Helga's murder suggests slyly that being a musician is no sort of profession for a real man" (McDonagh 104).

Marcus strikes up a relationship with Gianna Brezzi (Dana Nicolodi), a female reporter in search of a story. However it is clear that gender roles are reversed in this relationship. Gianna drives Marcus around everywhere while he is constantly humiliated by her car, finding himself unable to enter the vehicle without climbing in through the sunroof. When Gianna challenges Marcus to prove his male superiority in a bout of arm wrestling he naturally loses. These light-hearted moments are counterpointed by occasions where Gianna saves Marcus from very real danger, for instance when he is knocked unconscious and left in a burning building. McDonagh neatly encapsulates this notion of the giallo detective as an impotent force, particularly when compared to the notion of the chivalrous classical detective when she asserts that Marcus, "is constantly presented not as an active force, but a reactive one" (McDonagh 106).

To summarise, in this chapter I have illustrated how notions of identity and gender may be read within the investigative narratives of classical detective fiction and the giallo. It is clear that underlying these notions is the male desire to reunite the realm of the subject with the symbolic in order to re-establish the status quo. As shown this may be analysed in terms of psychoanalysis with particular reference to the concept of the primal scene. We have established that classical detective fiction may be seen to privilege the concept of the chivalrous male hero, often through denying female characters access to discourse so that their identity is defined through the male characters they come into contact with. In response to this the giallo provides us with a feminised protagonist, unable to correctly read the clues place before him and often shown as weak when contrasted with strong female characters.

Voyeurism: Cold Eyes Of Fear
"The detective is the one who looks. . .Private eye. . .the eye of the man who looks out from himself into the world and demands that the world reveal itself to him" (Auster 8).

As the above quotation from Paul Auster's The New York Trilogy suggests, the concept of looking, observing, gazing - the tools of the voyeur are central to the role of the detective. Auster may be seen to foreground this in a number of his tales that each seem to clearly deconstruct the conventions of detective fiction. For Auster the notion of the detective as voyeur links directly to issues of identity, as discussed in the previous chapter. Observation is used to read clues in order to reconstruct the events leading to the perpetration of the crime, and hence locate the identity of the transgressor.

In this chapter I intend to examine the ways in which the notion of the voyeur is presented in both classical detective fiction and the giallo. In the classical detective novel it may be suggested that observation is alluded to in the actions of the detective and the process of the investigation. This may be considered to be mirrored in the fact that much detective fiction, notably the Dupin and Holmes tales, is narrated by a third party who has observed the investigation itself. In relation to this I will discuss the ways in which observation is foregrounded in these texts.

In the giallo the concept of the voyeur becomes far more entwined with the dictionary definition of:

"A person who obtains sexual pleasure from the observation of people undressing, having intercourse, etc" (McLeod 1319).

The giallo has more tools to actively play with the notion of the detective's desire to look. It presents us with mixed perspectives, and actively engages the audience in this process. In the scheme of the giallo it is not just the detective who gazes, it is the transgressor, the audience, the unknown. These games will be examined in relation to the dominant male gaze and shifting perspectives. In particular I intend to use Carol J. Clover's observations of the gaze in horror cinema and illustrate them using a number of gialli. My examination will also touch on the controversial nature of voyeuristic intent within these narratives.

The skill of the detective lies in his ability to observe and analyse the scene of transgression. His talent is one of looking and decoding, noticing the smallest detail and allying it to the correct piece of knowledge thus enabling him to identify the transgressor. The detective must look at the visual clue and translate it back into the realm of language in order to reconstruct events and link the symbolic with the subject.

