Giallo Meltdown 4: Rosso e Giallo e Nero per Sempre
Every time I start prepping for a Giallo Meltdown, I think: "This is it. This is going to be the last one." It's a frightening thought but it's never true. Fact is, I'll probably never run out of gialli. While compiling my playlist this time, I realized I had too many once again. Unfortunately, I have to sleep and eat sometime so there are always titles that get cut and are thus reserved for the next Meltdown. I think I should mention that several of the films here are from my bootleg collection. DVD companies in the US have been slackers lately and haven't been churning out the giallo titles like they were a few years ago so I am resorting to films I bought from bootleggers and stuff I downloaded. Sorry folks, there ain't no way I'm missing out on the good shit. No sir, uh uh.
by Richard Glenn Schmidt
It's strange but I just do all of this just to disappear for a few days. I go to this yellow place where the world is faded, the film is all scratched up, and the dubbing is off. I know the killer is still out there, running amuck and taking the lives of fashion models and people who are about to inherit large sums of money. Death is on its way and I hope that it is fabulous. Oh, I wonder the body count will be? This is the 13th proper moviethon since Doomed Moviethon began 5 years ago. That's an unlucky number! What could possibly go wrong? Stay tuned to find out. (I'll be here too because I seriously have no idea what's going to happen.)
Today was pretty strange, even by moviethon standards. I actually ended up working late for the library on a video shoot. That almost never happens. And it was an exhausting day. That definitely never happens at my freakin' desk job! I get home around 6:30 and munch on some ground beef, black eyed peas, and green beans that my mother-in-law Margie had whipped up for she and LeEtta. She hadn't expected me home in time for dinner but Margie's meals almost always leave leftovers. I don't like peas or most things bean-related but I was starving so I counted myself as lucky and just enjoyed it. We are late, late, late for the start of this moviethon, damn it.
7:06pm - Deadly Sweet (1967)
The movie starts and we get our first corpse! The lovely Ewa Aulin graces us with her beauteous presence and Margie comments on her Goldie Hawn-esqueness. I spout off some nonsense about exterials (?) being shot in England and interials (??) being shot in Rome studios which may or may not be true. Bernard (played by Jean-Louis Trintignant) is our gumshoe friend and hero. Jane (Aulin) is our lady and she just lost her father. She and her whole dang family go to the disco after identifying his body. Bernard pursues her and finds Jane hiding in a room with a freshly murdered man. "I didn't do it," she says. They immediately start making out WITH THE BODY IN THE ROOM.
Deadly Sweet keeps switching from black and white to color. It also has lots of artsy transitions, comic book sound effects, and mad cap comedic nonsense. Tinto Brass really didn't want to make a straight up giallo so he didn't. Bernard runs into some thugs looking for the same diary he's after but he gets the jump on them. Very amusing. Wait, why are they all looking for that diary? I think it is Jane's. Shit, I have no idea. We get our first J&B sighting of the moviethon at around 19 minutes or so. This will not be the last.
Maybe I'm just distracted or overly tired but this mystery is completely confusing right now. Bernard and Jane and prancing around in the park and don't seem to give two shits about solving the mystery so I guess I shouldn't either. Whoa, Bernard just got beat up by a dwarf and Jane got kidnapped. Bernard goes and harasses Jane's brother Jerome for some info. Now they're both out looking for Jane. Damn, Jerome has got one hot girlfriend. Did I mention how groovetastic and perfect this soundtrack is? Uh oh, the dwarf is molesting Jane. Ask any tall chick and she'll tell ya, this is the ultimate fantasy.
In spite of its ponderous moments, I still dig this flick. The two lovers hide out at Bernard's buddy's place. He's a fashion photographer so they trash the place during their spirited lovemaking session. Me Tarzan. You Jane. Oh my God. These two should try being self-involved for a change. There are multiple references to Michelangelo Antonioni. Then the baddy guys rip out Bernard's eyelashes and everything goes all screwy. Where the hell is this all going? Oh fuck, the ending is awesome.
Read the complete review here.
8:53pm - Footprints (1975)
And now for something even weirder. Here is another film to subvert the giallo genre. We start off with a spaceman dragging another spaceman along the moon's surface. Then he takes off in the ship leaving the duder there to die. Next we see the lovely Florinda Bolkan (with a Mimsy Farmer haircut) as Alice waking up in her drab, colorless apartment. The visions of the spaceman are from a dream Alice keeps having. She goes to her job as a translator to turn in her work but her boss tells her that she missed three days of work. Something definitely isn't right. All that she has to account for her lost time is a postcard from a place called Garma. Evelyn Stewart makes a brief cameo but she looks like crap. The director is trying to make Bolkan look like crap too. Something funky (the bad kind) is totally up.
Footprints is a study in beige and pale yellow. The film so far is very cold, impersonal, and ultra modern. Yet when Alice finally gets to Garma, the world becomes colorful. She arrives and OH MY GOD, this movie is so beautiful. She meets a little girl named Paola, played by the odd looking Nicoletta Elmi (of Deep Red and Baron Blood). She tells Alice that she met her in Garma a few days before and that she told her that her name was Nicole, not Alice. A mystery is brewing and this is one hypnotic film. The soundtrack by Nicola Piovani is willowy and enigmatic.
"The shadow across your eyes. How do you make it disappear?"
Everything in this movie is odd and then Klaus Kinski shows up as a scientist named Blackman. Nothing weird about that! Little details deepen the mystery. The more she learns, the more perplexing things become. Nicole. Who is Nicole? All of the scenery in this Garma place is astounding. She gets more answers from the wig guy at the hairdresser than from anybody else. Very odd. Memories start to slowly rise to the surface. She finds the boy from her youth: Harry (played by Peter McEnery). He's all grown up and he tells Alice the truth. Aw, did someone just lose their marbles?
