Jan 022012
 

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HCF may be one of the newest voices on the web for all things Horror and Cult, and while our aim is to bring you our best opinion of all the new and strange that hits the market, we still can not forget about our old loves, the films that made us want to create the website to spread the word.  So, now and again our official critics at the HCF headquarters have an urge to throw aside their new required copies of the week and dust down their old collection and bring them to the fore….our aim, to make sure that you may have not missed the films that should be stood proud in your collection. In the first of two Rewinds this week, Dr Lenera reviews an example of Italian giallo filmmaking at its tackiest!

HCF REWIND NO.30. STRIP NUDE FOR YOUR KILER [1975]

AVAILABLE ON DVD and Blu Ray

DIRECTED BY: Andrea Bianchi

WRITTEN BY: Massimo Felisatta, Andrea Bianchi

STARRING: Edwige Fenech, Nino Castelnuovo, Femi Banussi, Solvi Stubbing

RUNNING TIME: 96 mins

REVIEWED BY: Dr Lenera, Official HCF Critic

 

 An abortion goes wrong and the patient, a fashion model, dies of cardiac arrest.  The doctor rings photographer Carlo for help and the two men haul the girl’s body across town and put it in her bathtub, thereby making it look like she died at home.  As he is returning home though, the doctor is stabbed to death by a leather-clad figure wearing a motorcycle helmet.  The next day, Carlo meets pretty Lucia Cerrazini at a health club and takes her to his work place, Albatross Studios, where he seduces her.  The Studios appear to be a tangled web of sexual intrigue, but more killings occur, first of Maria the gay photographer who recognises the killer before he/she kills her, then of Lucia………….

With titles like The Iguana With The Tongue Of Fire, Your Vice Is A Locked Room And Only I Have The Key and The Killer Has Reserved Nine Seats, the giallo [the subgenre of brutal, sleazy Italian murder mysteries popularized by Dario Argento] would seem to almost be required to sport a crazy name, and some of these names were almost poetic in their strangeness.  Strip Nude For Your Killer, though, is as direct a name as you could imagine, almost beautifully simple and direct, and some might say it could serve as a symbolic name for the whole genre, which has been criticised for being very sexist and doting on lovely women being menaced and murdered.  Well, I’m not going to spend much time answering that, as this review is mostly concerned with one particular film, except to say that women being in peril has always been a staple of the horror genre, partly I suppose because one is usually more afraid of a female being in danger than a man.  Strip Nude For Your Killer is perfectly named, being as sleazy and trashy as you might expect.  It’s not actually especially good, and those expecting the artistry of an Argento, Fulci or even a Sergio Martino film will probably be disappointed, but it’s quite enjoyable as long as you’re not bothered by rampant sexism!  Directed on a low budget by exploitation hack Andrea Bianchi, who is probably best known for the ludicrous zombie horror Burial Ground [aka Nights  Of Terror], it didn’t get of much of a release outside Italy, though as usual some prints made it to Grindhouse theatres in the US.

With the opening shot consisting of the back of a man’s head looking at a woman’s crotch, you can’t say that this movie doesn’t let you know what you are in for, especially as this is followed with the botched abortion, though perhaps thankfully it’s not shown in much detail.  For much of the rest of its running time, we alternate between various members of the Albatross Studio trying it on and sleeping with each other, and the killings.  Our ‘hero’ Carlo has already been seen moving a dead body, but is more properly introduced to us picking up Lucia.  This sleazeball takes her to his studio to supposedly photograph her in the nude but within minutes has persuaded her to have sex with him.  A few minutes later he’s in bed with another model, Gisella, who stays with him even though he shows a liking for strangulation, though she’s also sleeping with Lucia, and don’t forget that Giselle’s rather overweight husband Maurizio, who also has a rubber doll, almost rapes our ‘heroine’ Magda until she consents to sex, whereupon he can’t ‘get it up’.  No, PC this movie certainly isn’t, though it’s so over the top that I don’t think it can be considered offensive, and none of the men are portrayed in a very good light anyway, so perhaps the movie is attempting to seriously depict how women are exploited in the fashion industry.  Or, considering that the women are all dumb tarts who can’t wait to take their clothes off and the movie ends on an anal sex joke, maybe not, unless you take it as being ironic!

The murders are rather feeble and poorly staged, consisting of very quick, barely-seen stabbings followed by shots of mutilated bodies.  However, some of the build ups to them are very well done indeed, with some very tense sequences of victims-to-be alone, about to be attacked, especially one in a photography studio which makes good use of silence, really putting you on edge.  Bianchi shows some skill with these scenes, as well as during a foot pursuit where we only see the people’s feet and a through-the-windscreen dash across town, while the second half moves very swiftly indeed.  Sadly the plot constructed by Bianchi and co-writer Massimo Felisatta [a giallo veteran] and indeed many of its ingredients are cribbed from earlier giallos, such as its setting and whole milieu from Blood And Black Lace, its abortion revenge plot from What Have They Done To Solange?, and its killer from What Have They Done To Your Daughters?, though here his presence is usually announced by what sounds like a knife being scraped on wood and much Darth Vader-like heavy breathing.  Some may find the lack of likeable characters annoying, or indeed intelligent characters; as usual in these movies, the police are total idiots.

Nino Castelnuovo [The Umbrellas Of Cherbourg] strives to make Carlo as likeable as he can [he fails with dignity] and Edwige Fenech, who appeared in several films of this nature and turned up in Hostel 2 still looking good, has her usual considerable grace despite the sordidness of her surroundings, making it a shame that she never did much outside of Italian comedies and thrillers.  The acting overall is okay, but sadly the English language dub is atrocious, with some of the lines important to the development of the mystery making little sense or just being very funny.  Gisella tells the Inspector about one of the victims. “[He] gave the impression of not being at all interested in women,” something she’s clearly worked out from his failure to hit on any of the models.  The Inspector looks shocked and offended and says “he was a homosexual?”   Berta Pisano contributes a reasonable score with a great main title theme, all 70s funk and Ennio Morricone-like wordless female vocals, though you may get tired of hearing the same pieces played over and over again whenever characters are in a room, however pleasant they might be.  Strip Nude For Your Killer can hardly be called a quality film overall, but is certainly okay entertainment if you’re an easily pleased male who just wants to see lots of boobs and blood.  Which, at certain times, probably means most of us [males].  And, before you ask, yes; the obligatory bottle of J and B whisky is present and correct!

Rating: ★★★★★½☆☆☆☆

 

 

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