In Looking Awry: An Introduction To Jacques Lacan Through Popular Culture, Slavoj Zizek discusses what he considers to be, "The Sherlock Holmes Way" (Zizek 48), in respect of the detective's method of investigation. Zizek comments that it is the role of the detective to, "unmask the imaginary unity of the scene of the crime as it was staged by the assassin" (Zizek 53). In this he draws a comparison between the role of the detective and the role of the psychoanalyst. In looking at the crime scene it is necessary for the detective to locate the piece of the picture that does not quite fit, that seems to disrupt the unity of the space, in the same way that the psychoanalyst must interpret the dream:

"Holmes's advise to Watson not to mind the basic impressions but to take into consideration the details echoes Freud's assertion that psychoanalysis employs interpretation en detail and not en mass. . ." (Zizek 53)

The detective's eye for detail is constantly reiterated in the Sherlock Holmes stories. In his first meeting with Doctor Watson in A Study In Scarlet, Holmes comments: "You have been in Afghanistan, I perceive" (Conan Doyle 13). This comment plays on Watson's mind until Holmes reveals that his initial observations on meeting him sparked the following train of thought:

"Here is a gentleman of a medical type, but with the air of a military man. Clearly an army doctor then. He has just come from the tropics, for his face is dark, and that is not the natural tint of his skin, for his wrists are fair. He has undergone hardship and sickness, as his haggard face says clearly. His left arm has been injured. He holds it in a still and unnatural manner. Where in the tropics could an English army doctor have seen much hardship and got his arm wounded? Clearly in Afghanistan" (Conan Doyle 18).

That this is an innate skill of Holmes is illustrated by the fact that he can give no clear account of the steps that led him to this conclusion. As the reader is already aware of Watson's background, Holmes' original comment immediately conveys the idea that this man possesses a keen sense of observation and analysis.

Holmes is taken with making similar observations that are reiterated at the start of a number of the tales, constantly foregrounding this notion of observation and analysis. At the beginning of The Sign Of Four, Holmes is challenged and examines a watch that Watson has recently acquired. Holmes pointedly tells Watson that there is very little useful information to be gained from looking at the watch before relating the watch's history tracing it back to Watson's alcoholic brother (Conan Doyle 66). Another example of the deliberate placing of these demonstrations at the beginning of a tale may be seen when Holmes meets John Hector McFarlane at the beginning of the tale The Adventure Of The Norwood Butler. Holmes comments that it is obvious that McFarlane is, "a bachelor, a solicitor, a Freemason and an asthmatic" (Conan Doyle 570).

This piecing together of visual clues in order to reassert the link between the subject and the symbolic may be read as a foregrounding of the dominant male gaze. Catherine Belsey argues in her essay Deconstructing The Text: Sherlock Holmes, that this ability to scientifically analyse and interpret the evidence is denied to female characters in Conan Doyles' work. Access to modes of discourse are consistently denied them. The example that Belsey draws upon is that of The Adventure Of Charles Augustus Milverton.

Holmes is hired by Lady Eva Blackwell to recover a number of letters that Charles Augustus Milverton has stolen from her. These letters are being used by Milverton to blackmail Lady Eva as Holmes explains:

"She is to be married in a fortnight to the Earl of Dovercourt. This fiend has several imprudent letters - imprudent, Watson, nothing worse - which were written to an impecunious young squire in the country. They would suffice to break off the match" (Conan Doyle 646).

In the conclusion to the tale Holmes burns the bundle of letters, the contents of which are never disclosed to the reader, thus destroying the, "records of women's sexuality" (Belsey 278), that have driven the narrative. The sexual identity of these women is therefore surpressed in order to re-establish the male centred status quo through the denial of female discourse.

Belsey also discusses Doyle's The Adventure Of The Dancing Man in relation to her hypothesis. She notes that the central figure of Elsie Patrick is in either an unconscious state or silent during most of the narrative. It is Elsie that holds the key to the code which will break her silence, but she does not cooperate because she wishes to protect her criminal brother. Again it is the triumph of male reasoning over female mystery that resolves the link between the subject and the symbolic realm of language.

It seems reasonable to draw the conclusion that as the talent of the detective is to read vital clues, and then recodify them to solve the crime; then the gaze of the detective, and the positioning of the narrative, privileges male scientific reasoning. This is evidenced by the denial of female discourse, and the reintegration of the symbolic with the subject at the conclusion of the tale.

