Luigi Pistilli plays a burned-out novelist haunted by the memory of his dead mother and making life miserable for his wife (Anita Strindberg). When his mistress is found slashed to death, the crime initiates a series of bloody slayings that drive the protagonists to the brink of insanity and murder. Edwige Fenech and Ivan Rassimov co-star in this atypical country-set giallo, which owes more than a passing debt to Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Black Cat.”—NoShame Films
Prolific Italian genre filmmaker Sergio Martino was born in Rome to a family with impressive film credits. His maternal grandfather, Genaro Rigelli, had directed films in Germany for many years and helmed the first Italian sound film, La Canzone dell’Amore. Starting his career as an assistant director for Rigelli and filmmakers such as Mario Bava and Brunello Rondi, Martino eventually moved into directing himself, with the lurid 1969 documentary Mondo Sex. Over the next three decades, Martino was responsible for some of the more exploitative films in a number of genres, moving from spaghetti Westerns (Arizona, Mannaja) to giallo thrillers (Lo Strano Vizio della Signora Wardh, La Coda dello Scorpione) to gritty crime films, sex comedies (including the minor hit 40 Gradi all’Ombre del Lenzuolo with Marty Feldman), jungle adventures, and apocalyptic science fiction. There were many duds, such as the appalling Ursula Andress vehicle La Montagna del Dio Cannibale and the ridiculous L’Isola… read more
Italian genre cinema from the 70s is nothing if not transgressive (whether it be arty transgression or sleazy, lowest-common-denominator transgression), politically incorrect, and full of a fair dose of "weird." This Gothic giallo is no exception—it opens with an awkward and potentially offensive use of a protest song, and includes incest, casual prostitution, animal abuse, etc. It cops from Poe and prefigures a key
detail from Kubrick's *The Shining*. The fact that it has three different murderers and manages two or three good set pieces, a gratuitous dirt bike race, and Edwige Fenech, Anita Strindberg, Luigi Pistilli, and Ivan Rassimov all in the same movie, well, it ends up being one of Martino's more noteworthy efforts. ... Also includes plenty of echoes of other gialli, especially reminding me of *The Red Queen Kills Seven Times*, both because of all the Queen Mary stuff, but also because of a number of similar musical cues. NoShame's featurette on the movie is also solid.