The Two Faces of Fear/Coartada en disco rojo (1972)

‘If he won’t talk, eat him.’

A prominent heart surgeon is murdered in an apparent robbery attempt. However, the investigating detective is unconvinced by that explanation and focuses instead on the senior staff at the highly exclusive heart clinic where he worked…

Dull and rather spiritless Giallo from director Tulio Demicheli that goes through some tired murder mystery motions to fairly minimal effect. This Italian-Spanish co-production managed to attract a notable cast, but why they would become involved is a bigger puzzle than anything the film has to offer.

Things are coming up roses for respected heart surgeon Dr Michele Azzini (Luis Dávila). Not only is he engaged to be married to beautiful colleague, Dr Paola Lombardi (Anita Strindberg), but now he’s been offered a prestigious job in Madrid. The only fly in the ointment is that his current employer, Elena Carli (Luciana Paluzzi), is spitting feathers. She sees him as an essential part of the team at the private heart clinic that she owns, along with her surgeon husband Roberto (George Hilton), Strindberg and head administrator Luisi (Eduardo Fajardo). She offers him an increased slice of the business, and he agrees to think it over, but it looks like he’s bound for Madrid. Then he is murdered.

On the case is tetchy veteran Inspector Nardi (Fernando Rey), more irritable than usual as he’s trying to quit smoking. At first, it seems like a straightforward robbery, but as he probes into the tangled lives of the medical staff at the clinic, he begins to suspect something more. Meanwhile, Paluzzi’s own serious heart condition is deteriorating, and her forthcoming operation may become an emergency.

This is an odd little scribble of a film, hamstrung by a weak plot so slight that it almost disappears. The cast struggles to inject much life into their underwritten roles, with Rey being the only participant who achieves any level of success. His irritable detective with a nicotine deficiency is the only bright spark in a turgid 90 minutes, with the actor able to bring some sly humour to his struggle with addiction. Caught between moments of humorous exasperation at his own weakness and genuine anger at the indulgence of others, particularly the clinic’s staff, he’s the equivalent of a ray of sunshine cutting through the grey dreariness of a rainy February afternoon.

The drama’s plot, such as it is, would struggle to fill a half an hour episode of a TV anthology show, which is what Demicheli’s film often resembles. The final revelations are simplistic and implausible simultaneously. They also lack any real element of surprise, although it’s debatable whether the audience will still be paying close attention by the time the final act rolls around. The jumble of the main protagonists’ love lives is straight out of a weary hospital soap opera (are there any other kind?), and viewers hoping for lashings of sex and gore will be sorely disappointed. Or maybe not. In a strange and rather unusual way.

The only real talking point of the film may go some way to explaining its very existence. The opening credits prominently thank a Madrid heart clinic and a Dr Martinez Bordiu, who carries out the operation seen in the film. Yes, the open heart surgery that takes up about ten minutes of the runtime towards the end of the picture is a genuine operation shot by the filmmakers. In terms of the film’s story, the sequence actually proves to be quite pointless, although I’m sure the real-life recipient of the surgery was grateful.

It’s interesting to speculate whether the ‘real-life heart operation’ was played up in the film’s publicity campaign and whether producer José Gutiérrez Maesso really felt that its presence was enough to build a movie around. Turnaround on Italian films made during this period was notoriously short, so it’s possible that Pedro Mario Herrero and Mario di Nardo were tasked with coming up with their script almost on the fly when the opportunity to film Dr Bordiu at work suddenly arose. It would explain why the story is so slight and poorly developed.

What hurts most here, of course, is the criminal waste of such a wealth of experienced acting talent. By this point, Hilton was almost a Giallo poster boy, and Strindberg had also chalked up some notable appearances in the sub-genre. Paluzzi had starred with John Mills in the outstanding ‘A Black Veil For Lisa/La Morte Non Ha Sesso (1968), although she’s always likely to be best remembered as ‘Bond Girl’ Fiona from ‘Thunderball’ (1965). Rey gets the best of things, although one veteran character digging a little something out of a script like this isn’t much of a reason to celebrate. His good work is even undermined by ‘comedy police sergeant’ Félix (Manuel Zarzo), who keeps trying to interrogate the late Dávila’s parrot (arguably the film’s most fully realised character).