If we accept that narratives of investigation privilege the male gaze of the detective, then it would seem logical to assume that the same rule applies for the gaze of the giallo. The giallo does after all presents itself as a narrative of investigation - a detective figure must reconstruct a series of events, these are then summarised in the conclusion and the transgressor identified. However, it has been noted that where this process reintegrates the status quo in classical detective fiction, in the giallo we find any notion of stability upset fundamentally. McDonagh suggests that Argento's films, and as a logical extension of this I would suggest gialli in general, are:

". . .about the impossibility of seeing (or knowing, since "see" is widely used to signify understanding or knowledge) anything in a world in which all perception is by its nature fragmentary or distorted" (McDonagh 67).

The giallo provides us with a conclusion where questions of identity and sexuality are not resolved - discourse is denied. It may therefore be suggested, following Belsey's comments, that the investigative gaze of the giallo may be regendered as female.

It is interesting to note that one of the films associated with the giallo is Michelangelo Antonioni's Blow-Up (1966). Although not a giallo in the most specific sense of the genre it does present us with a number of notable links, particularly in respect to notions of the gaze being frustrated to the point where the protagonist cannot discern the truth of the evidence he uncovers. In this tale, set in swinging London, photographer Thomas (David Hemmings in a role he virtually reprised in Argento's Deep Red) accidentally captures an image that he believes to be evidence of a murder. He enlarges the picture in an obsessive quest to interpret what he has photographed eventually identifying what he believes to be a body. He returns to the park where he took the picture at night he finds a man's corpse, however the following morning it has gone. It is here that the narrative ends leaving us to question whether there has been a crime committed or not.

McDonagh describes Blow-Up as:

". . .the classic mystery with no solution, a mystery that seems to be about one thing - a murder and all that implies - and turns out to be about something else altogether - the ultimate impossibility of knowing" (McDonagh 101).

Thomas' inability to read/view what he thinks he has seen is foregrounded in the fact that he initially believes the picture to reveal a gunman hiding in the bushes and concludes that he has prevented a murder. It is only after further enlarging the picture that he sees the image that he reads as a body.

Adam Knee comments on Argento's work, a notion that may be extended to the giallo in general:

"Knowledge is always difficult to achieve here because the supposed norms upon which the investigative assumptions are based prove to have been less than universal; a traditional perspective, a traditional notion of "vision," cannot always be counted upon to yield the truth, to reveal a highly improbable reality" (Knee 224).

In the giallo we are presented with numerous examples of the gaze being obstructed, and of the figure of the detective being unable to read vital visual clues. Any active investigation regularly leads the detective to be drawn towards a secondary transgressor and it is only when the missing visual clue is recodified, often through the detective returning to the scene of the crime, that the real transgressor's identity is revealed.

In The Bird With The Crystal Plumage, Sam Dalmas is prevented from witnessing vital elements of the attempted murder in the gallery by a passing car. The vehicle cuts through the space between Dalmas and the gallery thus obscuring valuable visual information in the scene before him. The whole scenario feminises Dalmas' gaze, reiterated by the fact that when he becomes trapped between the two glass doors nobody can hear his shouts, he is denied access to discourse.

Because Dalmas lacks the ability to accurately read the scene he has witnessed he translates it in terms of pre-supposed gender expectations. It seems obvious that the victim is female and the transgressor male. The elements missing from the scene mean that Dalmas is unable to accurately associate the subject with the symbolic, and leads to the identification of Alberto Ranieri (Umberto Raho) as the transgressor. When he returns to the gallery in the films conclusion the realisation that Monica is in fact the killer is at odds with Dalmas' experience, once again fracturing the link between the subject and the symbolic. This is highlighted by the fact that in this secpience Monica is the male aggressor and Dalmas become the feminised victim trapped beneath a piece on spiked artwork, the inference being that it is Monica's intention to penetrate Dalmas as she has penetrated her female victims.

It is interesting to note the proliferation of blind detective figures in the giallo. This would seem to emphasise the giallo as a in which the detective figure is unable to gaze correctly. These detectives lack the ability to isolate visual fragments or read a crime scene, often the vital clue is a verbal one that the detective must reunite with the subject. In a number of instances these blind detectives are guided by close companions who look for them.