Wow, that was a shaky, shaky start for a moviethon. I guess work really zapped me out yesterday. I'm looking at my pages of notes and they deteriorated pretty badly. One would think that I was at the end of a moviethon, not the beginning. This morning, we got up around 8:15am and started the morning chores. Then LeEtta, Margie, and I walked over to 7-11 for breakfast sandwiches. I got Mountain Dew, a sausage, egg, and cheese croissant, and a root beer for later. This is all very fascinating. I'm trying to remember my dreams from last night. There was lots of bland running around and stressful disappointments (kind of like Alice's life before she went to Garma). Nothing even remotely giallo-related.
The weather this morning is a blessing. It is breezy and gorgeous. I'm sure the sun will be out later to wreck everything. I pick the Love and Death CD from the Luciano Ercoli double DVD set of Death Walks at Midnight and Death Walks in High Heels. The silky sounds of Stelvio Cipriani are perfect for cruising around Dale Mabry. We end up at Target (which eats up the rest of our morning) and on the way home, I decide to give Casa Tobaco a try. The selection is good there and it seems laid back enough. I might have to come back sometime to sit and smoke. I get two cigars. One for today and one for tomorrow. (Please note: This place sucks! I went back recently to smoke a cigar and they turned me away. Their smoking lounge is private! Members only. WHAT? They're in fucking Carrolwood! Anyway, I'll never give those fuckers money again.)
11:28am - Scenes from a Murder AKA The Killer is on the Phone (1972)
Oh, I love that Lightning Video logo! I converted my VHS of Scenes from a Murder to DVD-R with mediocre results but seeing it on Margie's widescreen TV makes me realize that it came out better than I remembered it. Oh shit, I forgot that Joe D'Amato is the director of photography for this one. This fact pleases me. The elegant Anne Heywood plays Eleanor, an actress who faints when she sees a hitman (played by Telly Savalas). She goes home to find that her house has been torn down. Hmm, chicks with memory problems... seems kind of familiar. Eleanor calls her sister looking for her husband Peter, who has been dead for 5 years. Telly Savalas decides to follow Eleanor because he knows she knows who he is. Damn, this is way better than I remembered and the soundtrack by Stelvio Cipriani is great.
Jeez, Eleanor has really gone off the deep end. Her poor husband of the last 3 years is all like "hey honey" and she's all like "who the fuck are you?" Her hot sister Dorothy (Willeke van Ammerlrooy) is trying to help her but to no avail. The look of pity on their stupid faces is pretty priceless. The dialogue is equally hilarious, especially when the doctor talks about giving her a shot of (gasp!) pentothal to help her recover her memories. The flashback of time she spent with her first husband look like an Abba video until Telly Savalas shows up and attempts to menace her with a knife. Now that her memory of the last 5 years has been wiped, she can't even remember Telly Savalas or why she should be afraid of him. This confuses the hitman and he becomes obsessed with her. Next, Eleanor gets on stage and starts performing as Lady Macbeth but the rest of the troupe is doing Lady Godiva. Woops!
"It's a plot! You're trying to drive me crazy! But why?"
Oh snap! Rosella Falk is in this one looking severe and lovely as always. She plays Margaret, Peter's sister, patron of the arts, and all around beyatch. Eleanor and Thomas (Osvaldo Ruggieri) start up an affair and it's just pathetic; partly because she is insane but mostly it's because Thomas is a complete pussy. Later, her husband (not the dead one) tries to drug her J&B and she splits the scene armed with a pistol. This should be fun. I think Telly Savalas is too cool for this movie. He frightens me and he's not even sucking on lollipops. He kicks the shit out of a couple of goons who try to remind him of another hit he's supposed to have completed.
The plot takes a turn for the strange when Eleanor tries to get Thomas to murder her husband (not the dead one) but- Oh wait, play within a play, y'all. This movie totally got me! Hardy har har! Now that Eleanor is back to the "real world", she is just kind of a jerk to everyone. Telly Savalas finally kills someone but he got the wrong dang chick. Woops! For lunch, I eat my leftover chicken-fried steak and mashed potatoes from Mimi's Cafe while LeEtta and Margie eat yesterday's green beans, black-eyed peas, and meat. There's an awesome showdown at the theater and we finally find out who hired Telly Savalas to kill Peter and why. We get more wild overacting from Anne Heywood and we're done. Holy shit, that ending is pretty awesome.
1:09pm - A Black Veil for Lisa (1968)
Here's one from the download pile. Did you see that? Finally! A black-gloved killer is waiting to strike. He/she kills someone named Willy who the cops were after. Everyone is after Willy these days. It seems that someone is bumping off suspects before they can be brought in for questioning. Inspector Franz Bulon (played by John Mills) comes home to his bitchy wife Lisa (the smokin' hot Luciana Paluzzi). Franz's boss is a jerk and he talks like Boris from Rocky and Bullwinkle. There's some kind of a drug ring in Hamburg and our goodly inspector is going to take it down. Whoa, someone keeps whispering "Lisa" over the soundtrack so that we keep paying attention (which is not easy).
Franz starts grilling poor Marianne (Renate Kasche) and his razor-sharp techniques get her to give up the goods on her friend Ursula. The cops and some thugs are looking for a loser named Kurt Muller. Muller likes to hide under the bed while people beat the crap out of his girlfriend. Robert Hoffmann (of Umberto Lenzi's Spasmo) shows up as Max Lindt and he's as smooth as ever. Someone is paying him to go after Muller as well. Someone mentions something about tulips and Max swears that this is his last job. He wants out! Yawn. So do I.
Max meets up with a hottie at a nightclub but the dance floor is too crowded for him (meaning there is one other dancing couple). Jeez, this movie is drab as fuck. I can't believe this is from the director of What Have You Done to Solange?; not that it's a wildly colorful piece of eye candy or anything but damn it, where's style in this one? I spot a bottle of J&B and that brightens things up. Uh oh, Max lost his lucky dollar. That's a bad omen. Franz sure is obsessed with Lisa. Is she cheating on him? He barely has time to notice Max's silver dollar next to the body of one of the victims.
