Horror Author Aria Cain

Daria Nicolodi, Queen of Giallo

Daria Nicolodi

The history of art includes countless stories of men inspired by a particular muse. Picasso had his Gilot, and Dali had his Gala. Godard had his Anna, and Bergman had his Liv. This partnership often obscured the many talents and qualities these muses possessed — from acting and writing to art of their own.

In the world of Giallo horror, Dario Argento found his muse in actress and screenwriter Daria Nicolodi. A prolific director of more than 40 films, Argento defined many modern Giallo aesthetics such as high contrast, garish color, bold shapes, and noisy sound direction. Over 12 years, Nicolodi starred in some of Argento’s best known films — classics like Deep Red, Inferno, Tenebrae, and Opera. She became the face of the genre, continuing in other films such as Mario Bava’s Shock and daughter Asia Argento’s Scarlet Diva.

Not known to many fans, however, Nicolodi made major contributions to the screenplay of the legendary Giallo slasher Suspiria, for which she received a writing credit. She later noted her work on the Inferno screenplay, although no credit was ever given.

In one interview for GoreZone Magazine UK, she recalled:

I wrote Suspiria for Dario — title, subject and script. The inspiration came from a tale my grandmother, Yvonne, used to tell me when I was a child, after an experience she had in a northern acting academy where she discovered the teachers were teaching arts, but also black magic. I was fond of this story of hers more than Pinocchio, and when I told it to Dario it was natural for him to fall in love with it too. It was his first step from thrillers to fantasy-alchemy movies and we did it together.

Later in her career, Nicolodi continued to reign as the Queen of Giallo. She appeared in Paganini Horror for Luigi Cozzi, Delerium for Lamberto Bava, and The Devil’s Daughter and Mother of Tears for Argento. She also branched out in more mainstream films, such as Rosa & Cornelia, Notes of Love, and The End Is Known.

In late 2020, Nicolodi died in Rome of undisclosed causes. While she may be gone, her talents will continue to inspire Giallo fans for generations to come.

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Horror Author Aria Cain

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