In The Cat O'Nine Tails, Argento provides the audience with one of these blind detective figures along with a conclusion that is according to McDonagh:

". . .an ending whose inconclusiveness is both breathtaking and sadistic. In another kind of thriller this ambiguity would constitute a flaw, a failure to pay off; in The Cat O'Nine Tails it's a logical extension of the film's consistent refusal to admit the possibility that there are any satisfactory solutions to any mysteries" (McDonagh 73).

In the film Franco Arno (Karl Maiden) overhears a whispered threat of blackmail while he is out walking with his young niece Lori (Cinzia De Carolis). That night the Terzi Institute, a bio-chemical research laboratory, is broken into. The following day one of the scientists who works at the institute is killed when he is pushed in front of a train. The death is revealed to be less than accidental when Arno and Carlo Giordani (James Franciscus) examine a photograph of the incident and discover the killers hand at the edge of the frame. After a series of murders it is revealed that the institute is researching the notion that deviant behaviour is produced by an imbalance of chromosomes, evidenced in the subject by the presence of chromosome XYY. Casoni (Aldo Reggiani), one of the scientists at the institute, has discovered that he has this chromosome imbalance and is responsible for the break in to steal evidence that suggests this. He kidnaps Arno's niece in exchange for incriminating evidence that Giordani and Arno has uncovered implicating him. Before falling to his death Casoni informs Arno that he has killed Lori, and the film ends with the sounds of Lori crying (though the audience is unsure whether these cries are real or part of Arno's imagination).

Arno's blindness means that he is permanently functioning in the realm of the symbolic, his only access to the subject is through the eyes of Lori or Giordani. This may be clearly seen in Arno's obsession with crosswords, he uses touch to identify letters, and in the fact that he is also an ex-jounalist. His reliance on Lori feminises him as he must rely on her to look for him. The kidnapping of Lori leaves Arno unable to negotiate even the most familiar surroundings thus revealing the extent to which he is dependent on her. This shows that Arno's disability, that retards his ability to engage in the act of voyeurism, leaves him dependent on the feminine gaze.

In the giallo we find ourselves presented with a constantly shifting representation of the gaze. Due to the nature of the medium of film the audience is constantly presented with a number of changing perspectives. Carol J. Clover, in her study of the contemporary horror film Men, Women And Chainsaws (1992), has analysed the way in which shifting perspective may be used to upset any fixed notions of symbolic gender structures. In her analysis of Michael Powell's Peeping Tom (1960), Clover terms the two predominant gazes of the camera as, "assaultive" (Clover 172), and, "reactive" (Clover 175). Clover characterises the distinctions between these two gazes as, ". . .the assaultive gaze, figured as masculine, of the camera (or some stand-in) and the reactive gaze, figured as feminine, of the spectator, and at which pole they locate the horror experience" (Clover 181).

One of the examples that Clover draws upon to illustrate the "assaultive gaze" is the opening sequence of John Carpenter's Halloween (1978). Through the camera the audience is placed in the position of an unidentified stalker. As an audience we observe a young girl and her boyfriend go upstairs in an otherwise empty house. Moments later the boyfriend leaves. Through the killers eyes we pick up a carving knife, proceed upstairs to a bedroom and slash the young woman to death. Audience and killer share the same perspective throughout. Clover asserts:

"That this first-person assaultive gaze is a gendered gaze, figured explicitly or inexplicitly in phallic terms, is also clear. Slasher films draw the equation repeatedly and unequivocally: when men cannot perform sexually, they stare and kill instead" (Clover 186).

Opposing this the "reactive gaze" places the audience in the position of the victim. As the victim is penetrated with the knife, or any similar object to hand, so is the audience thus presenting a gaze figured as feminine. This may be clearly seen in the horror film a primary example being seen in Lucio Fulci's Zombie Flesh Eaters (Zombi 2, 1979). In one of the more notorious scenes in Italian horror a female character has her eye impaled on a splintered door. The audience is presented with two differing points of view in this sequence. Firstly we see the character being dragged by her hair towards the door, and secondly we see the approaching splinter from her perspective.