Rey was an award-winning Spanish actor, probably most recognisable to the general public as drug lord Alain “Frog One” Charnier from smash hit ‘The French Connection’ (1971) and its sequel. He began as an extra in the 1930s, taking almost a decade to land his first speaking role in the costume picture ‘Eugenia de Montijo’ (1944). His big breakthrough came four years later in historical drama ‘Madness for Love/Locura de amor’ (1948), and steady work eventually led to the international arena. There, he starred for Orson Welles in the classic ‘Chimes at Midnight’ (1966) and for Spanish auteur Luis Buñuel in ‘Viridiana’ (1961) and ‘The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie’ (1972), among others. He was equally at home in more commercial projects such as ‘Return of the Seven’ (1966) and ‘Guns of the Magnificent Seven’ (1969), as well as ‘The Light at the Edge of the World’ (1971) and the star-studded drama ‘Voyage of the Damned’ (1976). He won multiple acting honours over his entire career and was awarded the gold medal of the Spanish Movie Arts and Sciences Academy.

A desperately poor exercise and almost a complete waste of a fine cast.

Your Vice Is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key/Il tuo vizio è una stanza chiusa e solo io ne ho la chiave (1972)

‘Maybe you’d prefer to drink from my empty skull.’

A dissolute writer is suspected by the police after one of his ex-students is brutally murdered. His maid meets the same fate afterwards, and realising that this will almost certainly mean arrest and conviction for the crimes, he persuades his wife to help him hide the corpse in their wine cellar…

High-quality Giallo from director Sergio Martino, who sprinkles his tale of suspicion and murder with more than a touch of Edgar Allan Poe. The Italian film industry was pumping out these horror thrillers by the dozen in the early 1970s, and all the main cast and crew here had plenty of previous experience in the field.

Things are not working out too well for Oliviero Rouvigny (Luigi Pistilli). Once a celebrated author, he has not published in years, even teaching opportunities vanishing due to his lack of output. As a member of the nobility, he doesn’t have to worry about money, but that’s a double-edged sword. Walled up in his crumbling villa, he’s taken to the bottle, inviting local hippies around for group debauchery and knocking about long-suffering wife Irina (Anita Strindberg). He’s also having an affair with ex-student Fausta (Daniela Giordano), and when she turns up with her throat cut, local Inspector Farla (Franco Nebbia) inevitably begins looking his way. Fortunately, Strindberg backs up his dodgy alibi.

But there’s much worse to come. The unhappy couple’s maid, Brenda (Angela La Vorgna), is mysteriously murdered at the villa a few nights later, putting Pistilli’s head firmly in the noose. But he proclaims his innocence and persuades Strindberg to help conceal the body in the cellar. The girl’s disappearance seems to draw little attention, but then Pistilli gets a telegram from his niece Floriana (Edwige Fenech) inviting herself for an extended visit. She’s already on her way, so the conspirators must grin and bear it. However, once she arrives, it becomes increasingly clear that she has more on her mind than just a casual holiday. The villa seems to be under surveillance too, but just who is mystery man Walter (Ivan Rassimov) and what are his intentions?

Unlike Martino’s previous excursions into Giallo territory, this project leans more toward the traditional murder mystery. Events are almost entirely centred on Pistilli’s villa, the cast is small, and the action is focused firmly on the three principals. Rather than the escalating body count suggested by the first act, this is more of an exercise in suspense and intrigue. Martino lays out his slow breadcrumb trail of clues, courtesy of the screenplay by Ernesto Gastaldi, Adriano Bolzoni and Sauro Scavolini. When developments and revelations arrive in the final act, they are logical and satisfying. However, it’s probable that the final twist won’t surprise anyone with a passing knowledge of the horror genre.