Franz picks up Max and is about to arrest him but he can't focus on his work because he thinks Lisa is out there somewhere bangin' some dude. He asks Max to kill Lisa. Max shows up to talk with Lisa about insurance but ha ha, she is too clever for him! Max is supposed to kill her but he's conflicted for some reason. Great scene where we think Lisa is dead. Shit! Who cares? I'm bored and sleepy. This movie sucks. Shadow, the official dog of Doomed Moviethon, gets to bark at some of the police dogs in the movie so at least one of us is entertained.
Oh my goodness, it is freakin' hot out here. The breeze from this morning has died and now the sun is doing just what I thought it would. This is only April. I can't imagine what summer is going to be like this year. Anyway, I've got a very dark and very flavorful Santa Luis Rey cigar and an A&W root beer made with "Aged Vanilla" (much better than their "Prepubescent Vanilla" days). I love this patio. It's so nice to finally be screened in for a change. Apparently, wasps are attracted to cigar smoke. I don't know if that's true. My research team are all on vacation. You look it up. Looking over my broken notes from last night once again, it's no wonder I called it quits so early. The only thing that kept me going was the awesomeness of Footprints. Hopefully, I'll be more lucid for the rest of Giallo Meltdown 4.
3:49pm - Seven Notes in Black AKA The Psychic (1977)
This next one goes out to my homey Aaron over at The Death Rattle. Yeah, I know that Seven Notes in Black was part of Doomed Fulci-Thon but that was a few years ago. I just had to do this one again. Oh no, that little psychic girl's mummy just jumped off a cliff and her face exploded against the rocks on the way down. Fulci, you so crazy! Flash forward to the girl all grown up (played by Jennifer O'Neill) seeing her man Francesco (Gianni Garko) off on a business trip. Her name is Virginia and her theme song is the totally perfect fake Abba song "With You". On her way back home, Virginia has some disturbing visions while driving through a tunnel. She wakes up on the side of the road with a concerned cop shaking her awake. Luca, her psychiatrist (Marc Porel of Don't Torture a Duckling), says he believes that she does have visions but you can tell he secretly thinks she's a nutbar.
While her husband is away, Virginia opens up his old house. Hmm, that nervous groundskeeper sure looks familiar. Could it be Gianpaolo Saccarola (of The Beyond and Tenebre)? He's not listed in the credits. WTF? One person that is definitely listed in the credits of this movie is Evelyn Stewart. She plays Francesco's sassy sister but more importantly, this is her second appearance in this moviethon. And once again, she looks friggin' awful. Poor thing.
Lucio Fulci is the fucking king by the way. This movie is so full of menace and foreboding. Tiny details are meticulously explored and something just ain't right. Oh yeah, this soundtrack is so perfect (it even inspired Quentin Tarantino to use it in Kill Bill). Virginia knocks down a wall based on her visions and she finds a skeleton there. Then the dead woman from her visions turns up very much alive.
The beautiful scenery is totally beautiful. Where's my thesaurus? Francesco admits to having an affair with the girl whose corpse they found in the wall (while she was alive apparently). The cops take him in for questioning and unfortunately for him, Virginia is trying to help clear him of any suspicion. She sounds like a dang lunatic! The pieces start coming together but it's the wrong puzzle. Suddenly, everything gets tense and insane as her visions start to come true. Damn it, this is one eerie little film. Lucio Fulci, you are the coolest!
Read the complete review here.
5:34pm - The Fourth Victim (1971)
Hm, I don't remember this one at all. I remember downloading it just to get another title for my Marina Malfatti collection and I think it has Greek subtitles. First of all, what is up with that logo? He-Man anyone? We are first introduced to composer Piero Umiliani's ostentatious soundtrack and then we meet Arthur Anderson (played by Michael Craig) and his maid pulling a woman's body out of a swimming pool. Is she dead? Yes. Is she hot? Yes. They strip her, dry her off, and try to make it look like she didn't drown. Um... huh? Dang it, that is one hot corpse. We are cheated out of a peek at her dead boobs. Weak! Let me guess: I have the censored version? At the woman's funeral, a silly ass detective rushes in and asks the gravediggers to unbury her.
Arthur Anderson is accused of killing his third wife and for collecting a third life insurance policy. This doesn't look good for him. Motherfucker looks guilty as fuck. They haul his ass into court and we are treated to an intense (not really) trial scene. Arthur gets acquitted and goes for a walk in the park accompanied by some jaunty music. I guess he's out looking for a new wife. While we're watching this, Margie springs dinner on LeEtta and me. It is a fine one too: baked haddock, couscous, broccoli, and cauliflower. It's wonderful and the first moviethon fish that wasn't sushi. Wait, this might be the first moviethon fish ever! Milestone!
So anyway, while Arthur is trying to get over his dead wife, he catches a woman swimming in his pool. I'm sorry to say it's Caroll Baker as Julie Spencer. Sorry folks but I just really can’t stand Caroll Baker. She is just kind of annoying at the best of times. But my spirits are still up, Marina Malfatti (of The Red Queen Kills 7 Times) is snooping around on the grounds of the mansion. That's always a good sign. Oh shit, for some reason, Arthur just married Julie. Hopefully, this one will end up dead too. According to The Internet, this is from director Eugenio Martin, the guy who directed the awesome Horror Express with Peter Cushing and Telly Savalas. Thanks, The Internet.
Julie is definitely up to some sneaky shit. On their wedding night, she starts tearing through his attic, looking for clues. She is obsessed with his previous wife, Gladys. Anderson discovers some disturbing skeletons in Julie's past including, but not limited to, the murder of her first husband. This is one of those flicks that I had a bad first impression with and I'm glad I'm giving it another spin. Okay, this Irish cop is almost totally incomprehensible. Will the real Julie please stand up? Or sit down? Some freaky shit is going on, yo.
