Silvia Hacherman (Mimsy Farmer) is an industrial scientist who is completely devoted to her job. She has been going out with the handsome Roberto (Maurizio Bonuglia) for a little over four months, but he is understandably perturbed by the fact that she seems to value her work more than him. One night, while attending, with Roberto, a party at the home of a renowned African professor (Jho Jenkins), his discussion of voodoo rituals and human sacrifices seems to unroot a memory deeply buried within her psyche. She begins to hallucinate, seeing disturbingly vivid images of her mother, who died under uncertain circumstances. As the hallicunations become more frequent and more lifelike, Silvia begins to lose her grip on reality as her sanity slips away… Throw into the mix phantom girls, grisly murders, mysterious gift shops and a possible conspirary involving her boyfriend, and you have the makings of an incredibly baffling psycho-shocker that, while following some of the giallo genre’s conventions, is too anarchic a piece to fit comfortably into that particular category.
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The French Sex Murders
Representing the trashier side of European exploitation, this Dick Randall produced Italian/German giallo is the kind of film that, lacking style, substance or budget, instead throws in everything bar the kitchen sink in a bid to attract audiences.
The big gimmick is the presence of Humphrey Bogart-a like Robert Sacchi as the detective in charge of investigating the a series of call-girl murders. He can’t really act – or doesn’t get the chance to – but does make for a passable Bogart, with the look and mannerisms down pat. Continue reading
Some movies are watched. “The Strange Color Of Your Body’s Tears” is a movie you live inside. This new film from directors Helene Cattet and Bruno Forzani touches you repeatedly, inappropriately, from the front and, delightfully, from the rear. To synopsize the film is folly, though it will be fun to see viewers try. This is the magic that Cattet and Forzani have weaved from their debut effort “Amer,” a hypnotic trip down the giallo rabbit hole. Very few filmmakers today are working with a radical new vocabulary, but Cattet and Forzani are using genre of the past to toss us, shouting, into the future. Continue reading
There are three key ingredients that make an excellent giallo production. First, you need a drop-dead-gorgeous starlet that will readily take at least two showers in front of the camera, naked of course, and during the course of the film will not shy away from further revealing her “acting skills”. Second, you need a good amount of red paint, preferably not the Ferrari-red type. And third, you need a relatively good mystery story complimented with a few catchy tunes to bring that extra bit of chill. Now imagine that you throw in the mix one of the sexiest European stars to ever grace the exploitation genre canvas-Edwige Fenech, a legendary Italian director-Sergio Martino, and a script based on a short story by celebrated writer Edgar Alan Poe…and there you have it…Il Tuo vizio e una stanza chiusa e solo ion e ho la chiave a.k.a Your Vice is a Locked Room and Only I have the Key (1972), a spectacular giallo production that mixes all the right ingredients with just about the right amount of style we pointed out above.
Mario Bava’s Black Sunday (1960) and Black Sabbath (1963) were world wide commercial successes. As a consequence, Bava was given creative control over Blood and Black Lace. An Italian-West German co-production, the film’s backers were expecting a routine murderer-on-the-loose yarn in the Edgar Wallace-tradition. In Europe during the early 1960’s, movies based on the murder mystery novels of the incredibly prolific Wallace had become a mini-genre of their own. Forty or so of these movies were ultimately made, most of them produced in West Germany. Although some of the murder sequences could be vicious, the emphasis was on the police procedural and mystery aspects of the narrative. Continue reading
A wealthy heiress and landowner dies under mysterious circumstances (her husband did it, but don’t worry, he was done in too), and anyone with a minute claim to her property shows up to collect. The would-be heirs and heiresses start offing each other in increasingly creative and graphic ways, along with some dimwitted teenagers that stop by the bay looking for a party. Basically, it’s Ten Little Indians on the bay.
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Amer moves relentlessly and dissonantly, and practically sans dialogue. In a gorgeous Italian manse, curiosity threatens to get the better of young Ana, tormented by the unknowable and what it reveals—or doesn’t, as is the case much of the time here. Running from the clutches of the strange woman who catches her hovering over the body of the dead man who appears to be the girl’s grandfather, she runs upstairs to her parents only to find them fucking. The camera shows them every way but upside down, bathed in green, then red, then blue—a show of grossly horned-up excitement meant to be absorbed like a blunt-force trauma. And once Ana has dutifully internalized their freakish sexcapade (her wide eyes tell no lies), it’s back to avoiding the perpetually leering gaze—and sinister clawing—of the woman who lives in the room adjacent to her sparely furnished own. Will the pocket watch she pulls from her grandfather’s brittle clutches save her or will her veiled tormentress simply use it as a means of dragging her to hell? Continue reading