"If the killer is a lunatic, he's a very astute lunatic."
When a wealthy family takes a two-week vacation to their private island estate, it's anything but relaxing. The group includes family patriarch Ubaldo (Arthur Kennedy) his new young wife, Giulia (Caroline Laurente), Umbaldo's sister, Aunt Elizabeth (Dania Ghia), Umbaldo's sons, Michele (Massimo Foschi), Walter (Venantino Venantini), and Lorenzo (John Richardson), and their respective wives, Carla (Sofia Dionisio, credited as Flavia Fabiani), Patrizia (Loretta Persichetti), and Greta (Rita Silva). Family tensions run high as Michele carries on a secret affair with his stepmother and Walter has his own affair with his sister-in-law Greta. But things really take a turn when people start turning up dead and there is no way off the island. Could gold-digger Giulia be killing off the competition for Ubaldo's inheritance? And what about Aunt Elizabeth's theory that the ghost of her long-dead lover, Carlo (uncredited) has returned to avenge his death? Who will be left alive? It all leads to a bloody, explosive ending!
Like Mario Bava's Five Dolls For an August Moon, Nine Guests For a Crime is based on Agatha Christie's famous 1939 novel And Then There Were None. But Nine Guests takes it a step further and also incorporates elements of Bava's Bay of Blood, including an astronomical body count and some unusual and highly dramatic murder scenes.
- You may remember Arthur Kennedy as American journalist Jackson Bentley in Laurence of Arabia or as Pontius Pilate in the 1961 movie Barabbas.
- Director Fernando Baldi was one of those directors who did everything - biblical epics, comedies, Westerns, war movies, and documentaries. This is his only giallo.
What the Hell Am I Watching?
Who was the charred skeleton hanging in the closet? Was that Charlie? It's never made quite clear.
When Carla starts thrashing around in the water and shouting that she's drowning, everyone just stops and stares for a ridiculously long time. Sure, maybe she's pulled pranks in the past that looked similar to this, but wouldn't it be better to get out there and find out, rather than discuss it for five minutes?
One has to marvel at the audacity of the two couples having noisy affairs under their respective partners' noses on this tiny island in a cramped cottage. And sometimes – brazenly – in the same room as a sleeping spouse.
Psychic Carla wears this breezy multi-colored cover-up (which covers up nothing at all) in a scene where she foretells great suffering and despair.