7:29pm - Eye in the Labyrinth (1972)
Bootleg Saturday continues with a very beat up copy Eye in the Labyrinth with Dutch subtitles that I downloaded. A creepy jazz band plays on while a man is chased by a knife-wielding maniac in a -you guessed it- labyrinth. It's a gory stabbing but then the woman dreaming all of this wakes up screaming. Weird camera angles and a hot girl named Julie (played by Rosemary Dexter). I like where this is going. While looking for her missing husband named Lucas (Horst Frank), she gets bitch-slapped by a mysterious character in sunglasses. She calls bullshit on all this, jumps into her convertible, and goes cruising to a small village where her husband was said to be going. The place is filled with suspicious characters including Adolfo Celli (of Who Saw Her Die?) as Frank, a strange character hanging about town.
Crisco has decided to join me (on my desk) for this viewing. Did I already say that I really like where this film is going? It feels like anything could happen. This is what scrounging around in the cult film dumpster is all about, kids. Someone already tried to kill this gorgeous broad. She ends up staying in this weird house with some very odd freakazoids. The soundtrack by Roberto Nicolosi is just a lurid jazz fart festival that is probably going to get really annoying after a while. Julie goes skinny dipping (big mistake) and some local perverts steal her clothes. Good God, look at these plebes, they look like Metallica! Alida Valli (of Suspiria) is in this one and she is creepy, as usual.
"A naked woman doesn't have to go into explanations, especially
when she is as young and as beautiful as you."
So Julie is now staying at the compound of weirdos where people take pictures of her feet and act like complete assholes. This is definitely one bizarre friggin' movie. There's this weird little dude who keeps popping up. He's voiced by a woman and it cracks me up. Oh look, some J&B. I knew this movie wouldn't let me down. Everyone keeps lying to Julie about where Lucas is. Shit! I just noticed that I'm confusing Horst Frank with William Berger. One of the woman tells Julie that Lucas raped her and then disappeared shortly afterward. People are on drugs here or is it just their personalities? Nope, there's a syringe.
Uh oh, she finds Lucas' car but she gets locked in there with the car running. The flashbacks make Lucas look like a real jerk. Maybe Julie should stop looking for this sociopathic rapist jerkoff. We get cheesy acting and cheesy dubbing in this worthless little perfect sleaze-gem. I sure hope someone rescues this flick from oblivion. I'm looking at you, legitimate DVD companies. Whoa, Julie just took some hits of acid. This is nuts! Eye in the Labyrinth is better than any other film ever made. The body of Lucas just washed up on the beach and all hell is breaking loose. Alida Valli's gonna wash her troubles down with some J&B. Geez. Now Julie is trapped with the killer! This one is going to be hard to beat, y'all.
9:32pm - The Weekend Murders (1970)
Why the hell are Italians so obsessed with England? Here's a goofy little flick. We follow a British cop as he rides a bike and drinks some milk. Now we're on a golf course. Soothing music and quiet scenes explode into noise and classical music at the discovery of the first body. Hey, I didn't know that Evelyn Stewart is in this one. Bonus! Other bonuses include skewed camera angles by Guglielmo Mancori (Umberto Lenzi's Paranoia) and an amazing score by Francesco De Masi (The Hanging Woman). Plus, there's a will to be read, some murders, and everyone is a suspect. This parody of British murder mysteries is just a whole lotta fun and it gives me "The Vibe". You know what? I'm all good. All I have left to say about The Weekend Murders is that everyone should watch it.
So... Could you tell that my notes on The Weekend Murders were complete gibberish and I had almost nothing to go on (4 months later)? Here's the most sensical sentence: "the bumbling detective is the one who is the real detective". I guess I don't know my own strength. Anyway, I really wanted to sleep in today but our cats were very insistent on us waking up early (around 8am). Crisco worked especially hard by knocking over a plant on our dresser. Thanks, fucker! I did get to dream about an inheritance scheme and a bunch of wacky characters trying to evade a black gloved killer. That was great! Of course, the killer got away again. I take out the trash and discover that it's even more windy and sinister out than it was yesterday. It's also muggier and there's supposed to be a big storm heading our way.
I can't stop thinking about Eye in the Labyrinth. That nearly unwatchable bootleg was worth fighting through just so I could watch one of the most... unique (that's not quite the right word) gialli I've ever seen. Margie, LeEtta, and I go to Panera Bread for breakfast. The soundtrack for the drive is an Italian pop mix I made with lots of Rita Pavone and Raffaella Carra. When we get there, I order sausage, egg and cheese on an Asiago cheese bagel. And hey look, they have Mountain Dew!
11:09am - Cold Eyes of Fear (1971)
God damn this stupid Redemption DVD intro. What the fuck were they thinking? There are painful looking silicone boobers, white contact lenses, and corn syrup dripping out of the TV. Thankfully, my wife and mother-in-law aren't in the room while this shit is playing. When the movie finally starts, the speakers explode with Ennio Morricone and Bruno Nicolai. These dudes kill my face with their 100% pure jazz-rock assault. I sure hope this movie is better than I remember it. My first impression was very negative. After the badass music, we see a woman menaced by a duder with a knife. He cuts her clothes off and they make love. Then she stabs him, the lights come on, and everyone applauds. It was all a put on! Oh Enzo G. Casterllari, you magnificent bastard!
Peter (Gianni Garko) steals Anna (Giovanna Ralli) from her boorish date at the nightclub so he can take her out on the town. They go back to his uncle's house for a late night of getting it on but there's a duder in gay boots lurking around the place. Peter and Anna start mackin' on the kitchen table but then the dead butler falls out of the pantry. I'm a little surprised something like that could ruin their sexy mood. Now Gay Boots (played by Julian Mateos) takes them hostage. Peter's jerk uncle (played by Fernando Ray) calls and is a total jerk as well as a judge. Judgey sends a cop over to deliver a letter. Will this cop be the hero and rescue our two annoying friends? I think that the music makes this film or maybe it's the J&B.
