August 23, 2017

A Giallo Month Quick Review: Amuck (1972)

"A true showcase on just how gorgeous Barbara Bouchet is."

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0068206/
After seeing Barbara Bouchet in The Red Queen Kills Seven Times and Don't Torture a Ducking, we decided to check out Amuck, because come on, she's frigging gorgeous, and if she's going to be in another Giallo, then why would we not watch it?

Principles, people. You've got to have them.

And let it be known that while Amuck does contain plenty of the elements that make the typical Giallo film a Giallo, that they're sparse enough that it actually plays more like an erotic thriller than it does a typical Giallo. For that reason, we're giving the the Picturebook Review treatment.

If you're expecting an Argento-level experience here, you may well be disappointed.

The story of Amuck revolves around a hot chick named Greta who heads to a sex mansion to find out what happened to her lesbian lover who disappeared. Everyone gets naked, a few people get killed, and there's a rapey gardener who just might be a homicidal mongoloid in heat. 

GRETA ARRIVES AT FINGERBANG MANOR.
SHE'S NOT FOOLED BY ANYONE'S SMOOTH TALK. SHE WILL DISCOVER THE TRUTH!
IT SOON BECOMES APPARENT THAT FINGERBANG MANOR HOLDS MORE DANGER THAN SHE ANTICIPATED.
NEVER FEAR THOUGH, THE BEAUTIFUL ELEANORA IS THERE TO ROOFIE HER TROUBLES AWAY...
AND KISS THEM AWAY...
AND SCISSOR THEM AWAY...
FLASHBACK: NEVER SO DIRTY, NEVER SO CLEAN.
GRETA AVOIDS ANOTHER NEAR-RAPE/MURDER.
A LOT OF THIS MOVIE IS BARBARA BOUCHET STARING OFF INTO SPACE, AND WE HAVE NO PROBLEM WITH THAT.
HOW'S THAT NEW ANNE MURRAY ALBUM WORKING OUT FOR YOU?
NOTHING GOOD CAN COME OF THIS.
SHE'S TRAPPED IN A QUAGMIRE OF DECEIT AND REPRESSED SEXUALITY.
CAN SHE HANDLE THE TRUTH?
...BECAUSE SHE COULDN'T.
"WHY AREN'T YOU LOOKING AT MY BIKINI?"
THAT'S A WEIRD WAY TO SLEEP.
SHE COULD HAVE GOTTEN ON THAT TRAIN...
...BUT THEN SHE'D MISS ALL OF THE ROMANCE.
IT ALWAYS ENDS IN TEARS, DOESN'T IT?
It might not be the best Giallo that we've ever seen, but Amuck is worth the price of admission just to see Barbara Bouchet and Rosalba Neri in the same movie together. It's got FAR more nudity on display than it does gore, so someone looking for a hardcore Giallo flick might not feel satisfied here. The Blu-ray by 88 Films makes the film watchable in truly gorgeous fashion though, so if you're in the mood for some old school Italian eroticism, then you've hit the visual jackpot.

It's a fun flick, and this is the best that the film has ever looked on disc, bar none. Plus, Barbara Bouchet is captivating to watch, in any kind of movie.

C+

Amuck is available on Import Blu-ray.

http://amzn.to/2wz096k

Barbara Bouchet, Rosalba Neri, and Patrizia Viotti.

August 19, 2017

Giallo Month Review: The Red Queen Kills Seven Times (1972)

"Giallo, Gothic style."

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0068444/
Now here's a Giallo that gives us plenty of the things that made the sub-genre so brilliant back in the day while adding a decidedly Gothic bent to the proceedings, making it a bit of a unique effort. It also throws in a bit of supernatural mystery which makes it even more compelling.

It's really too bad that director Emilio Miraglia only made two Giallo movies in his very short career -this one, and the equally compelling The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave- because they guy had a knack for it.

Odd how both movies center around a girl named Evelyn too...

We begin with young Kitty Wildenbruck innocently playing with her doll when her sister Evelyn steals it and runs off. They end up in their grandfathers study, where Evelyn becomes possessed by a painting, and proceeds to repeatedly stab the doll and ripping it's head off. Then Kitty loses her shit and starts to beat her sister's ass, which prompts Evelyn to reach for the knife to stab her like she did the doll, until grandpa does the rollover with his wheelchair and breaks the two up. Keep in mind that these are 8 year old girls.

