Written by: John White on November 26th, 2005
Theatrical Release Date: Italy, 1976
Director: Paola Cavara
Cast: Michele Placido, Corinne Clery, Tom Skerritt, John Steiner, Eli Wallach
DVD released: October 2005
Approximate running time: 90 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1:85 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono Italian, Dolby Digital Mono English
DVD Release: Raro
Region Coding: Region 2 Pal
Retail Price: EUR 19,90
Synopsis: Lomenzo is an unconventional cop who has a string of unsolved murders on his hands. Each victim is murdered in a signature way according to a book of fairytales, and each victim found with an illustration of the fairytales. His investigations take in gorgeous babe upstairs, Corinne Clery(Hitch Hike), and he gets help from private investigator, Eli Wallace(The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. It becomes clear that the murders are linked to the unexplained death of a prostitute at a society orgy some years before. The murders pile up, the clues confound, and, this being Giallo territory, nudity and femme fatales are in abundance.
Cavara’s previous thriller, Black Belly of the Tarantula, is well respected in the giallo world and this later film paired Cavara with Bernardino Zapponi who co-wrote the giallo par excellence, Deep Red. This film has quite a lot in common with Deep Red as it tries to deepen the genre and at times satirize it. The murders are very much genre staples and done very well but when the reveal occurs at the end the convoluted nature of it takes the biscuit and it almost seems that the writers leave us to question the truth. This is not to say that the film disappoints though, it has many enjoyable genre features with John Steiner (Tenebre) in fiendish Tiger feeding mode, Eli Wallach doing his lovable rogue bit, and Clery is an exceptional vamp. There is humor throughout and the score from Daniele Patucchi is a joy.
This though is a film that wants to subvert the audience expectations and to play with what they want – the sex scenes are extremely physical with tongues everywhere, there is a hint of bestial intention at an orgy, and we are even shown a man at the detective agency who is less concerned with his wife’s infidelity than the pictures of it which he rather covets. Towards the end, the conclusive scenes mix homage with overstatement – we see a scene not unlike the mirror sequence in Welles’ The Lady From Shanghai, and the finale seems to occur in a courtyard more akin to a Naziploitation film than the detective offices it is meant to be in. This is a very knowing movie and will please giallo fans wanting a little bit more than the usual.
This is presented in 1:85 widescreen and the transfer is sharp if a little dark. I had to adjust the contrast expand setting on my system to stop the subtitles lightening the picture.
The disc comes with Italian and English language options, and the option of English subs when the Italian track is playing. The English Subtitles are very good and English options extend to the extras on the disc also.
Unfortunately, the extras only include a filmgraphy and biography. The package though is very acceptable and at little less than EUR20, well worth a punt.