Best of all, though, is the work delivered in front of the camera. Pistilli is superb as the twisted Oliviero, often drunk, fixated on his dead mother, protective of her black cat (named Satan!) and permanently teetering on the edge of an outburst, be it violent, sexual or both. Going toe to toe with him are the women in his life; Strindberg outstanding as the beaten-down wife with a core of steel, and Fenech note-perfect as the playful, promiscuous Floriana, whose actions progressively indicate a much darker agenda than is first suggested. Her character plays husband and wife off against each other, first just sleeping with both of them, but eventually suggesting that they kill each other. The dynamic between the trio is a tricky balance to strike in the context of a mystery plot where motivations and plans have to remain hidden. Still, all three deliver with force or subtlety as and when the situation requires it.

In the spirit of the low-key nature of the drama, Martino shows admirable restraint in his direction while still displaying a fine eye for composition and tone. The murders are gory but brief, although it could be argued that this is not so much to heighten their impact as to hide some rather inadequate FX work. Still, the camera movement is particularly good; hand-held for the violent scenes, more elegant moves reserved to build suspense and emphasise the claustrophobic surroundings.

If there’s not all that much here for the committed gore-hound, then Martino compensates for the lack of blood with plenty of sex. Not only do we get to see quite a lot of Fenech and Strindberg, including a shared scene, but there’s an undercurrent of sexual violence and perversion present throughout. It’s implied that Oliviero slept with his mother, and he forces himself on Strindberg a couple of times, once after attempting to stab her in a cage of doves in clear sight of anyone who might be passing by. Servant La Vorgna tries on an old dress that belonged to Pistilli’s mother, something which is clearly pushing her buttons, only to be slaughtered in the process. No judgement here, but this is a household with a lot of issues!

Despite the film’s undoubted strengths, a few flaws hold it back from the first rank of the Giallo thriller. These mainly revolve around the film’s second act. Yes, the story is designed as a slow burn, but there’s a feeling of marking time at this point. Fenech’s liaison with delivery boy and motorbike racer Dario (Riccardo Salvino) is the main culprit, and although it does play into the story’s eventual outcome, it could have been integrated a little more into the overall plot or discarded altogether. The police investigation also seems strangely half-hearted. Yes, there’s a somewhat contrived development halfway through that takes the heat off Pistilli, but is no one in authority interested when the only servant of a murder suspect suddenly up and leaves the district without a word to anyone? The Poe references also feel a little forced at times, although it only becomes obvious towards the end of the film.

Martino began his film career in various behind-the-scenes roles, including a few projects as an assistant director, before taking the plunge as the man with the megaphone on Spaghetti Western ‘Arizona Colt, Hired Gun/Arizona si scatenò… e li fece fuori tutti!’ (1970). A year later, he delivered the outstanding Giallo ‘The Strange Vice of Mrs Wardh/Lo strano vizio della signora Wardh’ (1971), which again starred Fenech. That film provided the title for this one, with the phrase appearing in a threatening note that she receives at one point in the story. Further Gialli followed and included two of the sub-genre’s most prominent examples, ‘All the Colors of the Dark/Tutti i colori del buio’ (1972) and ‘Torso/I corpi presentano tracce di violenza carnale’ (1973). He subsequently worked in comedy and crime drama but was also responsible for the controversial jungle exploitation of ‘Slave of the Cannibal God/La montagna del dio cannibale’ (1977) and the less contentious ‘Island of the Fishmen/L’isola degli uomini pesce’ (1979). Later, he ventured into the post-nuclear wasteland with the stupidly enjoyable ‘2019: After the Fall of New York/2019 – Dopo la caduta di New York’ (1983) and the rather dreary ‘Hands of Steel/Vendetta dal futuro’ (1986). He retired from the business in 2012.

A strong mystery thriller, elevated further by a trio of excellent lead performances.

Who Saw Her Die?/Chi l’ha vista morire? (1972)

‘If you can’t play ping pong, don’t get mixed up in politics.’

