The Women of Gialli

Saturday, 20 February 2016

I've intended for a while now to write my own list of favourite actors and actresses of the giallo but to be perfectly honest, I've really struggled to narrow my list of favourite actresses into a top 10. Of course there's the obvious choices (who you will still see included below) but I also wanted to recognise some of the lesser known actresses who perhaps had less substantial roles but still were memorable characters. Therefore, I decided instead to write a list of the various actresses who worked within the subgenre focusing on listing my own personal favourites. The criteria for my list was that each actress on it had to have appeared in at least one film that could be considered as a giallo. Some of the actresses listed may only have one credit but still make the list as I felt their character was particularly memorable or, I've taken into account their status in Italian genre film and wider genres of cinema. Underneath each actress I've included notable films they're appeared in - I'll list all of the gialli they were in as well as other films that I feel are note worthy. Inevitably, I will have missed out some actresses that many of you feel should have been included so I'm happy to hear suggestions and build on this list. I also intend to include individual biographies for each actress over time.

Florinda Bolkan

Notable Films: Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion (1970), A Lizard in a Woman's Skin (1971), Don't Torture a Duckling (1972), Footprints on the Moon (1975), The Last House on the Beach (1978)

Asia Argento

Notable Films: Demons 2 (1986), The Church (1989), Trauma (1993), The Stendhal Syndrome (1996)

Claudine Auger

Notable Films: A Bay of Blood (1971), Black Belly of the Tarantula (1971)

Olga Karlatos

Notable Films: Zombie Flesh Eaters (1979), Murder Rock (1984)

Eva Bartok

Notable Films: Blood & Black Lace (1964)

Barbara Magnolfi

Notable Films: The Suspicious Death of a Minor (1975), Suspiria (1977), The Sister of Ursula (1978)

Daria Nicoladi

Notable Films: Shock (1977), Inferno (1980), Tenebrae (1982), Phenomena (1985), Delirium (1987), Opera (1987), Paganini Horror (1989)

Ewa Aulin

Notable Films: Deadly Sweet (1967), Death Laid an Egg (1968), The Double (1971), Death Smiles on a Murderer (1973)

Tina Aumont

Notable Films: Torso (1973)

Femi Benussi

Notable Films: Deadly Inheritance (1968), The Blonde Connection (1969), Hatchet for the Honeymoon (1970), The Italian Connection (1972), So Sweet So Dead (1972), Special Killers (1973), Carnal Revenge (1974), Syndicate Sadists (1975), The Bloodsucker Leads the Dance (1975), Strip Nude For Your Killer (1975)

Carroll Baker

Notable Films: The Sweet Body of Deborah (1968), So Sweet... So Perverse (1969), Paranoia (1969), A Quiet Place to Kill (1970), The Fourth Victim (1971), The Devil Has Seven Faces (1971), Knife of Ice (1972), Baba Yaga (1973), The Flower with the Deadly Sting (1973)

Anita Strindberg

Notable Films: A Lizard in a Woman's Skin (1971), The Case of the Scorpion's Tail (1971), The Two Faces of Fear (1972), Who Saw Her Die? (1972), Tropic of Cancer (1972), Your Vice is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key (1972), Almost Human (1974), Puzzle (1974)

Annabella Incontrera 

Notable Films: Black Belly of the Tarantula (1971), The Case of the Bloody Iris (1972), So Sweet, So      Dead (1972), The Crimes of the Black Cat (1972), Clap You're Dead (1974)

Cristina Galbo

Notable Films: The House That Screamed (1969), What Have You Done to Solange? (1972), The Killer Must Kill Again (1975)

Jane Birkin

Notable Films: Seven Dead in the Cat's Eye (1973)

Barbara Bach

Notable Films: Black Belly of the Tarantula (1971), Short Night of Glass Dolls (1971), Stateline Motel (1975)

Luciana Paluzzi 

Notable Films: A Black Veil for Lisa (1968), The Two Faces of Fear (1972), The Italian Connection (1972)

Edwige Fenech

Notable Films: Top Sensation (1969), 5 Dolls for an August Moon (1970), The Strange Vice of Mrs Wardh (1971), Your Vice is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key (1972), The Case of the Bloody Iris (1972), All the Colours of the Dark (1972), Secrets of a Call Girl (1973), Strip Nude for Your Killer (1975)

