Friday, October 15, 2010


(Dario Piana, 1988)
This late 80's giallo, like so many before it, takes place in the seedy underbelly of the modeling world. Fresh-faced model Sylvia O'Neal is raped at a hot tub party and her charred corpse is later found behind the wheel of a wrecked car. She's soon replaced by new model Melanie Roberts, whose arrival in Milan heralds a killing spree centered on anyone connected to the night of Sylvia's assault.
For fear of incriminating themselves, the remaining girls refuse to cooperate with the police, who have little time to unmask the murderer before all are killed. There's no shortage of suspects as the agency is full of sleazy photographers, aggressive managers, and ruthless models.
Too Beautiful To Die is a stylish erotic thriller with beautifully composed scenes, beautiful girls, and beautiful murders. Director Dario Piana cleverly plays with viewers' expectations a few times, and even throws in a few nods to the work of Dario Argento with his focus on water, lighting, and fetishism of death. Some viewers may be a bit distracted by the numerous slow motion montages of girls frolicking, modeling, and whoring it up, but it does add to the sensuous feel of the film. The murders are eloquently executed, but not overly bloody.
Being of late 80's descent, TBTD does suffer from the usual charmingly dated synthpop soundtrack, so-so dubbing, huge hair and fashion, and use of antiquated technology. The early 3D imaging of a bullet hole in Sylvia's skull, which could more easily have been obtained with an x-ray, had me in stitches! One could easily make a drinking game of this and have a shot every time a computer screen makes an appearance. I'd actually recommend this to giallo fanatics, but it's not yet available on DVD or BluRay. Happy hunting!

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