France, 1968: a young girl is brutally murdered while playing in the woods, and the killer is never caught. Four years later, another girl goes missing in Venice, and her body is found floating in one of the canals. Unimpressed with the police investigation, the grieving father begins his own quest for justice…

Intriguing Giallo thriller co-written and directed by Aldo Lado that stars one-time James Bond, George Lazenby. This was an Italian-West German co-production with some interiors shot at a studio in Rome but with extensive location work in Venice.

Sculptor Franco Serpieri (Lazenby) has his troubles. Although his work is selling, thanks to powerful art dealer Serafian (Adolfo Celi), his marriage is another matter. When his young daughter Roberta (Nicoletta Elmi) visits him in Venice, his wife Elizabeth (Anita Strindberg) stays behind in London. The arrangement has its upside, as it allows him to carry on cheating with Celi’s beautiful assistant Ginevra Storelli (Dominique Boschero). However, he’s not too keen on getting a divorce so he can marry her.

The bright and friendly Elmi is soon having a wonderful time on her Venetian holiday, making friends with a group of local children. One evening, after finishing his work for the day, Lazenby realises that she’s not come home and he can’t find her anywhere. The next day the police are fishing her dead body out of the water. Strindberg flies in from London for the funeral, and the couple tries to reconnect as the official investigation flounders. When journalist friend Cuman (Piero Vida) recalls a previous case with similarities, Lazenby begins following up on the clues himself, ultimately placing everyone in danger.

There are some definite positives surrounding Lado’s serial killer Giallo. There’s the stunning Venetian locations, a simple and effective setup and a highly capable and committed cast to articulate the drama. Lazenby reportedly lost 35 pounds for his role and is almost unrecognisable from his 007 days behind a drooping moustache and long hair. There are also plenty of suspects in the frame as the possible killer. Celi, Vida and Boschero are joined on the list by arrogant dilettante Philip Vernon (Peter Chatel), unsavoury lawyer Bonaiuti (José Quaglio), local priest Father James (Alessandro Haber) and a strange young man who walks about on crutches.

Unfortunately, Lado’s film comes up a little short. Most of the problems come with a lack of story detail. Understandably, Lado wants to centre the drama on Lazenby, but the audience gets almost no information regarding the official investigation beng conducted by Police Commissioner De Donato (Sandro Grinfan), not even the official cause of Elmi’s death. For a long while, the many facets of the mystery are pleasingly baffling. Boschero is surprisingly wealthy for an art dealer’s assistant; Quaglio knew the family of the previous victim, and Celi’s business dealings are obscure and suspect. But most of these matters are wrapped up in the hurried, almost sloppy, last few minutes, and the killer’s motivations are left vague and unaddressed.

This lack of a fully-realised scenario really hurts the film. There are even some elements that seem poorly conceived. Why open with the murder in the snowy French woods? Yes, it’s an impressive scene and establishes that we have a killer who targets young girls, but it’s never mentioned again. The previous murder linked to Elmi’s case that Lazenby investigates was of a different child in Venice, and that killing isn’t shown. Lazenby and the audience don’t find out all that much more about it anyway.

These flaws are frustrating because Lado manages some highly effective sequences. There’s strangulation from behind in the front row of a darkened cinema, a killing where birds are let loose from their cage by accident, the local children forming a circle around Elmi and singing her a creepy nursery rhyme about death. There’s also an impressive score from maestro Ennio Morricone that combines music with the wordless vocalisations of regular collaborator Edda Dell’Orso to a very unsettling effect. Lado also makes excellent use of some of the derelict locations. However, it’s fair to say that he can’t conjure up the city’s timeless, nightmarish quality evoked by director Nicolas Roeg for his iconic horror mystery ‘Don’t Look Now (1973).

Performances are strong across the board, too. However, Strindberg is under-used, and there isn’t enough time to explore the dynamics between her character and Lazenby’s less than committed artist. The father-daughter relationship is far more substantial, thanks to the natural screen chemistry between Lazenby and Elmi, which helps the audience invest in his subsequent investigation into her murder. The supporting cast is also up to the task, with Quaglio particularly notable as the seedy attorney.