When the cop shows up and punches Peter in the face, I kind of figure out that something is up. This ain't no cop, this is a crook named Arthur (Frank Wolff of God Forgives... I Don't). Anna is so gorgeous but that damn Italo-afro just ain't doing it for me. The hostage situation continues. There's lots of screaming and back and forth and whatever. It seems as though our two criminal masterminds have a special relationship. Is Gay Boots actually gay? Arthur tells Peter about a bomb he's planted at his uncle's office which will go off if he leaves his office. Ugh, this is some silly shit. The stupid judge just sits in his office, pontificating on the Latin phrase Peter told him over the phone. For the record, I am enjoying this movie a million times more than the first time around.
Now there's a biker gang stirring up trouble at a shopping mall. Huh? We find out that Arthur's motivation for this lame-brained scheme is that the judge screwed him over. Peter is so stupid and naive that he can't believe it. When no one is looking, Peter cuts the lights and everyone in the house goes totally bonkers. We are treated to a tense showdown (way too long in the making) in the dark. There is some more nonsense with the bomb squad rescuing the judge and poopy poopy poopy poopy. Cold Eyes of Fear, what the fuck happened to you? I am glad I gave this film another chance but it still doesn't hold up all that well the second time around.
Read the complete review here.
Out on the patio, I count my blessings once again. This closed in patio makes for an ideal place to smoke when the wind is picking up. Wind is a cigar smoker's worst enemy. Next to the wasp, I guess. Didn't I already talk about this yesterday? No wait, I've got it. The cigar smoker's worst enemy is... mouth cancer. Anyway, I've got my Cain cigar and a couple of Vitamin Waters to go with my giallo mix on the old iPod. Geez. I have a long way to go today. There's a headache brewing in the back of my skull. Oh well, I just keep on smoking.
It doesn't matter, the soothing sounds of Morricone's score for Forbidden Photos of a Lady Above Suspicion takes all of my cares away when I close my eyes. Through the sliding glass door I see that Margie is knitting while she patiently waits for stupid public television to go back to playing Victor Borge concerts instead of just talking about them and asking for money. The bastards want a donation before they'll finally release their famous hostage.
2:00pm - You'll Die at Midnight AKA Midnight Ripper (1986)
I jump on the computer for this mid-80s giallo from Lamberto Bava. The soundtrack is already cheesetastic. Oh, Claudio Simonetti, you are a genius. Some pervert is spying on a woman trying on lingerie in a shop. His dumb face is stuck in a horrible sneer. Maybe he was born like that. His name is Nicola (played by Leonardo Treviglio) and he's a detective. A man joins the woman in the dressing room and his sneer fades. Nicola gets pissed off and goes home to his shitty and ugly apartment. Oh, I see. That lady in the changing room was his wife. She comes home and we got some serious domestic violence going on here. Damn! She stabs him with an icepick and he tries to drown her in the dishwater. This is not how you treat your spouses, my friends. Haven't these people ever tried kissing or snuggling? Nicola runs off and his wife is soon stabbed to death by a mysterious killer with her own icepick.
Next we meet Anna (Valeria D'Obici) , a psychiatrist. Nicola shows up at her and tells her everything that's happened. He seems to have no idea that his wife is dead. Do we trust his stupid face? The cops show up and things don't look too good for the guy. The killer goes to the psychiatric hospital where Anna works and dicks around with some files on a computer. It looks like our killer, named Franco Tribbo, hasn't been active since the 70s. That guy, Paolo Malco (from House by the Cemetery, New York Ripper), is Inspector Terzi, our hero detective. Now we meet a bunch of annoying psychology students.
So yeah, Anna is an expert on this Franco Tribbo guy and we find out that he supposedly died in a fire. Even though I can't stand how this movie is awkwardly dribbling out the plot, I have to admit that this is actually a decent late 80s giallo. There's an awesome stalking sequence in an empty opera house. Mr. Hotshot Director Lamberto certainly knows how to deliver some great shit (once in a while). Hey look, it's Gianpaolo Saccarola from The Beyond. Later, Anna sees Franco in her house but Terzi doesn't believe her.
The killer is after this chick named Carol (played by Lara Wendel from Satan's Wife), who just happens to be Terzi's daughter, but leaves just- AHHH! Scary cleaning lady! I'm terrified. Nicola attacks Anna out of the blue and gets gunned down by the cops. Man, is any of this making sense? Of course, the killer who ain't dead yet strikes again so Carol and her "cute" friends leave the city so they'll be safe. They stay in an empty hotel by the beach. It's called "Hotel Progresso". Yeah, like the soup. Apparently, the word "progresso" doesn't mean soup in Italian. Whatever!
Next we meet Alberto, a Peeping Tom who is watching some chick work on her Flashdance routine. Hey, what the fuck? I just noticed something. How come none of the murders occur on or anywhere near midnight? It's in the dang title! When one of Carol's friends is threatened by the killer, she reaches for a mixer. This gives the killer a very nasty idea for her death scene (which takes place off camera (thank God)). You'll Die at Midnight is a pretty goofy movie but I dig it. We get a foggy finale and some of the least graphic genital mutilations ever filmed. It's fun and even mildly diverting but by no means a classic.
3:41pm - Naked Girl Killed in the Park (1972)
I go back out to the living room to share this unseen by me giallo with Margie and LeEtta. I pop in the DVD from Euro Trash Cinema and it begins... Berlin. 1945. A Nazi and a dead teenage girl leave a mother and her son in a house with a bomb. That seems a tad elaborate. Flash forward to the present day Madrid where some old duder is murdered on a haunted house ride. Holy crap, this Spanish/Italian co-production has my attention. YAY! It's Robert Hoffmann (of Spasmo). And there's Adolfo Celi again. Hoffmann is Chris, an insurance investigator who is looking into the case of the dead duder. The beneficiary of the corpse's will, Catherine (played by Pilar Velazquez), just happens to be a hot chick. She's getting obscene phone calls and she's really scared. Thank God, a giallo that isn't set in England.