Barbara Bouchet

Notable Films: Colpo Rovente (1970), The Man with Icy Eyes (1971), Black Belly of the Tarantula (1971), Calibre 9 (1972), Amuck (1972), The Red Queen Kills Seven Times (1972), The French Sex Murders (1972), Don't Torture a Duckling (1972), The Hook (1976)

Marisa Mell

Notable Films: Danger Diabolik (1968), Perversion Story (1969), Marta (1971), The Great Swindle (1971), Seven Bloodstained Orchids (1972), Gang War in Milan (1973), Violent Blood Bath (1973), Death Will Have Your Eyes (1974), A Diary of a Murderess (1975)

Rosalba Neri

Notable Films: Top Sensation (1969), Slaughter Hotel (1971), Amuck (1972), Smile Before Death (1972), The French Sex Murders (1972), The Girl in Room 2A (1974)

Dagmar Lassander

Notable Films: The Frightened Woman (1969), Hatchet for the Honeymoon (1970), The Forbidden Photos of a Lady Above Suspicion (1970), The Iguana with the Tongue of Fire (1971), Reflections in Black (1975), The Black Cat (1981), The House by the Cemetery (1981)

Marina Malfatti

Notable Films: The Fourth Victim (1971), The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave (1971), Seven Bloodstained Orchids (1972), All the Colours of the Dark (1972), The Red Queen Kills Seven Times (1972), The Bloodstained Lawn (1973), A Black Ribbon for Deborah (1974)

Nieves Navarro

Notable Films: Naked Violence (1969), Forbidden Photos of a Lady Above Suspicion (1970), Death Walks on High Heels (1971), All the Colours of the Dark (1972), Death Walks at Midnight (1972), So Sweet So Dead (1972), Death Carries a Cane (1973)

Suzy Kendall

Notable Films: Bird With the Crystal Plumage (1970), Assault (1971), Torso (1973), Spasmo (1974)

Mimsy Farmer

Notable Films: Four Flies on Grey Velvet (1971), The Perfume of the Lady in Black (1974), Autopsy (1975), The Black Cat (1981)

Erika Blanc

Notable Films: Kill Baby, Kill (1966), So Sweet... So Perverse (1969), Human Cobras (1971), The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave (1971), The Red Headed Corpse (1972), Love and Death in the Garden of the Gods (1972), Love and Death on the Edge of a Razor (1973), A Dragonfly for Each Corpse (1974), Body Puzzle (1992)

Florence Guerin

Notable Films: Le couteau sous la gorge (1986), Profumo (1987), Too Beautiful to Die (1988), The Black Cat (1989), Omicidio a luci blu (1991)

Dalila Di Lazzaro

Notable Films: Night Train Murders (1975), The Pyjama Case Girl (1977), The Blue-Eyed Bandit (1980), Phenomena (1985)

Ania Pieroni

Notable Films: Inferno (1980), The House by the Cemetery (1981), Tenebrae (1982)


  1. Nice list! Are these in order of your favorites or random order?

    1. Thank you! I didn't put it in any particular order although i have certain favourites on the list. You have any favourites on it?

    2. I certainly do! Some purely for their physicality, some for their acting chops as well. In no particular order: Edwige, Strindberg, Bolkan, Bouchet, Lassander.

    3. Good choices! I would agree with nearly all of them but for some reason I can never get behind the love for Strindberg - I don't mind her but never see why she's hailed as one of the favourites, personal preference though!

      I do love Nieves Navarro, I would go as far as to say she's my favourite.

    4. We all have our favorites, no? I do like Navarro, Mell and Kendall a bunch too. And I find Galbo immensely attractive.

  2. Thank you for mentioning Mimsy Farmer, who is one of my favourites. I also loved Carla Brait very much in TORSO!

    1. No problem! The gialli she appeared in were all of a certain quality and she was so memorable as she looked rather different from the majority of actresses in these films.

  3. Uschi Glass (7 Blood Stained Orchids), Patrizia Viotti (La morte scende leggera)

  4. Were there any black actresses in giallo? I'm not aware of any, which is a little surprising.

    1. There were a few but none of them in leading roles sadly. The actress that stands out in my mind is Carla Brait who appeared in both The Case of the Bloody Iris and Torso. Oh and the Etruscan Lives Again!


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