Archive for carlo alighiero

THE CAT O’ NINE TAILS (1971) – The Dungeon Photo Review!

Posted in horror, Italy, movies with tags , , , , , , , on June 3, 2012 by goregirl

I’ve never been quite clear on when to use “Gialli” and when to use “Giallo” so I always lean towards the lingo ending with an “o” because it just sounds more delicious. Giallo, like any genre comes in many shapes and sizes. Most people think horror when they think Giallo, but by no means is that the case. There are plenty of Giallo that are just straight up thrillers, and Dario Argento’s The Cat O’ Nine Tails would fall under that category. I suppose if you are a fan of Argento and have seen few Giallo from other directors this particular entry may not resonate. It does not have the elaborately staged death sequences, and the dizzyingly beautiful and inventive camerawork of Argento’s later films but it most definitely has its assets. For starters it has a nicely laid out plot with some great twists and has one of the more coherent stories Argento has penned. It has a great finale too. I absolutely loved Karl Malden here as blind enigmatographer Franco Arno and his interaction with his little niece is absolutely charming. Handsome and macho James Franciscus plays reporter Carlo Giodani and what can I say? I like Franciscus; he is one of those manly Italian dudes I just find appealing. A bit of a strange pairing I suppose but it worked. Catherine Spaak, the films central female character Anna Terzi is strong and confident and she sure knows how to wear a pantsuit! The Cat O’ Nine Tails is not without its weaknesses however. There is some humour, and Argento is just bad at humour. I’ve found any time he has tried to use humour it generally falls flat. Fortunately these moments are few so it does not stain the overall effect much. The film does run a smidge too long also. The Cat O’ Nine Tails may not have those characteristics attributed to Argento’s better known work; it is nonetheless well-filmed with some creative shots. The death by train, crypt and elevator shaft scenes are particularly memorable. And of course it must be mentioned that Ennio Morricone’s fantastic soundtrack is scrumptious accompaniment. Strangely Argento cites The Cat O’ Nine Tails as his least favourite of his films. With all due respect (Argento has directed some of my favourite horror films of all time), this comment boggles my mind, as the man made some pretty crummy stuff after the 80s. The Cat O’ Nine Tails is not perfect, but I found it to be a very entertaining and engaging thriller.

An unfortunate guard at the Medical Research Institute

The killer lurks about the Institute’s empty halls.

Reporter Carlo Giodani meets blind enigmatographer Franco Arno after knocking the cane from his hand.

Anna Terzi catches the eye of Giodani as she enters the Institutes lobby.

One of the Institutes researchers stops a train with his face.

Arno’s niece reads him the headline from the paper and realizes a conversation he overheard the previous evening may be connected to the “accident”.

Arno goes to see Giodani and tells him about the conversation he overheard.

Giodani meets Anna Terzi. Sexy Anna not only rocks a pantsuit she drives like Mario Andretti.

The killer sends a limerick to Arno. “There once was an enigmatographer, who along with a nosey reporter, decided to pry, into why people die, making their own lives somewhat shorter.”

Giodani questions the researchers who are working on a project examining the variations of the chromosomes XYY which apparently indicate criminal tendencies.

Anna Terzi stops by Giodani’s for a different sort of interrogation.

A former lover of one of the researchers gives Giodani a tip.

Giodani and Arno go to the crypt of one of the victims in hopes of finding a clue hidden inside a piece of jewelry.

Giodani gets locked inside the crypt briefly. That’s what you get for making a blind guy your lookout!

Arno comes back to the crypt looking shaken and freaks Giodani out.

Arno’s niece gets dragged into the mess.

Giodani and Arno accompanied by the police at the Institute.

Elevator shafts are dangerous.

Dungeon Rating: 3.5/5

Directed By: Dario Argento

Starring: James Franciscus, Karl Malden, Catherine Spaak, Pier Paolo Capponi, Horst Frank, Rada Rassimov, Aldo Reggiani, Carlo Alighiero

THE STRANGE VICE OF MRS. WARDH (1971) – The Dungeon Review!