Next up, we get some lovely, romantic interludes while Chris tries to get to the bottom of the case. Catherine's sister Barbara (Patrizia Aiutori of Torso) is hot for Chris's body. The family butler is played by Franco Ressel who was in at least 6 gialli including Eye in the Labyrinth. We got some melodrama, y'all. Uh oh, an attempted rape that turns into a consensual sex scene. BOO! Must be an Italian thing. The farmhand just had his way with Barbara. Chris is about to put the moves on Catherine but her mom (Irina Demick of Tragic Ceremony) totally cock-blocks him. So he does the next rational thing: he goes down to the barn and gets it on with Barbara.
Later, of course, Barbara is found with her throat slit, naked, and dead. Totally dead. Jeez, mom has snapped and we see how hung up she is on her dead husband. She stares at his portrait, rubs her martini glass on her face, and twirls around in her dress. This is an average thriller because sometimes average is all I need. Now a little gothic horror just got thrown in the mix. (Geez Catherine, why don't you try fainting some more?) And there's the obligatory bottle of J&B.
Meanwhile, Margie and I are having a ball with this flick. LeEtta is confused but hasn't given up on it yet. None of us have any answers. Catherine and Barbara's mom sure is one cryptic lady. I think she just admitted to being the killer or maybe she didn't. She just told Chris to enjoy his drink because it is poisoned. Now mom and Chris are drunkenly making out. Scandalous! Oh shit, nothing is as it seems. This is a pretty awesome film (rape scene notwithstanding) and that ending is rad.
While Margie is making dinner, I take Shadow for a walk. He's a kickass dog. Part Blue Heeler and part Border Collie. He's cute, he's smart, and luckily I didn't have to be the one who trained him. Bonus! Even with the wind whipping around us, it is still oppressively muggy outside. The clouds look threatening. Back home, the feast begins. Margie brings out a delicious roast, potatoes, and fresh spinach. Sooooo damn good.
6:10pm - Deadly Inheritance (1968)
The music for this film is already totally amazing. Fuzz guitar and a macho trumpet. Some duder in France gets hit by a train he's barely mutilated. He's left behind three daughters and a son who will receive the money when he turns 21. One of the daughters, Simone (played by the super fine Femi Benussi) has a boyfriend but he's someone else's husband. Tramp! 15 minutes into the movie and she already gets a shower scene. Nice. Her crippled brother Janot (is played by character actor Ernesto Colli) and he tells Simone that he is going to fix everything with the will. So he jumps in front of an oncoming train!
"The police will be here soon!"
This colorful film is searing itself on my brain. Why can't all gialli be this pretty? This is like a garish bitchslap to the face. Just so you know, my brain is falling apart like a mush-like mush running through my fingers. Please bear with me. This whole family is a bunch of scumbags. LeEtta is quite amused by their trashy antics. The awesomeness of Deadly Inheritance is too much to bear. It's pretty, ugly, bright, dumb, and shrill. Did I mention the slick nightclub called Les Cigales where all the cool kids hang out?
"Why? What did we do?"
Simone's lover AKA Dickhead duder (one of the many jerks in this movie) ends up dead in the shower with a bag over his head. Good riddance. Guess his little scheme of getting in on Simone's inheritance ain't gonna happen now. Wow, French people are jerks. They find the corpse of one sister in someone else's grave and Leon goes on the run. Boat chase! Man, this Leon on the run bit is going on too long. He eats some sardines in a castle. That is pretty fun. Who is Leon you ask? He's somebody's slob husband. Do I have to explain everything? This reminds me of Naked You Die (which came out the same year). Hey Colette (Valeria Ciangottini), you better stay away from the business end of that golf club.
Oh crap, the power just went out! Not in the movie, IN REAL LIFE! This thunderstorm is really freaking Shadow out. Poor doggie don't like the thunder. Okay, we're back. I spend about a solid 5 minutes trying to get the DVD player to stop fucking with me and go back to where we were before the lights went out. This movie just knocked my block off with the big reveal. Nice. It's convoluted but oh so grand and that ending is just odd. Why can't they all be like this? Thank you very much, Euro Trash Cinema!
7:42pm - The Bloodsucker Leads the Dance (1975)
I decide it is time that I ruin the night. Set in Ireland in 1902, this movie is so goddamn terrible, you'll have to see it (don't see it) to believe it (don't believe it). Miss Evelyn. Count Richard Monarch (actually, it's Marnack). Garbled dialogue, totally inept acting, silly music, and a dreary and drowsy plot make for some shitty shit. Everyone teases Samuel (played by Leo Valeriano). He's half a man. But keep an eye on this guy, he pulls some totally insane faces later. These people make redonkulous sounds with their mouths that I think someone actually wrote. Giacomo Rossi-Stuart, what the fuck were you thinking? Your voice actor sounds drunk!
"We aren't the castle type."
I've never seen anything quite this bad. Femi Benussi (the maid) and Luciano Pigozzi (the groundskeeper) just had a love scene? How? Why? What does it signify? I guess it signifies that Pigozzi is a lucky bastard. The "Irish" castle is blowing LeEtta and Margie's minds. They may never recover from the half-assed set design. I feel totally spaced out right now. These films are going by too fast. I can't get a grip on this shit. The Bloodsucker Leads the Dance is a romance for the ages. Holy shit. This Monarch guy is totally okay if Evelyn (Patrizia Webley) is or is not his dead wife. Whatever! It's all the same to him.
There are lots of lukewarm sex scenes and lesbian ridiculousness. The actresses look really bored. Throw us a lifeboat and let it crush our soft skulls, we are drowning in a sea of terribleness. There are moments of priceless melodrama in the home of Pigozzi between him and his family. The storm is whipping up (in the movie, not in real life) and the editor rolls out some black and white stock footage of a hurricane to show us how stormy it is. This is a color film, you pathetic piece of shit! Not you, I was talking to the editor.
We finally get a murder AND a poorly executed severed head effect. Oh no, another severed head. The lesbians are gone now. I might as well turn this off! Strangely enough, this movie isn't boring. The maids are trying to figure out who the killer is. A policeman shows up and explains everything which actually makes things even more inexplicably dumb. They just went for the twisty fliparoo! Femi Benussi gets a monologue that is 100 years long. Fucking incompetent writer doesn't know the difference between telling and showing.
