Death Steps in the Dark

 

Death Steps in the Dark

"It's easy to see you're new at this business. You're useless!"

Italian photographer Luciano Morelli (Leonard Mann) and his Swedish model girlfriend Ingrid Steimosson (Vera Krouska) are on the Istanbul-Athens express train when suddenly the lights go out and one of the passengers in their car is murdered. Luciano's letter opener was used as the murder weapon, making him the chief suspect. On the run from the Inspector (Robert Webber), Luciano must now prove his innocence. Meanwhile, Raul (Nikos Verlekis) and his girlfriend Ulla (Susy Jennings) saw the murderer flee the crime scene and picked up a glove that was dropped. They decide to blackmail the murderer but are they putting their own lives in jeopardy? Could the killer be the old priest (Antonio Maimone)? And can Luciano and Ingrid find the killer and clear his name?

Death Steps in the Dark (not to be confused with Death Walks in High Heels) is a fun little giallo with some creative murder scenes, a heist element, and comic elements to keep things light. Unfortunately, the identity of the killer and the motive are never foreshadowed, making it impossible to guess the identity before the final reveal.
  • Death Steps in the Dark is the work of Maurizio Pradeaux, who also wrote and directed Death Carries a Cane. Besides both being gialli and having similar Italian titles (Passi di Danza Su una Lama di Rasoio and Passi di Morte Perduti Nel Buio) the two films are otherwise unrelated.
  • The third act of the movie involves a heist plot, where Luciano, Ingrid, and two novice criminals break into a house to steal a gold statue. Wackiness ensues.
  • SPOILER ALERT: So it turns out that the Inspector knew Luciano was innocent the whole time, but forced Luciano on the lam to do his job for him and solve the case. He's not only inept, he's also a huge jerk. 
  • SPOILER ALERT:  Raul and Ulla know who the killer is throughout the film and repeatedly use the pronoun "he," but by the end of the movie, we discover that the killer is, in fact, a woman. It seems to me that they could have worked around that better.

What the Hell Am I Watching?

Ingrid takes the stock character of the "vapid fashion model" to new and infuriating heights. I realize that she is intended to be comic relief, but she nearly gets her boyfriend killed or arrested several times and bungles things at every turn. It's a miracle that she made it through the movie un-slapped.

Ingrid's idea of a "fashion show" is swanning around for five minutes in a green evening gown. There are no other models or dresses involved.

There's a fantastically gruesome part where, through a series of events, Ulla turns on the water in her bath and blood pours out.

Fashion Moment

In what I'm sure is not his finest hour, Luciano hides from the Athens police by disguising himself in drag.


  

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