THE CASE OF THE SCORPIONS TAIL (1971) – The Dungeon Review!
I’ve mentioned many times on this blog how much I love the films of the 1970’s. That is why I am completely mystified as to how I could have overlooked the films of Sergio Martino. ‘The Case of The Scorpion’s Tail’ is the second Martino directed film I’ve reviewed during Italian horror month and is another outstanding example of the mans work.
Lisa Baumer wastes no time cashing in her husbands million-dollar insurance policy after he dies in a plane accident. Insurance agent Peter Lynch is sent to investigate the case. Bodies begin piling up and the million-dollar bootie goes missing. Ambitious reporter Cleo Dupont hooks up with Peter and together they try to solve the puzzle.
The film opens with a couple having sex; during which we are shown flashes of an airplane flying and then exploding in mid-air. I found it really entertaining that the first piece of the puzzle does double duty as a visual for an orgasm. The airplane shots were created using a model airplane on a string and that’s exactly what it looked like. It was so damn cheesy I couldn’t help but be charmed. ‘The Case of The Scorpions Tale’ has a deliciously convoluted plot full of red herrings, violence and numerous suspects with twists and turns that keep you guessing. You are well rewarded with a dramatic reveal and an excellent chase sequence. The chase really is superb but Martino cuts it short in a rather blunt manner. It’s a minor detail but I would have liked to see this scene extended. A great plot is complimented by stylish and inventive photography, fantastic set pieces, and beautiful outdoor scenery. It is all set to an excellent score from Bruno Nicolai. Topping it all off are top-notch performances from Martino regulars Anita Strindberg and George Hilton. The two actors have amazing chemistry together. The stunning strindberg is perfect as the intelligent and confident reporter Cleo Dupont. Hilton is excellent playing charming insurance man Peter Lynch.
There’s a decent body count, a bit of the red stuff and some beautifully staged kills. My favourite was a woman whose throat is cut as she is approaching a sliding glass door. The blood sprays all over the door, she falls forward and her face meets glass. Martino shows this from the other side of the door so we can see her face squished against the bloody glass surface contorting as it slides slowly down. This is accompanied by the squeaking sound you hear when you wash your windows. Great stuff! Although ‘Case of the Scorpion’s Tail’ certainly wouldn’t qualify as gory, its scenes of violence are very effective.
‘Case Of The Scorpion’s Tail’ is an amazing film with all the classic Giallo elements served up with flare and style by one of my new favourite masters of the genre. I’m thinking the Sergio Martino Collection might be a DVD box set worth owning. The NO SHAME dvd I rented had a nifty short documentary on the making of the film featuring director Sergio Martino, screenwriter Ernesto Gastaldi and actor George Hilton, not to mention a flawless transfer of the film. Pure 70’s Giallo gold! Highly recommended!
Dungeon Rating: 5/5
Directed By: Sergio Martino
Starring: George Hilton, Anita Strindberg, Alberto de Mendoza, Ida Galli, Janine Reynaud, Luigi Pistilli, Tom Felleghy, Luis Barboo