"She was taken by surprise, tried desperately to resist... just like the others."
Inspector Capuana (Farley Granger) is on the trail of a murderer who only targets unfaithful women and leaves compromising photos of the victims with their lovers at each crime scene. As the murderer strikes again and again, the husbands and wives of the city grow more and more anxious, wondering who will be next... and who among them has reason to worry. With every murder, both the husbands and the lovers have alibis, so who would have reason to kill? Time is running out and the serial killer who calls himself "the Avenger" must be stopped!
Rest easy, wheel. You're in no danger of getting re-invented by So Sweet, So Dead (not to be confused with So Sweet... So Perverse). This movie uses all the familiar rhythms, spaces its murders out evenly over the course of the movie, and is faithful to the conventions of the genre. Too faithful, I'd say. While it's entertaining enough, and the murderer who only targets cheaters is a somewhat novel approach, So Sweet, So Dead shows little ambition when it comes to the story, characters, or stylish visuals. It's say it's a good beginner's giallo - one that won't spoil a newcomer for other, better films of the genre.
- While establishing the killer's profile, Capuana and the Coroner, Professor Casali (Chris Avram) run through a laundry list of standard giallo motives: impotence, homosexuality, covering up another crime, and plain old insanity.
- This film is graced by giallo superstar Susan Scott, who, by taking on the small role of Lilly, instantly boosts the movie's credibility.
- You may also recognize Luciano Rossi, who plays creepster morgue worker Gastone. He was the crazy blonde hit man in Death Walks at Midnight. In this movie, though, he not only gets to talk, but he carries entire scenes.
- There are a few good murder scenes here. I liked how the murder on the train was done and that the body of Renata (Krista Nell) is found stylishly draped across a spiral staircase.
- The murderer in So Sweet, So Dead is the classic giallo killer, who could have walked right out of Blood and Black Lace. He wears the traditional stocking mask, fedora, gloves, and trench coat with the collar turned up, all in black, of course.
Some scripts set up red herrings or clever mis-directs. This one is just full of incomplete thoughts. For example, Bettina Santangeli (Angela Covello), the teenage daughter of a prominent lawyer, witnesses one of the murders, though she can't identify the masked killer. She is understandably afraid that the killer will murder her next. And then that sub-plot is dropped and we never hear about it or Bettina ever again.
After knocking on a suspect's door with no answer, the police send up a warning shot. With a burst from a sub-machine gun. That really escalated quickly.
After killing a woman in her home, the murderer tries to walk out the front door, only to be blocked by the victim's boyfriend. But for some reason, instead of finding a back exit, the killer climbs out the window next to the front stoop. Luckily, there just happens to be a ladder under the window. Needless to say, the boyfriend quickly spots and confronts the killer. So much for a criminal mastermind.
Our killer seems to have a thing for ladies in pink. Many (but not all) of the victims appear in a similar rosy shade. Here's Franca Santangeli (Annabella Incontrera):
Here's Lilly (Susan Scott):
Shortly after witnessing Lilly's murder, Bettina wears this hat and matching gloves:
And, finally, Barbara Capuana (Sylvia Koscina) appears in this pink housecoat:
On an unrelated note, let's have a look at that classic killer costume.