Carroll Baker’s Gialli at the Drive-In Asylum

Over the years I have fallen completely in love with the Italian giallo film genre. From Bava to Argento to Fulci and beyond, I am positively hooked on the style and mood of these lurid, pulpy Italian films. A year or two ago I picked up Severin’s gorgeous, six-disc box set The Complete Lenzi/Baker Collection. I’d seen one or two the giallo collaborations of director Umberto Lenzi and American actress Carroll Baker before, but finally getting a chance to view all four of their films together was a real treat. Almost instantly, Orgasmo (1969), So Sweet…So Perverse (1969), A Quiet Place to Kill (1970), and Knife of Ice (1972) became some of my favorites of the genre.

That’s the first paragraph of my essay “Carroll Baker: The Uncrowned Queen of Giallo.” In it, I discuss Hollywood bombshell Carroll Baker (The Carpetbaggers, Harlow) and her unlikely foray into a successful second act as an Italian gialli star, which you can read in the latest print issue of Drive-In Asylum. Bill Van Ryn has been publishing this labor of love, covering all things horror cinema, for a long time now, along with his cool Groovy Doom YouTube channel. You can check out just how prolific he is over here. Bill really knows his cult horror, so I’m honored to contribute to Drive-In Asylum.

Support an independent creator and order a copy of the new issue, Drive-In Asylum #24, won’t you? It’s only five bucks, so go ahead and stock up on some back issues too. Order now!

Once you’ve read the issue, come on back and let me know how you liked it. I’m hoping it will introduce some new fans to the glory of Carroll Baker’s gialli, which are wildly entertaining films. She really shines in them, often playing sexy (and sexually active) and seriously troubled women. As I write in the article, Baker brought to gialli the glamorous sex appeal she’d cultivated during her Hollywood career, making her a perfect fit for a genre filled with impossibly beautiful people and stunning locales. In particular, her expressive and utterly hypnotic eyes were made for giallo films, whose directors rarely passed up a chance for a zooming closeup of startled or terrified eyes balls.

While legendary giallo queens like Edwige Fenech, Barbara Bouchet, Florinda Bolkan, Daria Nicolodi, and Suzy Kendall are rightly celebrated, let’s make room for another woman deserving of the title, Carroll Baker. To read more, grab issue #24 of Drive-In Asylum here. Then check out some of Baker’s best gialli, like Orgasmo and So Sweet…So Perverse, both of which are currently streaming on Prime Video with an AMC+ subscription.

Before you leave, enjoy this lovely gallery of Carroll Baker in all her splendor.

4 thoughts on “Carroll Baker’s Gialli at the Drive-In Asylum

  1. I’ll get myself a copy of that issue for sure. Carroll Baker did some of her best work in the Gialli Thriller genre, especially the four films she made with Umberto Lenzi. The producers wanted them to make more films together, but Lenzi didn’t want himself or Baker getting pigeonholed as only working with each other. I own the German Mediabook Blu Ray of The Sweet Body of Deborah, the Severin boxset of the Lenzi/Baker films, and even the UK 88 Films releases of the Lenzi/Baker films, I enjoyed them that much.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Congratulations Michael, it must be quite a thrill to be published in Drive-In Asylum, you obviously have a lot of affection for Bill Van Ryn’s labor of love.
    I know absolutely nothing about the Italian giallo film genre, but I’m willing to be educated. The images you’ve shared of Carroll Baker here are more than enough to pique my interest.
    I wish you and Bill every success with issue #24 of Drive-In Asylum. Long live independent print media!

    Liked by 1 person

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