Read the complete review here.
9:43pm - So Sweet, So Dead (1972)
I put on another bootleg with Greek subtitles. This copy of So Sweet, So Dead is a little on the shaky side but watchable for sure. LeEtta takes her leave of us as she has to work in the morning. Margie and I wish her a goodnight. Farley Granger plays Inspector Capuana and I think he's dubbed. That is really annoying because the guy has a crazy awesome voice. I forgive the film because we've got Luciano Rossi (of Death Walks at Midnight) as a sicko morgue worker. And that is one naked dead lady. She's an upper class lady corpse!
"I may be homosexual but I'm not homicidal."
Femi Benussi is here for a third film in a row! She gets just what the doctor ordered: a slow motion death scene. Wow, that may been the most giallo moment in a giallo. Nice. Hey duder, don't get all bent out of shape just because your lover just got mutilated to death. Did I mention how disturbing Luciano Rossi is in this movie? More corpses! More victims! And the ladies there are so many wonderful giallo ladies in this movie. There's Benussi, Sylva Koscina (of Lisa and the Devil), Annabella Incontrera (of The Case of the Bloody Iris), Krista Nell (of The Red Headed Corpse), Angela Covello (of Torso), and Susan Scott (of Death Walks at Midnight). Gee, no wonder I had to have this one. Thanks again to Euro Trash Cinema, I owe you my (nerdy) life.
I can't believe how cheap and tawdry this flick is. I can't believe I'm watching this with my mother-in-law! Thank God she hasn't kicked me out of the house yet. There are lots of crazy theories by the clueless police force as to who the killer might be. They seem torn as to whether the killer is a sex criminal or a maniac. I just saw J&B and a very long sex scene. Wow. Thanks. What's his face's daughter just witnessed a murder so she is sure that the killer will be coming for her. That's a safe bet, missy.
I am paralyzed by a horrible case of hiccups but at least they are keeping me awake. I would be pissed if I missed any of this movie with its bloody death scenes, nudity, and sex sex sex SEX! Okay folks, we got an overkill on the sex here. Jeez. The weird thing is, no seems really all that upset about these women being murdered. Events just happens in this cold and clinical fashion. The cop takes a chance by arresting the wrong man on purpose and a bizarre grandfather clock holds a key to the mystery. Wow, I like this movie a whole, whole lot. Sylva Koscina actually had to choose between the big bottle of J&B and the large bottle of J&B. What a woman! The ending of this film is so awesome. It's morally bankrupt and bleak in the best way.
I am fairly coherent when I say goodnight to Margie but my eyes are aching. It seems like I'm watching less films during these things but suffering more. I think it may be time to reinstate the Doomed Moviethon fitness program. In the shower, the water hits the back of my neck and it feels like I'm having a happy earthquake inside my brain. After I get out, I find that there's another big thunderstorm passing over the apartment. The lightning is flashing with an alarming regularity and there is rumbling aplenty. I know the killer is using the storm to cover his movements. Our poor dog. He's pacing around and following me while I get ready for bed. Shadow is a big dog but the storms make him quiver like a cold puppy. Or perhaps, he knows there's something else out there. Some other danger.
Well, I have the day off today and I usually use this freedom to recover from a Moviethon. But you know what? Fuck it! I've got more gialli than I know what to do with. I feed the cats and walk over to 7-11. It's bright out! The ground is wet from last night's storm and the world is alive. I get Mountain Dew from the fountain and a breakfast sandwich. I also pick up Margie her large coffee and head back. I'm about to start the next movie and there is something stirring in my brain. My body is warning me not to go on, to take it easy. I say, "Eat black gloves, sucker!"
9:58am - Blue Eyes of the Broken Doll AKA House of Psychotic Women (1973)
This film has one fatal flaw: animal violence. It's real, it's not staged, and that's why I'm watching it alone. This is a damn shame too because I love Blue Eyes of the Broken Doll. The late, great Paul Naschy introduces this Spanish giallo on the DVD. You sir, will be missed. The film starts with Naschy as a mysterious figure named Gilles, hitching a ride along a barren stretch of road. The soundtrack so far is deliciously loungy. The mountain scenery is beautiful and uh oh, the music by Juan Carlos Calderon just took a turn for the eerie. Gilles gets dropped off in a small village filled with jerks who are not very helpful at all.
After a glass of wine and a cheese sandwich, Gilles gets a lift from a woman with severe burns on a fake hand. She kills an injured bird along their way (staged, I hope) which causes him to have a flashback of strangling a woman to death. So yeah, he kind of misses the foreshadowing that the film is telegraphing to him. You see, this woman with the fake hand is named Claude (played by Diana Lorys) and she informs him that she and her sisters need a man around the house. This shit is so foreboding. Gilles, duder, you need to get the fuck out of there. Go now! Three hot sisters: one in a wheelchair, one horribly burned, and one wanton beyatch. Of course, everyone's favorite sister is nympho Nicole (the wildly sexy Eva Leon). And I would keep my eye on wheelchair bound Ivette (Maria Perschy), she is clearly the craziest of the three.
I'm watching the awesome English dub of this film because it is hilarious. It can't disguise the strange and obvious lisp that comes when people speak Castilian. Something strange about Nicole: she never changes her clothes. Michelle (Ines Morales), the hot nurse, shows up to take care of Ivette. Holy shit! Mr. Former Body Builder Paul Naschy is ripped in this one. I need to do some push-ups like immediately. (I don't.) Gilles wakes up from a dream (of strangling that woman again) just in time for Nicole who shows up ready for action. We get an awkward sex scene. What just happened? Impotence? Premature ejaculation? I have no idea. Claude peeks in on Gilles to see him in bed with her raging slut of a sister and she is pissed. Meanwhile, Ivette is a loony! She's more than just a tad paranoid.
