Dec 152015
 

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what-have-you-done-to-solange

WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO SOLANGE? (1972)
Directed by Massimo Dallamano

After spending time with his young mistress, student Elizabeth, along the riverbank, gym teacher Enrico Rosseni is shocked to discover that one of his students at the all girls Catholic school he works at has been murdered near to where they spent their afternoon. With Elizabeth claiming at the time to have seen a figure in the bushes with a knife, Enrico (Fabio Testi) realises that she could have vital evidence but if she goes to the police, his job, his marriage and his life would be ruined. The murder is thought to be an isolated incident that is until terror strikes again and another one of Enrico’s students is killed in exactly the same fashion. Becoming the prime suspect, Enrico must try to find the reason behind the slaughter of his schoolgirls to both clear his name and to discover the culprit before any more of them are killed.

Italian giallo movie WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO SOLANGE? starts as it means to go on with a brutal display in the first five minutes. This horrific scene is only a mere glimpse but is enough to shock both the viewer and lead female character Elizabeth as her lover Enrico attempts to fondle her in a rowing boat. The full scale of the attack is shown a little later but is so traumatic to see that it lingers in your mind until the next attack. This cruel, painful death, which suggests the culprit has a particular fixation, causes a sense of urgency for those to solve within the Catholic Girls School where Enrico, Elizabeth and the victim all attend. The school becomes the hub for all the social activity and where the culprit may be roaming to find his next victim. Completely in the dark, much like teacher Enrico, the viewer must unravel the motive and the mystery along the way.

In many ways, WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO SOLANGE? is a coming of age and sexuality film with its main characters in the next-to-last year of their school, a time when hormones are raging and boys are on their mind. The girls are eager to explore their sexuality and with a mainly male staff roster, teachers other than Enrico could be interested too judging from the peephole in the shower room. The film is not merely an excuse for schoolgirls to get their kit off though. The way in which they are killed, a knife penetrating their genitalia, suggests some sexual motive behind the murders. It’s no surprise that handsome Enrico becomes the main suspect after a long affair with student Elizabeth and his penchant for walking around the school with his gym shirt half undone to reveal his hairy chest. Despite his relationship with his student, there’s plenty he doesn’t know about the girls and what they get up to outside of school. Being two individuals of diffeent generations, the mindset of Enrico and Elizabeth and her friends seem to be worlds apart.

WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO SOLANGE? is a very stylish movie in its own right. It might not use the bold colours synonymous with Dario Argento’s work but it has striking use of setting, in this case London, with interesting characters and the shocking murders themselves. Out of giallo movies I’ve seen, this particular film is one of the better ones with a gripping plot and well-paced execution. There are a few holes here and there but if you overlook these the film is quite a strong piece of cinema.

Arrow Video have released WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO SOLANGE? in dual format with a 2k restoration, from the original camera negative, high definition transfer on Blu-Ray accompanied by the choice of English or Italian mono audio. The special features include a video essay on the Schoolgirls in Peril trilogy and two interviews, one with former stuntman Fabio Testi who plays Enrico and one with Karin Baal who plays Enrico’s wife, school teacher Herta, both of whom have opposing opinions on how the shoot went down. There’s also an interview with producer Fulvio Lucisano and commentary from FrightFest’s Alan Jones and critic Kim Newman. The dual format release is packaged with a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Malleus and a collector’s booklet featuring new writings on the film, an interview with star Camille Keaton, who went on to play the lead in I Spit On Your Grave, and archived photos and posters.

Fans of giallo cinema must add this fantastic release to their collection with WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO SOLANGE? a fantastic example of the genre, complete with a score by Ennio Morricone.

Rating: ★★★★★★★½☆☆

Bat

BatI love prosthetic effects, stop-motion animation and gore, but most of all I love a good story! I adore B-movies and exploitation films in many of their guises and also have a soft spot for creature features. I review a wide range of media including movies, TV series, books and videogames. I'm a massive fan of author Hunter S. Thompson and I enjoy various genre of videogames with Kingdom Hearts and Harvest Moon two of my all time favs. Currently playing: Silent Hill

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