Death Haunts Mónica

Death Haunts Mónica

If only I could solve everything with pills.

Madrid businessman Frederico (Jean Sorel) leads a messy life. His real estate firm is sinking, his business partners are plotting against him, his wife Mónica (Nadiuska) just found out about his affair, and Diego (Damián Velasco) - an associate from Frederico's former life as a smuggler and kidnapper - is extorting him. One night while Frederico is away, a masked intruder breaks into Monica's home. But after she shoots him, the intruder springs up, knocks her out, and stages Diego's lifeless body in her home so when Mónica awakes, it looks like Diego was the attacker. When Frederico returns home, he and Mónica dispose of Diego's body but soon, tormenting phone calls begin and more people turn up dead. Who is trying to frame Mónica for murder and drive her mad? And who will be the next to die?

While Death Haunts Mónica meets all of my criteria to be called a giallo, it's really more of a fast-paced soap opera that's 65% exposition and 35% actual plot. The first hour of this 125-minute film plays out like a season of "Falcon Crest" with secret affairs, high-stakes business deals and double-crossings. Death doesn't haunt anyone until the pivotal scene where Mónica shoots the masked intruder. After that, it's all giallo, reminiscent of Lucio Fulci's con-game plots with notes of Diabolique and Gaslight. The movie features high energy and a fast pace throughout and ends with a twist ending on top of a twist ending, which makes up somewhat for its bloodless first two-thirds.

  • The Italian title, Il Buio Intorno a Monica, translates as Darkness Surrounds Monica.
  • To whomever wrote out the subtitles for this movie: "noone" is not a word.
What the Hell am I Watching?

 Early in the movie, Diego shows up to Frederico's office to extort money and menacingly admires a photo of Mónica on his desk. In the photo, Mónica is wearing the same outfit she was wearing that very morning while confronting Frederico's mistress at the photographer's studio. They clearly used a production still from an earlier day's shoot.

Adding to the blatantly gratuitous nudity (this may be the most well-bathed female cast in any giallo ever), Mónica's friend Elena (Yolanda Rios) goes to a nightclub that features a lesbian sex show for no reason at all.

Fashion Moment

Early in the movie, Mónica gears up for a confrontation with her husband's lover by squaring her shoulders, cocking her hat and glamming it up Joan Crawford style.

She has fire in her eyes and a polished, expensive look that means business. But later on, when her ends have been frayed and her nerves are shot, she looks more like this:

She's looking to an oversized, dowdy brown sweater for comfort and her rumpled, askew collar is the fashion equivalent of a resigned sigh. Pull it together, girl.

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