(Francesco Barilli, 1974)
WOW. Where to begin? This is one of the best gialli the genre has to offer. The fine performances, stunning camerawork, and intriguing and well-paced story add up to a satisfying viewing experience. Mimsy Farmer plays Silvia, a woman haunted by memories of childhood trauma. Her life is falling apart recently. Something else sinister seems to be plaguing her as well; little snippets of her childhood keep appearing, as does the reflection of her dead mother in a mirror, and eventually a visitation from the little girl Silvia herself. Is Silvia going mad? Is her mother trying to warn her? Who can she trust?
The Perfume of the Lady in Black is a perfect example of how less is more. It has atmosphere to spare, and doesn't rely on shocks or cheap scares to get under your skin. Something evil is definitely going on, but we are never quite sure what it is. Paranoia and dread build to a wonderful climax, and the ending actually IS quite a bit of a shock! Barilli took his time with this film, and it shows. No shot is wasted, every frame is beautifully composed and artfully lit.
Recommended for fans of giallo and anyone who liked Rosemary's Baby, which was obviously the inspiration for this film. Ten out of Ten. Trailer here.
8 months ago