Gialli often reflect a point of view on Italy's moral and political crisis of the 70s (Short night of the glass dolls, The bloodstained butterfly...). But it was nearly always made through a very sophisticated vision of the world, the aesthetical treatment moving away from an objective depiction of reality. Giallo is an allegoric cinema genre.
Except for Lucio Fulci's Don't torture a duckling, which could be considered a giallo born out of Neo-Realism.
Beyond the plot, this film has a documentary feel, turning the viewer into a witness of the accelerated modernisation of Italy in the 60s & 70s, depicting the country's evolution through the very ones remaining untouched by change: poor and rural people.
A testimony on a schizophrenic country, stretched out between the extremes of tradition and modernity.
Neo-realist films were clearly about this particular topic after the desolation of WWII: witnesses of the Italian reconstruction, often symbolised by kids (Vittorio de Sica's "Bicycle Thief", Roberto Rossellini's "Open City", amongst many others).
In Fulci's film, they clearly embody the link between the old and new Italy.
They are the perpetuation of traditions, under the strict rules of Religion that will ensure this little village living at the foot of a brand new highway will remain untouched.
Yet the kids are irremediably attracted by the promises of the modern world coming from the highway. They are the living connection with this new world, letting temptations and alien cultures in. So much so that they end up becoming a threat to the village community, bringing change and disorder.
In a terrifying reflex of self-preservation, the community chooses to cut this dangerous link out to maintain its integrity.
The community chooses to kill the kids. It's the end of hope.
We are, indeed, in a giallo.
More on Neo-Realism here. And on "Don't Torture a Duckling" from this blog there.