Posted in horror, Italy, movies with tags , , , , , , , , on May 17, 2010 by goregirl

I ended up watching The Strange Vice Of Mrs. Wardh on the last day of Italian horror month and didn’t get a review done. Since a month had passed, I decided I should watch it again. Despite knowing how it ends I actually enjoyed this film even more the second time around. Edwige Fenech may be the greatest female star of Giallo ever! This has been my favourite entry from Sergio Martino so far. It has all the elements that make these films so appealing to me; sex, sleaze and violence and Fenech is the cherry on top!

The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh opens with a prostitute getting into a car and being slashed to death by an unknown assailant. We then meet Neil and Julie Wardh as they arrive at the airport after a business trip to the US. Neil goes off to do some business sending Julie home by cab on her own. The cab is stopped on route by a cop and the driver and Julie are asked to hand over identification. It is revealed that a serial killer has been terrorizing the area and another woman’s body has just been found. As the cab continues on to Julie’s destination she has a flashback that reveals what her titular strange vice is. Apparently Julie likes her sex rough and bloody. Although this excites her in the moment she is also completely repulsed by this dark side of herself. In order to put this past behind her she has married Neil Wardh but her ex-lover is still obsessed with her. When a third man, the cousin of a close friend shows interest, she can’t seem to help herself. Julie has problems! Julie Wardh is a woman conflicted. She has an air of self-importance but also a serious self-loathing. The sight of blood excites and repulses her and she completely falls apart, breaking down completely and fainting in men’s arms. I wondered often if things could possibly end well for Julie Wardh.

Unlike her role in Your Vice Is A Locked Room and Only I have the Key where Edwige Fenech plays a confident, cheeky little minx, in this one she is definitely the woman in peril. Unlike many of her peers playing the victim, she never strikes me as an air-headed ditz. As always she gives an intriguing and memorable performance. Fenech is the cat’s ass! She gets some pretty solid support too. Martino regulars Ivan Rassimov and George Hilton are two of the men in Julie’s life. Rassimov, the man of a thousand hair don’ts always brings a sleazy charm to his roles. He plays Jean, Julie’s ex-lover, fellow vicer and giver of roses with creepy notes. Hilton plays the new lover, handsome cousin of her best friend Carol. That Coppertone tan, sideburns and swaggering confidence screams of the decade! This is the first I can recall seeing of Conchita Airoldi who plays Carol. Airoldi plays Carol as a hideously bitchy socialite type with a rather glib sense of humour. Finally Alberto de Mendoza who plays Julie’s hubby Neil Wardh gets a bit overshadowed by the bigger personalities here. Mendoza is seemingly the older and wiser of the players but acts as a pretty good leveller.

This is a pretty meaty film for the very early 70’s. In the first 15 minutes we see a woman slashed with a razor, Fenech naked and slapped around until she’s bleeding from the mouth and two women ripping the dresses off of each other at a party. Missing in The Strange Vice Of Mrs. Wardh is the dramatic drawn out classic chase and kill scene. The films serial killer makes pretty quick work of the ladies he slashes to death. Truth be told, the violence isn’t very graphic and certainly there are other Giallo that offer more in this regard. But what it might lack here it makes up for in so many other ways! There are almost as many red herrings as there are boobs and there is a twist ending, and then another twist and yet another! An unholy trinity of twists that was as satisfying as cold beer in a frosty glass on a sizzling hot day. There are absolutely amazing location shots in both Italy and Spain and kick ass sets and set pieces. The Wardh’s apartment with its spaceship doors and obnoxiously busy wallpaper is swingingly seventieslicous! Martino’s stylish filming and care for detail shines as bright as chrome. Amazing shots like Jean smashing a wine bottle that shatters and flies through the air onto Julie’s naked body; the two fucking as the broken fragments lacerate their flesh and blood trickles from their wounds is a thing of lavishly kinky beauty.

The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh is a perfect example of all the reasons I love Giallo and all things 1970’s. My highest of recommendations!

Dungeon Rating: 5/5

Directed By: Sergio Martino

Starring: George Hilton, Edwige Fenech, Conchita Airoldi, Manuel Gil, Carlo Alighiero, Ivan Rassimov, Alberto de Mendoza, Bruno Corazzari