Saturday, May 23, 2009

Booze,Dames and Sex Maniacs. A Giallo movie marathon

Killers dressed in black. Heroes who drink and smoke more then breath. Black gloved hands. Red herrings a plenty and really bad 70's fashions. This is the wonderful and often trippy world of the giallo. Thanks to Dario Argento's amazing Deep Red and almighty Tenebre, I fell in love with the giallo. After that I sought out more but back in the days of vhs there was slim pickings save for bootlegs. Now with the magic that is dvd there's tons of giallo out there. I've built up enough that it was time for a little marathon viewing of some old favorites and some I hadn't seen yet. This is my descent into giallo movie madness.

Death Walks at Midnight (1972)

What better way to start a giallo marathon then this gem. The story about a fashion model Valentina (Susan Scott) who is injected with an LSD like drug by her journalist boyfriend (Simon Andreu)who's writing an article about it's effects. Poor Valentina witnesses the brutal murder of a woman by a man with a spiked metal glove in the neighboring building. Soon after she's stalked by the same spiked glove dude.

This is one of my all time favorite giallos that don't have Dario Argento or Sergio Martino as director. Luciano Ercoli does a good job directing. Though the middle part drags a little. The action picks up again and there's a nice down and dirty brawl on a roof top at the climax.

Filled to the brim with great characters. Chief among them is Susan Scott who plays Valentina as a spunky, quick witted women out to identify the killer before he gets her. She's also incredibly hot. Simon Andreu has a charm to him as the journalist boyfriend. And Luciano Rossi as a giggling knife wielding drug syndicate hitman steals every scene he's in.

Spasmo (1974)

Handsome and young Christian a plastics tycoon, walking along the beach and discovers a lovely young woman named Barbara laying face down in the sand. Soon Christian begins an affair with her. On a late night interlude with her a strange man breaks into the bathroom were Christian is and threatens him. After a struggle the gun goes off and the man falls dead. Scared Christian and Barbara flee together. Not to long after the lovers are stalked by the man Christian shot, still alive. And someone is hanging strange life sized dolls throughout the countryside.

This was my first time seeing this one. And the first giallo of Umberto Lenzi's that I've seen. It's nice to see he can direct with a more subdued hand. I'm used to the crazy ass stuff he's done like Black Demons,Nightmare City and Cannibal ferox. This one wasn't a by the book giallo with very little murder till towards the end were the film drops a Fight Club/Sixth Sense type of twist on us. That makes us rethink what we've seen.

Austrian actor Robert Hoffman does a good job as Christian and plays his character's anguish well. British actress Suzy Kendall as Barbara handles her characters mysterious fine. And as usual cool character actor Ivan Rassimov who plays Christian's scheming brother gets stuck playing a prick. Ennio Morricone supplies another sweet score as well.

And a word of warning I watched the trailer before the movie. Just try not to say Spasmo all the time...Spasmo!

The Case of the Bloody Iris (1972)

"You made a big mistake going from group sex to a vow of chastity!"

Another of my all time favorites. Edwige Fenech and George Hilton always work well together. This one has it all. A gay Woody Allen like photographer. A lesbian neighbor on the prowl for our heroine. An annoying goofy roommate. An old women who buys horror comics. A deformed man. A strange sex cult and a police detective with a stamp fetish. There's more then enough red herrings in this one and the final twist is kooky. But this one is above all else is groovy fun.

Delirium: Photo of Gioia (1987)

Ah Lamberto Bava's trashy little 80's giallo.
If Miami Vice decided to do a giallo episode I think it would be something like this movie. Full of neon and bad 80's fashion. This is more of a it's so bad it's good territory. To bad it's not like that the whole time. There's some slow parts were the goofiness stops and it's more akin to Lifetime movie style drama. Worth seeing for the inventive kills. The killer's strange hallucinations of his victims. And the rocking score by Simon Boswell. And beware of the bathtub sex scene between stars George Eastman and Serena Grandi. Yikes!

Who Saw Her Die? (1972)

This one's another favorite. Starring one time 007 George Lazenby. Nearly unrecognizable with a 'tash and gaunt appearance. A child killer stalks the streets of Venice. Wearing a black dress,gloves and a vale. The killer stalks Lazenby's daughter. Now a giallo about a child killer sounds grim but this one handles the subject matter with a deft hand. This film is more about the mystery. Not to say that more then one suspect meets a sticky end. Ennio Morricone supplies another great score. One that's made up of children's singing. At times it seems like another character and a signal of the killers approach. This baby is a good film to use to introduce someone to the genre.

A Blade in the Dark (1983)

“And is it really possible you’re such a vacant nerd?”

Back to Lamberto Bava. This one's got some truly viscous death scenes. It's sort of a Tenebre lite.Plus this film contains the immortal line “That’s not a spider, that’s a cockroach!” When clearly it is indeed a spider. Bonus points for having creepy child actor Giovanni Frezza (House By The Cemetery)in a small part.

The "cockroach" in question.

Death Walks on High Heels (1971)

"A horrible man came in. He had a razor and he wanted to slash me!"

Luciano Ercoli and Susan Scott return to help wrapped up the marathon. Not full of mayhem or the red stuff. This one is more about the who,what,were,when and how? The charm of this one is in the characters and the twists, which there's plenty of. Character's motives and alliances change up until the end credits. There's a pretty good little brawl at the films end.

Filmed with plenty of groovy style to spare. A bit slow in parts. But if you get into the story it certainly carries you along to the end.

I was hoping to fit in The Night Evelyn Came Out Of The Grave. But I ran out of time. Oh well I still have enough giallos for another marathon sometime. for now though I'm all red herringed out And after watching all those characters drinking and smoking I think I need to go to rehab.


Richard of DM said...

Nice choices there, captain. Make sure you swing back and pick up The Night Evelyn Came Out of Her Grave.

Professor Brian O'Blivion said...

Thanks. Looking forward to seeing The Night Evelyn Came Out of Her Grave soon I hope.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...