While Gilles is out doing some half-assed yard work, this fucking guy shows up and starts some shit. The duders get to fightin' and during the throwdown, Gilles gets stabbed. But the other guy gets his own knife in the guts and flees the scene. Michelle treats Gilles's flesh wound and the whole scene is freakishly erotic. Now Claude finds their new handyman completely irresistible. The plot keeps getting more and more complicated so pardon me if I don't spend the next 3,000 words trying to explain it all. Gilles starts to fall for Claude and the killer strikes and some random chick gets wacked with a meat cleaver.
And here it is. At the 48 minute mark, we get a brief but horrifyingly real slaughtering of a pig. Look asshole director, I know where bacon comes from. Nice job ruining the movie, you lame shithead. Obviously, the perpetrators are professional butchers and not actors, so I'm guessing that the pig was used to feed people and not just tossed away after giving it's life for "entertainment". But I have to ask: why in the world is this in the movie? This heinousness is followed by another murder and we see the killer make off with his prize: the girl's eyeballs. Everyone suspects Gilles of the crime but there are so many red herrings in this film, it is anybody's guess as to what is really going on.
"I kill you! I kill you again and again! I'll kill you a thousand times if necessary! So you never come back! Again!"
The killer takes out yet another blue-eyed beauty with a mini-rake. Oh no, not Nicole too! I miss that raging slut already. When Gilles finds out that the village cop has discovered his ex-con status, he and Claude split. They get trapped by the cops in the mountains, so Gilles ditches Claude because he knows he's not going to make it. This is actually pretty sad. Then he gets gunned down by the cops. But this shit ain't over, my friends. There is one last sick surprise before the credits roll. Sigh. Holy crap, this was director Carlos Aured’s directorial debut! He also directed Paul Naschy in The Mummy's Revenge, Curse of the Devil, and my favorite: Horror Rises from the Tomb. With Blue Eyes, Aured achieved a near perfect giallo trash/beauty spectacle. It really is a shame about that poor pig. Those wacky Europeans and their animal violence.
I vacuum the apartment and then Margie and I walk to 7-11 for hot dogs. It is surprisingly nice outside. I thought it would be muggier out but the outside world is just kind of... pretty. I get a Coke/Pepsi from the fountain and pour some grenadine in it when I get back home. I have to keep going. There are more gialli, damn it!
1:15pm - Death Laid an Egg (1968)
Special thanks to Chris Baker of San Fran for hooking me up with a copy of this film!
There might be chicken violence ahead so...I decide to fly solo on this film too. The opening credits are complimented very well by Bruno Maderna's discordant freakout music score. This artsy mess is all ultramodern cities and strangeness. Come on, you obtuse bastards! I'm ready for you. Trintignant is back in the moviethon. He plays Marco and he likes chickens! Ewa Aulin is back too. She plays Gabrielle and she makes my life worth living. Marco's wife, Anna (played by Gina Lollobrigida (whose name looks like LOL LOL BRIGADE to me)), is a little wound up. She's dealing with some disgruntled former employees of the chicken factory. She blames them for all the accidents that have been occurring at the factory since she laid everybody off.
This is some heavy shit. Anna casually comments about how she would love to "dismantle" Gabrielle and who she is obsessed with hurting her. So far, this is very, very strange and lovely. And I'm loving the out of tune jazz band falling down a flight of stairs soundtrack. While Marco is snooping around the lab one night (while following Gabrielle), he screws up the scientist's radioactive chicken experiment. No, I'm not making that up. That really is what just happened.
Mmm, Ewa Aulin eating ice cream. I could watch that all day. We see a flashback of her mother and father dying in a car accident. Marco admits his love for Gabrielle. Shit just gets weirder when an ad exec shows up with ideas for a new hipper chicken (marketing chickens as soldiers, etc.). At a fancy party, Marco and co. play a sick party game that involves, tears, lust, and almost-rapes. Marco picks up some random woman and murders her. Oh okay, he's a creepy psycho. And I thought he was just into chickens. Anna finds a letter Marco wrote describing his sado-perversions but she doesn't realize that he's killing the women he picks up.
Whoa! The dog just fell into the chicken processor. What the hell is going on here? At least that was staged animal violence. Man, I'm getting burned out. And what do you know? Things just got stranger. Anna finds some headless and wingless chickens that were the result of Marco's tomfoolery with the experiment. This discovery makes the scientist happy?? Man, Death Laid an Egg is weirding me out and not in a good way. Marco thinks the new chickens are monsters (which he himself made) so he destroys them with an axe in a scene that is friggin' disgusting, yo. Now everything just went to hell in an egg basket. WTF? Were all the murders fake? Fuuuuuuck. This is a totally unlikeable film. I think I liked it.
I get up from the computer and pace around the office for a while (this is not easy to do, it's a small office). I want to watch more movies but I can't. Not after the malignant assault of Death Laid an Egg. Nothing can(not) top that. When is too much not enough? Oh, I'll tell you! It's when you start a moviethon with an artsy flick and then end with an even artier one. There are a stack of unwatched movies but my hand shakes ever so slightly when I pick them up. But I've only watched 16 movies!
There is no doubt in my mind that there will be a Giallo Meltdown 5 and a 6 and a 7 and a 10teen. I go out to the living room and see that Margie is watching NCIS. I settle onto the couch and I immediately smirk at DiNozzo's goofy antics. In this particular episode, a black-gloved killer is taking out naval wives who cheat on their spouses. Gibbs goes undercover as the ghost of Edwige Fenech's late husband in order to ensnare her in her own inheritance scam. Best episode ever.
Final Body Count: 79
Moviethon Length: around 75 hours (what the hell!??!)
Queen of the Meltdown: Femi Benussi
King of the Meltdown: (tie) Luciano Rossi and Telly Savalas
Official Meltdown Beverage: J&B (yeah right, it's A&W)
Most Boring Film: A Black Veil for Lisa
Most Rad Film: Eye in the Labyrinth
Most Gialloriffic Film: So Sweet, So Dead