Monday, June 11, 2012


I’ve been hunting down these movies. It seems I’ve hit a pile where all of the titles of the word “Death”. For some reason I had assumed this meant that there would be a common thread, stylistic device or maybe even a few by the same director. After watching this hodge podge of films I can assure you that they are not related other than their inclusion on this list as gialli. We had a few choice cuts. Cat in the Brain is obvious. It’s Fulci, has one of the most memorable covers of any giallo film and is out and out beautiful gross. Death Walks on High Heels was also very entertaining. I won’t go as far as to say that it’s a great movie, but will at least embody some of the typical giallo stereotypes.

The title of this particular Giallo Challenge update is from the movie Brain Scan. There’s a scene where an after school horror club fronted by Eddie Furlong plays a movie called Death Death Death… part 2 before being shutdown by the principal. The movie and out and out gore-fest. It’s always stuck with me. With so many films with the title “Death” in it along with Cat in the Brain… seemed a natural fit. Anybody know if Death Death Death  or Death Death Death part 2 exist as real movies under alternate titles?

Here are the players:

DANGEROUS WOMEN –  Slow but refreshing. So many gialli seem to focus on the same set of characters playing stereotypes. That doesn’t save it from overacting or the extreme melodrama that sometimes leads to that “soap opera” feel. The ending is crisp. Some great synth music in this as well. It’s worth the watch, but would not break into my favorite list.

CRIMES AND PERFUME –  I watched this all in Italian which usually means I’m reading the synopsis elsewhere, trying to catch the few words I know in Italian and looking at the film from a visual perspective exclusively.  I assure you this is more of comedy/spoof than anything although not on that Pink Panther level. Loads of random sexual content on the TV, a large cat blow up doll and ventriloquists make this a strange watch. My overall impression: “This guy gets girls?”.

CROSS CURRENT –  This is my first ocean adventure giallo. It’s nice to see the new setting but it didn’t peak my interest. Boats…. More boats…. Organ music. Fin.

DEATH LAID AN EGG – Great acid jazz played on the guitar compliments a pretty fun watch. The intro is beautifully suggestive and I love a good plastic bag over the head. Strange repetitive visual techniques abound. I’m especially fond of “The Room of Truth” which appears to be the Italian version of seven minutes in heaven for adults that lasts waaaay more than seven minutes. Some nice tension and some gorgeous chicken art (you’ll have to see it to believe it).

DEATH OCCURRED LAST NIGHT – Sexy cars and sexy women do not a movie make. This one is a straight forward murder mystery with some funky music. Not much to see here.

DEATH ON THE FOUR POSTER – If it wasn’t for the typical mystery/thriller plot I’d almost want to boot this one off the list. There’s a lack of sensationalism; nothing stunning enough to make me think of our beloved “yellow” films. The version I watched was bad quality. Bland.

DEADLY INHERITANCE – Deadly Inheritance has a horror movie feel about it. Excellent, near Godfather music. It doesn’t last, and the movie falls apart quite quickly removing any of the eeriness that it manages to attain during the first thirty minutes.

CAT IN THE BRAIN – This one is going to be featured during our Italian Horror Week in July. It’s a Fulci classic with some damn fine poster art.  It’s gory with hints of H.G. Lewis. It’s beautiful I had forgotten that the alternate title was Nightmare Concert which seems to be just as accurate given the overwhelming pronouncement of classical tunes used to score this one. Fulci is fun wearing his iconic plaid hunters cap. The reference to his other work is priceless as is the flirtations with the Naziploitation subgenre. Meta Horror before it was in vogue. Keep an eye out for the boat near the end of the film. Dub her the S.S. Perversion.

DEATH KISS – This puppy is also known as the Rape Killer. There’s something outstanding about a movie with such a sensationalistic AKA. The movie goes from soap opera to rape in less than four seconds. The whole thing feels impossibly ordinary; nearly boring with a rape scene thrown in as an afterthought. I feel like I walked into a wall with the sheer abruptness of the ending. Enjoy the alt title. Avoid the movie.

DEATH CARRIES A CANE – I love the Cinitalia production company logo. It feels very Shaw Brothers. This movie has sex written all over it from the upskirt scene to the tight, tight jeans. I love realistic gore, but sometimes it’s more fun to see that extra super phony stuff. The razor cuts in this are like watching somebody in a workshop cutting sheets of peach latex. Thank goodness their beautiful razor blades. Some nice hotties. Some extra beautiful blood with perfect fake blood consistency (that means it doesn’t look real at all). Death Carries A Cane picks up all the stereotypes of your favorite gialli including a man in a black hate whose face you just can’t seem to see. I believe the alternate title for this one will be The Great Moustache Parade. Lots of sexy time which makes it perfect for those hard up individuals with Italo-fetishes.

DEATH FALLS LIGHTLY – Features psychedelic rock with loads of mystery back plot. Problem? It’s all in Italian so for me it’s like watching a Black Sabbath/Jimi Hendrix music video with actors talking over the ripped off music.  It’s got some hot sex scenes to entertain especially with the groovy tunes in the background. The “I just went swimming” post-sex look is intriguing, but I’m not sure I would call it sexy. It takes forever, but you’ll finally get a murder if you wait around long enough. Keep your eyes open for the Steven McQueen wannabe and ears open for the blatant rip off of Sabbath’s War Pigs.

DEATH KNOCKS TWICE - Yet another one that felt like a bad soap opera. I assure you that’s not the norm, but for this installment of You’ve Got Yellow on You it seems we’ve dug up some of the soapiest. Sexy smooth jazz complements the smutty True Crime flick. There’s an actor who looks remarkably like Face Man from the A-Team if you’re into a people watching. Big hair abounds, and it’s not even the 1980’s yet!

DEATH WALKS ON HIGH HEELS – I can assure you that you will not watch a movie that is more befitting of a fast and furious drinking game. There are lines about “shaking your ass” that demand you drink a sip of beer for every one. This is the sole reason to watch this film. There are a few hotties and an anonymous caller with an extra strange, throaty, raspy voice. The double bass musical accompaniment ain’t half bad. This masked killer uses a straight razor and plays on a few other standard giallo offerings. It’s long winded but the finale is worth it.  The whole thing is very Scooby Doo or Inspector Gadget.

-Dr. Terror

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