Sunday, May 23, 2010
Friday night giallo
Last Friday night I got home from work and decided that this night it would be a little different. I hadn't had a movie marathon night in some time. The time seemed right. Now the what would it be? I narrowed it down to three possible choices. Sergio Martino, Lucio Fulci or a giallo marathon? I had a stack of unseen films for all three. After a little internal debate, I decided on a giallo themed night. But it didn't mean I couldn't still kick it off with some Sergio Martino.
All the Colors of the Dark (1972)
"Strange men have been following women since the Stone Age, Jane."
I've never seen this Sergio Martino giallo before. Ahhh Edwige Fenech. Is there anyone better to have in a giallo. she plays Jane, who's having freaky nightmares about her mom's murder. Her love-in lover Richard (giallo great George Hilton) thinks it has to do with jane's recent miscarriage. She keeps seeing her mom's killer (Ivan Rassimov) everywhere she goes. Her sister Barbara (Nieves Navarro aka Susan Scott) works for a psychiatrist that Jane is seeing. But Richard thinks that's all crap. Jane meets a new tenant in her building, Mary (Marina Malfatti) who suggests a different approach to curing her. Black magic. Soon Jane and Mary are hanging with a satanic cult! One cup of dog blood later Jane is boffing the satanic high priest (Julian Ugarte). The next day she wakes up thinking the Black Mass was just a dream. Till she finds the cult's symbol on her arm. Jane starts having visions of the future that come true. She also starts to suspect everyone around her is involved in the cult. Is everyone out to get Jane or is she plain bonkers.
I love the mix of the typical giallo elements with the London setting and the satanic cult plot. It felt like an Italian made Hammer film. Fenech, Martino, Hilton, Rassimov and brillant score by Bruno Nicolai make this is a giallo fan's wet dream! Add to that the gorgeous Malfatti and Scott, it's near perfection. Martino does a great job of cutting back and forth between fantasy and reality simply and effectively. He packs each scene with energy and beauty. You never feel bored as his camera is always in motion. One of Martino's most satisfying gialli and a great way to kick off the night.
Murder Mansion (1972)
"I just want to get to the bottom of this God damn mystery!"
Beautiful heiress, Elsa (Analía Gadé), traveling to meeting her hubby crashes her car near an old cemetery. Investigating the cemetery Elsa is menaced by two ghostly apportions. She screams her head off. She's heard by a young couple, Fred (Andre Resino) and Laura (Anna Lisa Nardi), who come to her aid but find no trace of the ghosts. After some wandering in the fog out threesome find themselves outside a large mansion. they knock on the door and Mr Porter who previously that day nearly ran Fred down and had tried to grope Laura. Also there with him are Mr and Mrs Tremont (friends of Elsa, who were involved in a car accident in the fog with Mr Porter)...plus the owner of the house, Marta (Evelyn Stewart). She explains too all her guests that they'd better stay there for the night, since the fog is so bad. Just to put her guests at ease she relates to them the story of her Aunt, a self-proclaimed witch who with her chauffeur died in 1942. She also mentions how fear of vampires have kept the locals away. So after that they settle down for a good nights sleep. Things begin to heat up. Sort of. People wander around and then some start dying. Who or what stalks the halls of the mansion?
A giallo that's equal parts Scooby Doo and Old Dark House film. I really dug this film. I doesn't do anything amazing but it held my interest and I had fun with it. The plot behind everything is very ridiculous, something involving incest and inheritance. It's convoluted, but sort of fits the Scooby Doo atmosphere of this film. If it wasn't for those melding kids...
I was starting to get tired, but I felt I could squeeze one or two more in. Something short. So I picked...
The French Sex Murders (1972)
"A case like you should be considered psychpathological ... you depraved filthy pig!"
It starts with someone falling off the Eiffel tower. The we flashback a few days and meet Antoine Gottvalles, a violent schizophrenic who may have killed a prostitute. Humprey Bogart clone Inspector Pontaine (Robert Sacchi) hunts him down and brings him to justice. During the trial Gottvalles swears his innocence and swears revenge on those that accused him. "...all that condemned me will die violently!". Gottvalles escapes from custody and, after stealing a motorcycle, gets into an accident were he loses his head! Pretty soon the people he ‘cursed’ start dying and I start snoozing.
This is my second time watching this sucker and it didn't not get any better! Inspector Bogart, why do you hate me so. This film drags on and on, once in awhile throwing some nudity or poorly staged murder at the viewer. I now believe in movies making one violent because by the time this was over I wanted to hit someone in the face! Damn it!
Hopefully the next film would end the night on a high note...or not.
Slaughter Hotel (1971)
"Your desire to make love is excessive. Now go take a shower."
A high class sanitarium located somewhere in Europe, where the only patients, are scantily clad Euro-babes. Run by Professor Dorian (John Karlsen) and Dr. Clay (A wild looking Klaus Kinski). Their charges run the gamut, from nymphomaniacs to suicide risks. After what seems like hours a masked figure in a long black cloak shows up and starts killing people with weapons from the sanitarium's well stocked armory!
Man this is one hell of a sleazy movie. It's even sleazier then I remembered. Back in the days of VHS I rented this under the title Asylum Erotica! It appears that the video tape version of it was heavily edited. I've never see so much female self-gratification on screen...ever! Kinski is somewhat restrained here but still fun to watch. Rosalba Neri as the resident nymphomaniac is incredibly hot. If there's one reason to watch this film it's her. But I'll never understand why they keep all those deadly weapons are a bunch of mental patients. Not great by any means but fun.
Well I wish the night could have ended better but I was entertained for most of it. If it wasn't for that damn Inspector Bogart!