"Truth is certainly better than deception."
After a trip abroad, Ileana (Isabelle Marchall) returns home to Italy with her friends to the family castle and her ailing father, the Baron di Chablais (Roberto Zattini). During a fun evening of dancing and charades, it becomes clear that Ileana's friends share a complex history of relationships, debts and varying levels of mistrust. But when party girl Elsa (Patrizia Gori) turns up dead with her eyeballs gouged out, everyone is a suspect and it's up to the Inspector (Corado Gaipa) to sort the truth from the lies. Could the killer be Pier-Luigi, who is being hounded by the mafia or Berta, the sour-faced maid? Or perhaps it's Ileana's secret half brother Leandro, driven insane by a childhood trauma, who hides in the castle's catacombs embalming animals? The inspector must use all of his wits to find the killer!
Much like A White Dress for Marialé, Maniac Mansion, Five Dolls for an August Moon and Nine Guests for a Crime, Crazy Desires of a Murderer finds its roots in old-fashioned locked room Gothic murder mysteries. This one takes a few breaks for grownup scenes - it comes to us from the writer of the Emanuelle series of erotica movies, after all - and features a Colombo-like detective whose trademark is a cane and limp. The film is well-paced and repeatedly throws suspicion from one character to another, so just when you think you have the killer's identity figured out, you may start to doubt yourself.
- The fourth murder listed above is actually a flashback that occurs before the main action of the movie starts.
- Leandro's room in the catacombs is filled with taxidermied animals, but the only animal death I listed above is the rabbit he was shown taking apart near the beginning of the movie.
- The title does make sense, but it's really generic. Just about any giallo movie could have been called Crazy Desires of a Murderer. But the original Italian title is one of the worst in the genre, as it gives away way too much of the plot.
- There's a big emphasis on eyes in this movie. Lots of dramatic close-ups of eyes, shots of peeping toms spying and, of course, the killer gouges out eyeballs. I'd like to think it's all in homage to Lucio Fulci, who has a similar obsession with eyes in his movies.
At the beginning of the movie, Pier-Luigi is kidnapped, driven to a remote barn and then politely asks the mafia enforcers to give him two more days to come up with the money he owes. And after all that trouble, they let him go. I imagine it must have been an awkward drive back to his car in the city.
There's a scene where the house guests play sexy charades. Basically, they just undress and grope each other while the other guests shout movie titles, until they stumble across the one that's correct. It's a weird scene.
For a bunch of rich kids, this group has terrible fashion sense. Bobby wears this tight yellow turtleneck throughout the film, making me suspicious of him the whole time. Pier-Luigi sports this loud and distracting purple plaid jacket and an Eric Estrada hairdo. And you can't see it in this shot, but the Inspector's tie is always about four inches too short, accentuating his paunch.