Evil Eye

Evil Eye
"Do you think it's possible for a nightmare to continue when one's awake?"
Playboy expatriate Peter Crane (Jorge Rivero), who is haunted by dreams of satanic rituals and anguished souls, is shocked to meet a woman, Yvonne Chevrel (Lone Flemming) who shares the same visions. Peter is inexplicably compelled to murder Yvonne but then immediately wakes up from a dream - but was it a dream? And are the objects that seem to move on their own part of his hallucinations? To add to the confusion, Peter starts receiving threatening calls and letters from a blackmailer, who threatens to expose him as a murderer.  Even though Peter seeks help from psychiatrist Dr. Stone (Richard Conte) and beautiful Dr. Turner (Pilar Velásquez), he keeps envisioning murders before they happen. Is Peter insane? Or is he merely the puppet of a satanic cult? Skeptical Inspector Rameri (Anthony Steffen) tries to find answers and may become a believer in the process.
Evil Eye (not to be confused with The Girl Who Knew Too Much, which is sometimes also called The Evil Eye) is an interesting blend of Spasmo's psychadelic weirdness and L'Aldila's sense of supernatural dread, seasoned with elements and images from Dario Argento's early work.  It all amounts to a confusing mishmash of plot threads where motivations and logic get hazy, culminating in an anticlimactic ending that was certainly meant to be a heady twist.
  • Evil Eye was co-written by Julio Buchs, who was responsible for Murder By Music
  • Please to enjoy an appearance by legendary giallo actor Luciano Piggozi (credited here as Alan Collins).
  • The Argento influences include shots of a creepy doll, dark trees blowing in the wind, glass breaking in slow motion and a ghostly face appearing in a high window.
  • The title makes sense because it refers to the charm pennant that Inspector Ramieri carries (at his wife's insistence) to ward off evil spirits.
  • The original Italian title, "Eroticofollia" translates as "Erotic Madness."

What the Hell am I Watching?

Even with all the voodoo stuff, naked ghosts, moving objects and unexplained ideas in this movie, the weirdest scene is the one where Peter and his girlfriend Tanya (Pia Giancaro) shower, brush their teeth and make out all at the same time.

Peter meets an old woman who, it turns out, is a ghost - but her timeline doesn't add up at all. His friend's wife, Elizabeth (Daniella Giordano) says that the old woman died three days before, implying that she was buried or at the morgue. But later, the police find the old woman's body in the yard. If Elizabeth knew the old woman was dead, why did she leave the corpse in her yard for three days? And are we to presume that Peter killed the woman three days ago, forgot about it, and then came back to see Elizabeth? 

Fashion Moment

 Early on, Peter wakes up in this stylish yellow (yes, "giallo") kimono.

Peter sees the doctors about his confusing dreams - but what he really needs is a cure for Saturday Night Fever.
And when he stops by Derek and Elizabeth's house, he's decked out in head-to-toe acid washed denim (shirtless, of course).

Five Women for the Killer

Five Women for the Killer
"When you've stared death in the face, you never forget it."

Writer Giorgio Pisani (Francis Matthews) rushes home to see the birth of his son, only to find that his wife has died in childbirth. On top of that, he discovers that the baby isn't his - medical tests show that Giorgio is sterile. But as he pieces his life together, the police are investigating a gloved killer whose victims are all pregnant women - or women believed to be pregnant. Could Giorgio's grief and confusion be driving him to murder? Or perhaps smarmy pediatrician Dr. Betti (Georgio Albertazzi), who has just impregnated his mistress, is covering his tracks? The Police Inspector (Howard Ross) must find out before more women die!

Five Women for the Killer (not to be confused with Six Women for the Killer, a.k.a. Blood & Black Lace) is a decent post-Argento giallo that follows a pattern: a woman character is introduced, the woman reveals that she's pregnant, the woman is killed. By the fourth time this pattern plays out, the audience knows what to expect (and may find it a little boring) but the filmmakers pull the rug out from under our expectations in the final scenes. The script is cleverly set up to let the audience figure out the identity of the killer about two minutes before it's revealed on screen.

