Q: When is a giallo not quite a giallo? A: When it’s as strange and beguiling as Footprints on the Moon!

It’s not that there aren’t many other giallos that are strange and beguiling, it’s just that today’s Film of the Day is the most atypical and off-the-wall of the lot. Owing less to any classic murder-mystery staple and more to existential arthouse fare such as Last Year at Marienbad and L’Avventura, Footprints on the Moon relies on tension and atmosphere to create it’s scares, with nary a bloody murder to be seen.

Giallo regular Florinda Bolkan stars as Alice, a woman who is haunted by a terrifying nightmare involving astronauts stranded on the moon, and who wakes up one morning to discover that she has been unconscious for three whole days. Understandably perturbed, she takes herself off to a beautiful mediterranean island for a much-needed holiday, but soon enough finds herself even more unsettled when the island’s creepy inhabitants insist that she’s been there before despite her protestations to the contrary.

Director Bazzoni spools out this engaging mystery with an assured hand and a strong feel for creepy, dreamy unease, before winding things up with a shocking and truly unforgettable finale. Bolkan is excellent in the lead, and there are smaller roles for the legendary Klaus Kinski and Nicoletta Elmi, who should be instantly recognisable to any self-respecting giallo fan from her appearances as a bratty child in three of the genre’s greatest films (Twitch of the Death Nerve, Who Saw Her Die?, and Profondo Rosso).

I can’t recommend Footprints on the Moon highly enough for anyone looking for some atmospheric and unusual Euro-horror… It’s one giant leap for giallo-kind!