Australian Lazenby was plucked from obscurity by producers Albert R Broccoli and Harry Saltzman to replace Sean Connery as Agent 007 in ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’ (1969). Despite failing to match the worldwide gross of some of the previous entries in the series, the film was a huge box-office hit, and it was intended for Lazenby to reprise the role. Unfortunately, his onset behaviour rankled Broccoli, and the actor was unhappy with his contract and unconvinced of the franchise’s long-term potential. A parting of the ways followed. Subsequently, Lazenby played the lead in Cy Endfield’s ‘Universal Solider’ (1971) before linking up with Lado in Venice. Afterwards, he mainly appeared on television, with the occasional big screen role such as Jim Kelly’s boss in Al Adamson’s low-budget martial-arts adventure ‘Death Dimension’ (1978). At the time of writing, he is filming zombie horror ‘Z Dead End’ (2023), playing the US President.

A solid Giallo with some highly admirable aspects, which unfortunately throw the story deficiencies into greater relief.

The Case of the Scorpion’s Tail/La coda dello scorpione (1971)

‘He must’ve been peeling a pear when his knife slipped.’

A faithless wife receives a million-dollar life insurance payout when her husband dies in a plane crash. Several people believe that she was somehow responsible and, when she goes to pick up the money in Athens, various mysterious characters start to close in…

After director Sergio Martino took his bow in the Giallo arena with ‘The Strange Vice of Mrs Wardh‘ (1971), it was less than eight months before he delivered his second entry. Also produced by brother Luciano, it again featured a writing team that included Eduardo Manzanos and genre leader Ernesto Gastaldi.

When a commercial airliner explodes mid-flight, the beautiful Lisa Baumer (Evelyn Stewart) isn’t too bothered when she finds out that her husband, Kurt (Fulvio Mingozzi), was on the passenger list. After all, it wasn’t that much of a marriage; he was constantly on the move because of business, leaving her alone in London to amuse herself with a string of lovers. In fact, there’s a considerable upside. A few months earlier, he’d taken out a million-dollar life insurance policy with her as the sole beneficiary.

However, newfound wealth comes with its own problems. Before leaving England, Stewart is stalked by one of her ex-playmates, who has an incriminating letter in which she wished her husband dead. Going to pay him off, she instead finds him dying in a pool of blood. Fleeing to Athens to collect the cash, she’s pursued by both insurance investigator Peter Lynch (George Hilton) and Interpol agent John Stanley (Alberto de Mendoza). If all that’s not bad enough, Mingozzi’s ex-lover Lara Florakis (Janine Reynaud) and her strongarm friend Sharif (Luis Barboo) want their share of the booty.

What follows is the tangled web of murder, mystery and misdirection typical of the sub-genre. Was the explosion on the plane an accident or sabotage? Who killed the blackmailer in London? Was Reynaud really Mingozzi’s lover? Is the businessman actually still alive? Does de Mendoza have a hidden agenda? Do Stewart and Hilton have a previous relationship, and does journalist Cléo Dupont (Anita Strindberg) have an ulterior motive in getting close to him? Question after question for Inspector Stavros (Luigi Pistilli) as the money disappears and the corpses begin piling up.

This is a quality Giallo, but with an impact slightly compromised by some structural and pacing issues. These were most probably caused by a hurried production. The original cut of the film ran short, and reshoots with Stewart took place in London. These scenes never fully integrate into the story and make for a rather extended first act. This means that Strindberg appears surprisingly late in proceedings, considering that she is a pivotal character and, at times, the drama does seem a little unfocused.

Nevertheless, the film has some definite virtues. On the technical side, we have wonderfully crisp cinematography from Emilio Foriscot, and Bruno Nicolai’s score is excellent. The director also ups the horror content with more explicit kills, even if the makeup effects leave a little to be desired on occasion. One of the murders proves to be the film’s outstanding sequence; another tour de force of editing, camerawork and direction that stands up to comparison with equivalent scenes in ‘The Strange Vice of Mrs Wardh’ (1971). It’s also pleasing to report that, despite some niggles with the story in hindsight, the writers conjure a logical and satisfying conclusion when the audience could be forgiven for thinking that such an outcome is looking unlikely.

