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
“Gim is a beautiful fashion model whose life is in peril. There is a homicidal killer who seek to murder her only Gim is totally unaware of her danger. The only person who seems to be sure that the killer will strike is a professor at a local collage. A police detective also believes the killer will strike but knows not the killer nor the victim. Upon speaking to the professor he has the victims identity and must find her in the mostly deserted city populated by a small group of unusual people who attempt to thwart his search. Continue reading
Very minor spoilers on the second paragraph. All the Colors of the Dark (Tutti i Colori del Buio) is probably the strangest film Sergio Martino ever directed. While not a giallo in the most traditional sense, it seems logical to apply the genre’s framework when discussing it, given that it showcases many of the conventions associate with films of this type, and also because it falls bang in the middle of Martino’s giallo period, produced in the wake of The Strange Vice of Signora Ward and Case Of The Scorpion’s Tale, and preceding Your Vice Is a Closed Room and Only I Have the Key and Torso. A brief glance at the film’s credits reveals a wealth of giallo regulars. Apart from director Martino, we have screenwriter Ernesto Gastaldi, composer Bruno Nicolai, and a cast comprised of genre heavyweights, led by Edwige Fenech and George Hilton, often regarded as the giallo’s “Golden Couple”. Continue reading
A fetishistic killer is on the loose, a madman in a balaclava who enjoys murdering young women (and occasionally men, if they happen to get in the way). When two university students drop dead, Jane (Suzy Kendall) and her three friends, Daniela (Tina Aumont), Katia (Angela Covello) and Ursula (Carla Brait), decide to high-tail it to a villa in the countryside until the whole thing blows over. Unbeknownst to them, however, the killer has decided to tag along and proceeds to stalk them before launching into a blood-thirsty orgy of death. It feels great to be a student! Continue reading