When the splinter penetrates the eyeball it may be concluded following Clover's arguments that the audience is also penetrated and punished for looking. Adam Knee comments that:

"Clover. . .suggests that the spectatorial experience for the genre's primarily male audience is a "feminising" one, requiring a level of identification with feminine figures in distress and hence, the contemplation of one's own passivity, humiliation, and penetration" (Knee 214).

This is a notion that seems to have been lost on a number of critics who have characterised the genre as mysoginistic due to its presentation of the "assaultive gaze."

These two gazes, assaultive and reactive, are prevalent in the giallo. Indeed the giallo is often cited as being a precursor to the slasher movie epitomised by films such as Halloween and Friday The 13th (1980). A number of sequences in The Bird With The Crystal Plumage may be seen to illustrate this. In one sequence we see a young woman walking home from the perspective of the killer. She is observed by the killer and the audience talking to a group of men by a police car before entering an apartment building. The camera then cuts to a third person perspective of the woman getting changed for bed, alternating this perspective with a first person view of the killer fumbling with a bunch of keys. The camera then cuts to the woman's perspective as we see her hand move over to an ashtray and put out a cigarette. When her view moves away from the ashtray we see the killer standing in the doorway at the same time she does. During the assault the killer raises his knife and thrusts it directly towards the camera. This pattern is repeated when a young woman is stalked and then slashed to death in an elevator, the murder weapon again directed towards the camera.

Argento's Terror At The Opera clearly takes these notions to the extreme, particularly in consideration of the notion that the audience is punished for looking. In this film the killer continually abducts young opera singer Betty and forces her to witness his murderous acts. He ties her up and tapes a row of needles under her eyelids to prevent her from shutting them. The audience also witnesses the murders through the sharp points of these needles. In another scene Betty's agent Myra (Daria Nicolodi) peers through a spy hole on a door only to have the killer fire a bullet down it penetrating her eye. Leon Hunt has commented that:

"What makes Terror At The Opera so remarkable is its extreme play with such vacillating positions of identification. Terror At The Opera violates the spectator but at the same time aestheticizes sadistic violence as spectacle" (Hunt 74).

To summarise, I have established that the notion of the gaze is fundamental to both classical detective fiction and the giallo. It is a fundamental tool with which the detective reconstructs identity and order and as such may be read as predominantly male in terms of gender. While this may be clearly illustrated in classical detective fiction it is problematic to apply this notion of male gendered looking to the giallo. Due to the amateur detective's unstable relationship with the gaze in terms of correctly reading what it is he has witnessed. His gaze may therefore be read as female gendered.

The giallo also provides us with a number of shifting gendered perspectives. These may be read as the male "assaultive" gaze and the female "reactive" gaze. The male gaze of the detective may be seen to be transposed by the sadistic male gaze of the killer, the detective assuming the female gaze of the victim.

This thesis has attempted to analyse the relationship between classical detective fiction and the giallo in terms of narrative, identity and gender, and voyeurism. From the outset we have established that classical detective fiction is epitomised in the Auguste Dupin and Sherlock Holmes stories, by Edgar Allen Poe and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle respectively. In terms of the giallo I have concentrated predominantly on the work of Dario Argento, although where relevant other works have been used in illustration.

Both the classical detective story and the giallo revolve around their own individual patterns of narrative. The classical detective story follows the formula of a consulting private detective being hired to investigate a crime that has occurred prior to the commencement of the narrative. The reader is presented with only the details of his investigation until the conclusion when the transgressor is unmasked and the mechanics of the crime revealed. The giallo is somewhat different in that its protagonist is a witness to a crime, presented in detail, who becomes obsessed with solving it himself. This amateur detective follows a number of clues that mislead him, and it is only when a vital part of what he witnessed is reread that the transgressor (or more often transgressors) is revealed.