Performances are solid, with a lot of the cast already experienced in this type of project, despite the Giallo not yet reaching its heyday. Hilton and de Mendoza return from ‘The Strange Vice of Mrs Wardh’ (1971), and the former appeared in ‘The Sweet Body of Deborah’ (1968) along with Stewart and Pistilli. Reynaud had starred in ‘Assassino senza volto/Killer Without A Face’ (1968) and ‘Run, Psycho, Run’ (1968), and Strindberg was a brief, but memorable, part of Lucio Fulci’s ‘A Lizard In A Woman’s Skin’ (1971). Almost the entire cast went on to further notable Gialli credits over the next few years.

The unwieldy structure holds the film back a little, but it’s still a highly enjoyable Giallo with memorable moments.

A Lizard In A Woman’s Skin/Una lucertola con la pelle di donna (1971)

‘Carol, there were no red-haired hippies in the park today.’

The daughter of an eminent politician dreams of having a lesbian affair with her promiscuous next-door neighbour, eventually stabbing her to death in a final nightmare. Then the police find the woman killed in just such a way after a drug-fuelled orgy in her apartment…

High-quality Giallo from director Lucio Fulci, who was one of the first to exploit the opportunity created by the international success of Dario Argento’s ‘The Bird with the Crystal Plumage’ (1969). It was probably inevitable as he’d already delivered the excellent Giallo ‘One On Top of the Other/Perversion Story’ (1969) before Argento’s breakthrough hit. This project would prove to be another winner.

Carol Hammond (Florinda Bolkan) is a troubled woman and feels abandoned by the men in her life. Father Leo Genn is a prominent barrister whose time is taken up with his move into politics, and husband Frank (Jean Sorel) is also focused on his career. To make matters worse, she’s tormented by dreams of neighbour Julia (Anita Strindberg), a tall, statuesque blonde whose wild parties and uninhibited lifestyle have earned the disapproval of all the other residents of Belgravia Square.

Bolkan’s fantasies of lesbian sex with Strindberg progress into a vision of murder, but analyst Dr Kerr (George Rigaud) takes this as a sign that she has overcome her repressed desires. Unfortunately, police inspector Corvin (Stanley Baker) is called to Strindberg’s apartment after she’s stabbed to death in precisely the same way. Bolkan’s fingerprints are on the weapon, but suspicion falls on other family members as Baker tries to solve the puzzle and apprehend the killer.

Fulci teamed with four other writers to thrash out the film’s complex screenplay, including Roberto Gianviti and José Luis Martínez Mollá, veterans of ‘One On Top of the Other/Perversion Story’ (1969). Nearly everyone becomes a viable murder suspect, including Sorel, who is playing away with Bolkan’s best friend Deborah (Silvia Monti) and his teenage daughter Joan (Ely Galleani), who may have read the notes Bolkan made about her dreams.

Matters are further complicated by two hippies; red-haired Hubert (Mike Kennedy) and knife-wielding artist Jenny (the excellent Penny Brown). They appeared as silent witnesses in Bolkan’s murder dream and seem to know more than they are telling about the night in question. After Bolkan is bailed and Baker comes to doubt her guilt, the investigation begins to focus on them, particularly after Kennedy pursues a frightened Bolkan into an empty church. This sequence is one of the film’s high points as our heroine takes refuge behind the pipe organ, gets attacked by bats and flees across the roof with Kennedy in hot pursuit. Cinematographer Luigi Kuveiller assists with some wonderfully contrasting lighting here, with Bolkan as much in danger in the bright sunlight as when she’s hidden in deep shadow. The excellent use of the London locations is enhanced by another masterful score from composer Ennio Morricone.

