Phenomena (1985)

A psychic girl with the superpower to summon swarms of icky bugs teams up with a revenge-seeking razor-wielding chimp to take down the mother of a deformed kid who both have been out and about in the the Swiss mountains killing people! Truly, this is the logline of the gods!  Fellow Italian Lucio Fucli was probably kicking himself that Dario Argento thought of it first! Continue reading “Phenomena (1985)”

Giallo a Venezia (1979)

Giallo a Venezia gets criticized quite a bit for generally being a disgusting piece of trash. Normally, I’m inclined to dismiss claims such as this as the ravings of oversensitive bluenoses, but after suffering through this one though, I am reluctantly inclined to agree wholeheartedly. After all, who can argue that the presence of naked dudes in this movie isn’t completely gratuitous and has no place in an otherwise upstanding and sleazy slice-n-dice? Continue reading “Giallo a Venezia (1979)”

Seven Blood-Stained Orchids (1972)

On the surface, it’s an odd combination to say the least – a Cornell Woolrich story serving as the basis for an Umberto Lenzi film. Woolrich was the author of several stories during the fifties that were turned into such film noirs as Black Angel and Phantom Lady. Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window was also based on a Woolrich story.

Lenzi is best known as king of the cannibals for his Cannibal Ferox, Deep River Savages, and Eaten Alive films. But he was also proficient earlier in his career with thrillers in the giallo mold including Spasmo and Orgasmo so maybe it isn’t such a surprise that itt all works much better than you would suspect, resulting in an easily digestible confection of mystery, graphic violence, and Antonio Sabato. Continue reading “Seven Blood-Stained Orchids (1972)”

My Dear Killer (1972)

This is an okay giallo marred chiefly by its use of convoluted red herrings that I could never even figure out what I was supposed to be thinking they pointed to. Combined with the fact that our hero, Inspector Luca Peritti, cracks the case after visiting the murder scene and having a flash of inspiration while simultaneously rendering the previous 85 minutes of investigation completely meaningless and you end up with a film that has its moments (notably a couple of well done death scenes) and is able to keep you involved, but only because you’re unaware that everything you’re seeing doesn’t matter in discovering the killer’s identity. Continue reading “My Dear Killer (1972)”

The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (1970)

In Dario Argento’s first film, Tony Musante plays Sam, an American writer who is in Rome trying to find inspiration for a new work. Apparently all the inspiration he was able to muster up was a work-for-hire project about birds. He turns in that project and is getting ready to leave the country, when, wouldn’t you know it, he happens to be aimlessly walking the nighttime streets of Rome and sees an attempted murder going on!

To be fair, no one could have missed it because it was taking place in a modern (for 1969) art gallery where the entire storefront of the place is one giant, brightly lit picture window. Continue reading “The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (1970)”