Archive for anita strindberg

THE CASE OF THE SCORPIONS TAIL (1971) – The Dungeon Review!

Posted in horror, Italy, movies with tags , , , , , , , on March 24, 2010 by goregirl

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


Posted in horror, Italy, movies with tags , , , on March 10, 2010 by goregirl

This is my first viewing of Sergio Martino’s ‘Your Vice Is A Locked Room And Only I have The Key’. The only other title I seen from Martino was ‘Torso’. I definitely need to check out more of Martino’s films! I will watch and review at least one more before the month is over. In the meantime, let me tell you about this little nugget with the ridiculously long name.

Oliviero Rouvigny is an author suffering from serious writers block. He is an abusive alcoholic in a loveless marriage to wife Irina and regularly seeks affection from other women. He arranges a rendezvous with a young woman working in a local bookstore. He learns from a police detective the next morning that the woman had been slashed to death. Suspicions run rampant and bodies begin to pile up. Oliviero’s life becomes even more complicated when a niece invites her self to stay with the unhappy couple.

‘Your Vice Is A Locked Room And Only I Have The Key’ is a twist on Edgar Allen Poe’s ‘The Black Cat’. The films strongest element is its incredible character development and performances by its three leads. ‘Your Vice’ is highly psychological and wallows in human cruelty. There is also a significant body count and a bit of the red stuff. The films weaker moments occur when it wanders off into territory that isn’t really relevant to the central plot. For instance, there is a lengthy motorcycle race scene that was really unnecessary. There is also a red herrings thrown in pertaining to the first two murders that I didn’t think worked all that well. It throws you off track, but it briefly messes with the films vibe. In the end however, these flaws felt pretty minor.

In the opening scene, Oliviero Rouvigny is hosting a party. He is going on yet another drunken rant about his dead mother. His wife Irina doesn’t feel like drinking, and in response Oliviero has the guests pour the remainder of their libations into a bowl, which he then forces her to drink. After Irina runs from the room he continues by making an unsavoury comment about their black maid. One of the guests starts singing and soon the room is singing along while a loan female dances naked on the dining table. The musical interlude scared the shit out of me; I thought I was about to watch the giallo version of ‘Hair’! Worry not; this is the films one and only musical interlude! The scene closes with Oliviero having sex with Irina on the floor while she wears his dead moms dress. So in the first brief scene we establish Oliviero has mom issues, he’s a bad host and an abusive drunk. But this is a Giallo, and all may not quite be as it appears. The relationship between Oliviero and Irina is impressively venomous and bitter. Their dialog and interactions are one of the films best features and they are a fascination to watch every minute they are on screen.

Anita Strindberg plays Irina nervous and twitchy and utterly distraught, while Luigi Pistilli plays the alcoholic and abusive husband somewhat reserved. The two play off each very well and carry the film beautifully. But as awesome as these two stand out performances are it is niece Floriana played by Edwige Fenech who steals the show. She invites herself to stay with the couple and seduces both Irina and Oliviero and plays them against each other. This sassy little minx owns the Floriana character and pulls off one of the most memorable performances I have ever seen in a giallo.

I thoroughly enjoyed ‘Your Vice Is A Locked Room And Only I have The Key’. It is a well-paced, moody, psychological head trip with a great score from Bruno Nicolai. The dialog is smart, biting and occasionally humorous and the outstanding character development really elevates this one! Viva Giallo! Highly recommended!

Dungeon Rating: 5/5

Directed By: Sergio Martino

Starring: Edwige Fenech, Anita Strindberg, Luigi Pistilli, Ivan Rassimov, Franco Nebbia, Riccardo Salvino, Angela La Vorgna, Enrica Bonaccorti, Daniela Giordano, Ermelinda De Felice, Marco Mariani, Nerina Montagnani