Using commentaries on detective fiction by lan Ousby, Franco Moretti and Tzvstan Toderov I have considered the positions of the detective, crime, transgressor and motive in these genres. This has illustrated a number of striking differences in terms of characterisation and narrative construction between classical detective fiction and the giallo.

The detective of classical detective fiction is characterised as a professional gentleman. He has developed his skills of detection over a period of time and is regularly consulted by both the public and the police. These skills are exhibited as a method of clearly reading clues presented to him in a scientific fashion. Though he is presented as having notable individual character traits he is able to disguise these in order that he may perform his task effectively. He is often presented as having skills superior to those of official agencies of detection, such as the police. These characteristics my be clearly seen in the figures of Auguste Dupin and Sherlock Holmes, as illustrated in my examples of The Purloined Letter and A Study In Scarlet.

The detective of the giallo is an amateur drawn to investigate a crime through his own direct relationship to it as a witness. It is often a vital piece of evidence that the detective has witnessed but has been unable to scientifically translate that holds the key to the crime. In a similar way to the classical detective, the detective in the giallo is scornful of official agencies of detection. It is notable in the giallo that scientific methods of enquiry are often compromised through stereotypical assumptions relating to motive and gender.

It is notable that there are a proliferation of detectives who have artistic past-times presented in both genres. I have discussed how the mechanics of detection may be linked to the mechanics of artistry as suggested by Paul Auster.

As noted the giallo often presents us with more than one transgressor and this may be linked with the notion that the transgressor follows very different motivations in both genres. Classical detective fiction presents us with tangible motives such as greed and revenge. The individuality of the crime leads directly back to the transgressor. In the giallo the transgressor is motivated by a psychosis brought about as the result of some psychological trauma from childhood being reawakened. It therefore becomes more complicated to detect the transgressor as on the surface there appears to be no real motive for the crimes presented.

It is a central feature of both genres that the narrative revolves around a desire to locate and identify the transgressor. This has opened the genre to a great deal of psychoanalytic criticism. I have discussed the way in which the primal scene may be used as a means of analysing gender and identity within these texts. The role of the detective is to construct the identity of the transgressor through reuniting the subject and the symbolic, achieved through his utilisation of discourse. The classical detective is able to achieve this through his ability to read the scene of the crime thus gendering him as male, while the detective of the giallo remains unable to resolve this split and thus he may be gendered as female.

The classical detective may also be read in terms of being a chivalric male knight, as suggested by lan Ousby in relation to Sherlock Holmes. Through his rescue of the female victim in distress he is able to reaffirm patriarchal values. This is often achieved through the denial of female discourse as evidenced in my discussion of The Adventure Of The Illustrious Client. The detective of the giallo finds himself being rescued and upstaged by strong female characters, as seen in my discussion of Deep Red. The proliferation of female transgressors in the giallo highlights the notion that assumptions about gender are invalidated.

Finally, I have examined the way in which both genres utilise the detective's desire to gaze. This links directly back to notions of gender. The gaze of the classical detective may be seen as a dominant male gaze in that is reinstates language and order through his accurate reading of the crime scene. Conversely the detective's gaze in the giallo is feminised by his inability to understand exactly what it is that he has seen when witnessing the crime, often due to his gaze being obstructed. This is counterpointed with him accepting the role of victim as well as detective.

The giallo also uses the techniques of the horror film in order to subvert the audiences gaze. Using Carol J. Clover's analysis of the "assaultive" and "reactive" gaze presented in the contemporary horror film, particularly the slasher movie, I have established that the potency of the gaze is clearly highlighted. The audience is placed in both the position of the male "assaultive" gaze of the killer, and the female "reactive" gaze of the victim.

The giallo is a genre that has received very little critical study. Although it is often dismissed as highly derivative of more commercial detective fiction, it does present the audience with its own set of narrative rules. Other possible approaches to the topic may be taken, particularly in terms of politically analysing the genre. Like the spaghetti western before it, the giallo may often be seen in terms of political allegory. This presents an interesting notion for further study.

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