(Carlos Aured, 1973)
Ok, Ok, so this giallo is actually Spanish, but it deserves a review of it's own as it's one of the few decent Spanish thrillers made in the wake of the genre's popularity, and it does contain all the essential giallo elements.
Gilles (Paul Naschy), a recently released ex-convict who dreams of murder, finds work as a caretaker for three beautiful, but unusal, sisters at their isolated home in the French countryside. And unusual they are. Claude, the makeshift head of the house, conceals a deformed hand. Nicole, the seemingly normal one, is actually an affection-starved nymphomaniac (poor Gilles!). Then there's wheelchair-bound Ivette, whose condition may only be in her head. Shortly after Gilles' arrival, a maniac in the traditional black attire begins murdering the local blonde women, and removing their blue eyes as a keepsake. Naturally, Gilles is the primary suspect, though there's more than a few others who are equally capable of such horrific acts.
This film does have it's share of detriments, namely the pacing and some of the music. There's no killing until the second half of the film, and the first half is little more than sex, knife fights, and other filler. These might have been made a bit more suspenseful or meaningful had the music been more appropriate, but alas, it's far too jolly for far too long. It reminded me of the same tune used in The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra; hardly frightening.
Come the second half, the patient viewer will be rewarded with the long-awaited bloody horror. The glaringly bright lighting grows dimmer, the camera angles become more skewed, and the music turns into the most sinister version of "Frere Jacques" one will ever hear! Oh yes, there's also a disturbing sequence in which a pig is slaughtered.
As previously stated, BEOTBD has all the trademark giallo elements: black leather gloves, groovy music, eroticism (though I could have done without seeing Naschy's spare tire and perky man-boobs), bright red gore, sadistic dream sequences, and a far-fetched (even for giallo) reveal at the end. I'd have to recommend it, Italian or not, if only for it's weird quotient.
8 months ago