Director: Luigi Cozzi.
Starring: George Hamilton, Antoine Saint-John. Italy. 1h 28m.
This nifty little Giallo film is actually quite intriguing if not totally underpowered. A juggalo boyfriend, Giorgio(Hamilton) is about to be cut off from his stunning rich girlfriend and her fortune after she’s had enough of his player ass, so he storms out and witnesses a man dumping a woman’s body into the river…instead of calling the police he confronts the man, invites him out, get his prints on his lighter and blackmails him into killing his girl, a similar setup is manufactured in Strangers on a Train (1951), but starts spinning his own web of deceit by claiming that she has been kidnapped and asks her father to pay up a million for her, which is about the figure the two haphazard dial a crooks got in Fargo (1996), the local police aren’t ready to buy that bullshit so keep on digging, the only minor problem is that the killer has lost the body, a couple of hipster kids managed to steal his car with the body in the trunk so the killer (who is only known as “the killer throughout the film) must chases them down and must kill and kill again until he can put things to rights…
It’s quite watchable and employs a lot of handheld camera work, some of the outside shots are bit shoddy but that’s expected in a lot of lower budget Italian cinema of the time, but there isn’t anything outstanding about the film, but it’s quite addictive as it’s pretty easy to get into. It’s instantly one of my favourites as the situations are pretty exciting and simultaneously cringe worthy.
Saint-John, is always a striking addition to any film, his chiseled skeleton like features are highly recognisable even under makeup when he played the warlock in The Beyond (1981) but he doesn’t have to do much here exceed look scary and menacing, and this oddball look and style do that well but that’s where his talent ends, I often think that he could have been a silent character just to give the character a touch of Count Orlock, but what is adorable is how this man comes from nowhere, doesn’t give any explanation for to why he’s dumping bodies, his animosity is quite an attractive trait for this killer. Women really are walked over in this film, literally every character gets fucked (over) in some way, but the is often the Giallo way, and there is a lot of traditional slasher features missing from this film but it does make up for it as being a sort of Giallo road movie in a bizarre fashion.
One curious scene is near the end of the film, when the young couple go to a secluded place to make out, but the girl is too pure and innocent and doesn’t want to put out so sends her cassanova out to get food, he finds a dizzy blonde tart and gets into some steamy sex with her, in the meantime his petit fleur gets raped by “the killer” and the two contrasting scenes are switched between the end result is quite dramatic.
Cozzi seems to keep to the fringes of the Giallo, there is so much that a dedicated fan will have to find patience to tolerate, there is no epic mystery to solve, no real gory horror scenes. Instead the film simulates a columbo plot, as we know who the killer is at all times, there is no sleuthing, but it’s entertaining watching the cat and mouse chase and the muddling efforts of Giorgio.
R – The Beyond (1981), Strangers on a Train (1951), Fargo (1996), The case of the Scorpion’s Tail (1971) Black Belly of the Tarantula (1971)
L – A-Z Giallo Films
A – casually planning murders in films…
5s – George Hamilton, Antoine Saint-John