  • Director Stelvio Massi was the cinematographer on one of my favorite gialli, The Case of the Bloody Iris.
  • Composer Giorgio Gaslini, who would go on to contribute music to Deep Red, imitates the noisy, funky bebop of Ennio Morricone's Bird with the Crystal Plumage soundtrack.
  • The title "sort of" makes sense because while only four women ended up dead, there were five intended victims.
What the Hell am I Watching?

If you're a main suspect in a series of murders and find yourself at a fresh crime scene before the police arrive, don't be like Giorgio and pick up the murder weapon. Major facepalm.

Fashion Moment

Nothing to report here. The plot doesn't include any cocktail parties, receptions or gallery shows, so none of the characters have a reason to dress up in anything fancier than sport coats and ties. 1970's casual wear abounds.

The Killer Reserved Nine Seats

The Killer Reserved Nine Seats

"I always feel like I'm in terrible danger when I'm with you. A woman likes that."

On the night of his birthday, wealthy aristocrat Patrick (Chris Avram) invites party guests to explore his family's old theater, which has been maintained but unused for 100 years. The group includes his sister, Rebecca (Eva Czemerys) and her lover Doris (Lucretia Love), Patrick's ex-wife, Vivian (Rosana Schiaffino) and her new husband Albert (Andrea Scotti), Patrick's daughter Lynn (Paola Senatore) and her boyfriend Duncan (Gaetano Russo), Patrick's fiancé Kim (Janet Agren) her ex, Russell (Howard Ross) and a mysterious man in a nehru jacket whom nobody can quite place (Eduardo Filipone). Before long, the guests find themselves locked inside the old theater and one by one they turn up dead. Everyone seems to have a motive, but who could be the killer? The answer lies in an ominous secret curse that has haunted Patrick's family for centuries!

The Killer Reserved Nine Seats (not to be confused with The Killer is One of Thirteen) places the familiar "Ten Little Indians" scenario in an old theater and adds a supernatural twist. The result could have been a moody and stylish but is instead plodding, dull and about 40 minutes too long.  Patrick's 100-year family curse was obviously cribbed from The Red Queen Kills Seven Times and the murder scenes in a theater are likely a nod to Herschell Gordon Lewis's The Wizard of Gore. The characters in Nine Seats may be better fleshed-out than most and a torchlit journey to the underground catacombs at the end is an interesting move, but just about everything this movie tries to achieve has been done better elsewhere.

  • This is the last of director Giuseppe Bennati's nine movies and his only giallo. 
  • Composer Carlo Savina was a favorite musical director and orchestra conductor for Frederico Fellini and Francis Ford Coppola.
  • You may recognize Chris Avram from Bay of Blood and Andrea Scotti from So Sweet, So Dead and The Fifth Cord. Of course, Howard Ross started his career in sword-and-sandal movies and later appeared in notable gialli like Naked Girl Killed in the Park and The New York Ripper.
What the Hell am I Watching?

The movie drags but it does have a few crazy moments to watch out for, starting with the mysterious disembodied voice that bellows a monologue from Othello from the stage for a good five minutes.

The killer wears an old man mask that is suitably disturbing. It's a giallo, so of course it's paired with black gloves and a cape.

The killer punishes lesbian Rebecca by stabbing her repeatedly in the lady parts and then nailing her hand to a board. By far the most brutal killing in the movie.

The biggest WTF moment comes late in the movie, when Lynn copes with the situation by popping pills and deleriously dancing naked in her room. It's a welcome break in the action, but it's ruined when she starts to make out with her own father. Gross gross gross gross gross.

Fashion Moment

Here's Vivian killing it in a sexy black gown:

And the mysterious stranger may (or may not) be over 100 years old, but his fashion sense is right up to date in his blue silk nehru jacket, accentuated by a silver medallion.