There are some other memorable set-pieces too, and even the more commonplace scenes are delivered with genuine panache. The work of Fulci’s technical team is excellent throughout, but it’s the combination of Bolkan and Fulci that truly delivers. The combination of the director’s restless camera and off-kilter visuals married to Bolkan’s commitment to the role allow the audience a doorway into the living nightmare of a neurotic woman on the edge of collapse. Screen veterans Baker and Genn provide the necessary grounding, and there’s a nice contrast between Baker’s virile charisma and Genn’s sly wit. Sadly, Sorel can’t do much with the philandering Frank, and Monti is somewhat wasted, although, like Strindberg, her finest hour in the Giallo was yet to come.

The film is also notable for its escalation within the Giallo of both nudity and gore. Argento’s debut had bloodless for the most part, and genre pioneer Mario Bava had generally employed heavy restraint in such matters. Here, the stabbing in Bolkan’s dream is pretty explicit, and there’s a notorious scene involving some disembowelled dogs at the clinic where Bolkan is sent to rest. Animal lovers are likely to find this scene genuinely upsetting, and its presence in the narrative makes no sense at all. The effects were so flawlessly executed that SFX technician Carlo Rambaldi had to produce the canine props to defend Fulci over accusations of animal cruelty.

Fulci directed two more examples of the Giallo: ‘Don’t Torture A Duckling’ (1972) and ‘The Psychic’ (1978). The former starred Bolkan, and both were written in collaboration with Gianviti. However, his lasting fame rests on the series of horrors he delivered during the early days of the video home rental boom. In the United Kingdom, titles such as ‘Zombie Flesh Eaters’ (1979), ‘City of the Living Dead (1980), ‘The Beyond’ (1981) and ‘The House By The Cemetery’ (1981) were targeted for heavy cuts and censorship during the ridiculous, media-created ‘Video Nasty’ circus. Kuveiller teamed with Fulci again on ‘The New York Ripper’ (1982) and was the cinematographer on Billy Wilder’s ‘Avanti!’ (1972) but it’s probably best celebrated for his work on Dario Argento’s ‘Deep Red’ (1975).

Bolkan was a Brazilian actor who was playing leading roles soon after debuting in all-star hippie romp ‘Candy’ (1968) with Richard Burton and Marlon Brando. She acted opposite Peter Falk and Britt Ekland in ‘Machine Gun McCain’ (1969), with Franco Nero in ‘Detective Belli’ (1969) and in Luchino Visconti’s acclaimed production of ‘The Damned’ (1969). That same year she won an Italian Golden Globe for her role in ‘Metti, una sera a cena/Love Circle’ (1969) and starred in Elio Petri’s Oscar-winning ‘Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion (1970). More acclaim followed throughout the decade, but her career slowed in the 1980s. However, she remained active in the local industry, writing, directing and starring in the feature film ‘I Didn’t Know Tururu’ (2000). She has also spoken of an alleged affair with US President John F Kennedy.

Although he fails to make much of an impression here, Sorel was almost a permanent fixture in Giallo. His credits include ‘The Sweet Body of Deborah’ (1968), ‘A Rather Complicated Girl (1969), ‘One On Top of the Other/Perversion Story’ (1969), ‘A Quiet Place To Kill’ (1970) and ‘Short Night of The Glass Dolls’ (1971), as well as finding time for a supporting role in Fred Zinnemann’s Oscar-nominated ‘The Day of The Jackal’ (1973).

Baker had been a mainstay of British cinema since the 1950s after his breakthrough role in ‘Captain Horatio Hornblower RN’ (1951). His intense personality found the perfect showcase in ‘Zulu’ (1964), a film he also co-produced. He died far too young in 1976. Genn brought poise and dignity to many authority figures on the screen from the 1930s onwards and was Oscar-nominated as Best Supporting Actor for ‘Quo Vadis’ (1952). He typically played Brigadiers, Generals, barristers and cabinet ministers over the years, but occasionally tackled something different, such as Starbuck in John Huston’s problematical ‘Moby Dick’ (1956).

An outstanding Giallo that brings together a complex, satisfying story with excellent filmmaking technique and a superb leading performance.