Saturday, April 23, 2011

THE SCORPION WITH TWO TAILS aka Murder In An Etruscan Cemetery

(Sergio Martino, 1982)
Equal parts giallo, horror, fantasy, and crime drama, The Scorpion With Two Tails is one odd mishmash of a film. Joan Barnard (Elvira Audray) has recurring nightmares of being in a smoke-filled grotto and witnessing an ancient Etruscan sacrificial ceremony wherein the victims have their necks broken and their heads twisted completely around. She is also plagued by the maggot-filled omen of her husband Arthur`s (John Saxon) death.
Soon after, Arthur, an archaeologist excavating a newly discovered Etruscan tomb, is murdered and found with his head twisted backwards. Before dying, he informs Joan of the grotto with which she is already familiar, and she sets out to unmask her husband`s killer and the meaning of her dreams. To thicken the plot, Joan`s father is revealed to have been in some as-yet unfinished shady business with Arthur, and he intends to use Joan to lead him to a large cache of cocaine hidden in the grotto.
Despite the familiar cast and Fabio Frizzi score (some of which was borrowed from the City of the Living Dead soundtrack) TSWTT is an intensely boring film. As a horror film it fails, and despite the nifty head-twisting there is no gore at all. As a giallo it fails, as the deaths are supernatural and the requisite gore, sex, and sleaze are all absent. It fails as a crime drama, as there is too little action (and gore again!). As a fantasy film, it does work to a degree.
Horror and crime bits aside, it almost plays out like an overly-long game of Dungeons and Dragons. Most of the budget was obviously spent on dry ice and foam rock, giving it a foggy, dreamy feel at times, which is punctuated by the equally dreamy soundtrack. The problem with that is, since there is no action to speak of, many a viewer may nod off after the first 30 minutes. Not highly recommended, unless as hangover viewing on a Sunday afternoon. Buy it here.

No comments:

Post a Comment