Horrorfest 2022 Presents: Le foto proibite di una signora per bene/ Forbidden Photos of a Lady Above Suspicion (1970, Luciano Ercoli)

Luciano Ercoli’s Forbidden Photos of a Lady Above Suspicion was definitely inspired by Alfred Hitchcock movies, and that’s fine. If you’re going to copy or borrow, do so from the best. I enjoyed this one quite a bit, as it is half giallo, half bleak porno where the main character, Dagmar Lassander’s Minou, is trapped in a web of blackmail and betrayal. She also fears being killed by her blackmailer, portrayed with slimy menace by Simon Andreu.

Susan Scott is also lively as Minou’s best friend, Dominique. There is a fantastically creepy rain scene involving a glass window is pure giallo, and some plot elements would easily be at home in any Hitchcock or modern day thriller. The sexual violence and uneasy aspects of what happens helped form the basis for later, more extreme giallos as well. I also am amused and pleased that Ennio Morricone also did the score for this, as he was a mighty busy fellow his entire career. What a legend.

Horrorfest 2022 Presents: Who Saw Her Die? (1972, Aldo Lado)

The 1972 movie Who Saw Her Die? is mostly a slow burn giallo with a great creepy Ennio Morricone score that improves the movie. The film does have a good cast: George Lazenby, Anita Strindberg, and Adolfo Celi, all who elevate some dull material. I liked this movie, however I was expecting something a bit more exciting than what happened onscreen. Still Aldo Lane does his best, and this is a fairly solid effort.

If you can’t handle kids dying in a horror movie, perhaps you should skip this one. I think along with the much better Don’t Look Now it offers a window into 1970s Venice, a time and place I never got to experience. Half of this movie is a drama, the other a horror thriller that keeps you guessing, which is part of the fun of giallos. Lazenby is really good in this movie, at least a lot better than he was as James Bond. Props to the movie for making me actually have to figure out who the killer might be, too. Check it out.

Horrorfest 2018 Presents: The Black Belly Of The Tarantula (1971, Paolo Cavara)

Giancarlo Giannini is a legend in his own right, and starred in a movie featuring several Bond actresses and a score from Ennio Morricone, one of the greatest composers of all time. This movie is called The Black Belly of the Tarantula, a really good giallo despite the fact that l guessed the killer in the first couple of minutes. However I do not hold this against the film, mostly since I have spent almost a decade and a half viewing giallo films. Also parts of this film has more sex and violence than some giallos do, in addition to being the good type of mystery horror film that the Italians are known for creating.

Giannini plays a cop investigating a unique serial killer. This killer uses a paralyzing needle, then cuts open their victims while they are still alive. There is one freaky scene where this is shown in gruesome, open fashion. Also the killer humilates Tellini, the cop, by filming him having sex with his girlfriend and sending it to the police. I like that this film at times plays more as a detective film than a horror film, simply because that is an interesting take on the giallo that I have not seen before.

Despite being a tad slow at times, Paolo Cavara’s giallo is well made and mostly engaging. It is odd seeing Claudine Auger interact with Barbara Bouchet considering the former had already been a Bond girl and the latter became one years later. This also was one of the earlier giallos which plays in its favor. Tangling with a killer can be messy business, especially if the killer finds out you have someone you care about.

Horrorfest 2014 Presents: Orca: The Killer Whale (1977, Michael Anderson)

Joe Bob Briggs’ commentary on this film is complete gold, and is far better than anything I could possibly write about this movie. In fact there is a good movie in here somewhere, however Orca is overall a mediocre at best Jaws rip off that fails hard because it journeys into self-parody. The film also has some of the most hilarious slow motion deaths in cinema history, as the angry killer whale has to rely on his victims to literally hang over the boat in order for him to grab them. Did I mention that the big angry whale is also seeking revenge? Does it matter that really such a thing isn’t possible? Nope. This is a movie so reality is suspended, however there is only so much that I can take before I start to laugh and write off what is happening onscreen. Case in point: the Orca manages to attack a power station, followed by it giving Richard Harris the death stare as he stands on land. Now that’s one intelligent pissed off animal. This film is literally if Free Willy’s mate was killed and he decided to go on an epic killing spree-in fact maybe Free Willy is really what would happen if Mr. Orca decided to befriend a kid instead of murdering people. But where would the fun be in that?

What’s even worse about this movie is that it wastes a good cast that includes besides Harris Charlotte Rampling (who is given very little to do whatsoever), Keenan Wynn, Bo Derek (before she became famous-what happens to her is one of the film’s highlights) Robert Carradine and a post One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest Will Sampson, who has some of the film’s less cringe worthy lines. Although I liked certain moments and I didn’t mind the film’s ridiculous plot I still cannot give this film a passing grade. And yes I must stress viewing Joe Bob Briggs’ MonsterVision commentary for this film because it is really quite humorous. I’m not sure why the 70s became so killer animal obsessed as Jaws wasn’t the earliest example, even if it did end up becoming the most famous and best of the bunch. Oh and for some reason this film has a score by the legendary Ennio Morricone. I hope he got paid really well for composing music for this turkey.

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