WHAT A LITTLE JOY SHE IS.
He then explains to them that the Wildenbruck family has been cursed for centuries by the legend of the Red and Black Queens. They were sisters who hated each other with a passion, so when The Red Queen fell in love and married, The Black Queen would have none of that shit, and stabbed her to death, seven times (seven stabs, because you can't really stab someone to death seven separate times.) Because of this, every hundred years, The Red Queen returns to take her revenge by killing seven people in the family, because this is Italian Horror, and why not?

TO GET THE GIRLS TO STOP TRYING TO KILL ONE ANOTHER, GRANDPAPPY TELLS THEM A TERRIFYING STORY ABUT TWO SISTERS WHO HATED EACH OTHER SO MUCH THAT IT DROVE THEM TO MURDER.
14 years later, Kitty has grown up to be a foxy scoop of gelato who is also a successful photographer. After a mysterious woman in red gives her Grandpa a heart attack, memories of Evelyn and the whole Red Queen thing comes flooding back to her... in the form of people dying all around her.

ITALIAN FOREPLAY.
There's a lot more to the plot that I don't want to spoil for you here, but suffice it to say that the Wildenbruck family has issues, Kitty's boyfriend is a sleazy playboy who bangs just about every woman in the movie, and there's a greasy raper skulking around who wants lots of money and some of Kitty's kitty.

Giallo goodness ensues.

THE RED QUEEN, IN MID-KILL.
A Giallo with a Gorhic Horror flair, TRQK7T is a solid entry into the Gialli pantheon. It's not as heavy on the sexuality as many other films of its kind are, and it wasn't quite as gory as we'd imagined it would be, but overall, this is a pretty enjoyable movie that dazzles with its gorgeous locales, striking cinematography, and the type of atmosphere that Italian Horror flicks from the days of yore could deliver like no other. The score is a standout too.

As per usual for a Giallo, the film's plot is confusing and changes gears in odd ways throughout its overly-convoluted narrative, and will make you say "what the hell?" more than a few times... but that's the beauty of the Giallo, isn't it? Part of the sub-genre's genuine charm comes from the silly plots, overacting, and crazy shit that they offer up in an absolutely serious way.

And can we take a second to acknowledge that not only is Barbara Bouchet smoking hot, but she has genuine talent that would have made her a superstar had she gone the Hollywood route. Good lord is she sexy, and those eyes... expressive on a level all their own.

ONE OF THE GREATS.
I don't know which is harder to accept: the fact that she's wearing that hat un-ironically, or the fact that the massive white box on the table that looks like a computer is an answering machine.

LIFE IN THE 70'S WAS ROUGH.
10% less convoluted plot and 20% more exploitational visuals would have made this Giallo top-tier.

MORE OF THIS. ALWAYS MORE OF THIS.
As per usual with Giallo movies, this one was full of some weird shit.

  • That bats that flapped around people's head without anyone seeing to notice.
  • The random rape scene that happens out of nowhere, cuts away quick, returns to find a distraught Barbara Bouchet in hysterics in a bloodied (WTF?) room, and then is completely forgotten about in short order as things go right back to normal.
  • And where was the third sister, Franziska when they were kids? She's not in the flashback, but she shows up in present day like she's been there the whole time. And for that matter, where are the girls' parents? They're nowhere to be seen, so if the third sister came later, who did she come from?

WHERE THE HELL DID SHE EVEN COME FROM?
This one delivers the goods, with an impressive impaling, the van scene, a car drag, and a head being bashed against some rocks are standout moments.

THIS IS WHY GIRLS SHOULD AVOID GOING ANYWHERE NEAR VANS.
Sybil Danning (who we didn't even recognize) gets naked in this one, and Barbara Bouchet suffers a sexual attack that leaves her naked and afraid.

DON'T WORRY, SHE'LL BE OVER THIS IN LIKE 2O MINUTES.
Gialli are so wonderful to experience because they're stylish as hell, they tend to offer up plenty of gore and tawdry sexuality, and they have atmosphere to spare. TRQK7T is one of the better offerings in the sub-genre, giving us a great heroine to root for, some cool deaths, and some truly "out there" moments to savor.

It's not exactly top-tier, but add this one to your list.

B

The Red Queen Kills Seven Times is available now on Blu-ray, DVD, and VOD. It's on Shudder as well.

http://amzn.to/2v11nH6

The incomparable Barbara Bouchet; a very young Sybil Danning; and the lovely Marina Malfatti, who passed away in 2016.