The Killer Reserved Nine Seats
"I always feel like I'm in terrible danger when I'm with you. A woman likes that."
On the night of his birthday, wealthy aristocrat Patrick (Chris Avram) invites party guests to explore his family's old theater, which has been maintained but unused for 100 years. The group includes his sister, Rebecca (Eva Czemerys) and her lover Doris (Lucretia Love), Patrick's ex-wife, Vivian (Rosana Schiaffino) and her new husband Albert (Andrea Scotti), Patrick's daughter Lynn (Paola Senatore) and her boyfriend Duncan (Gaetano Russo), Patrick's fiancé Kim (Janet Agren) her ex, Russell (Howard Ross) and a mysterious man in a nehru jacket whom nobody can quite place (Eduardo Filipone). Before long, the guests find themselves locked inside the old theater and one by one they turn up dead. Everyone seems to have a motive, but who could be the killer? The answer lies in an ominous secret curse that has haunted Patrick's family for centuries!
The Killer Reserved Nine Seats (not to be confused with The Killer is One of Thirteen) places the familiar "Ten Little Indians" scenario in an old theater and adds a supernatural twist. The result could have been a moody and stylish but is instead plodding, dull and about 40 minutes too long. Patrick's 100-year family curse was obviously cribbed from The Red Queen Kills Seven Times and the murder scenes in a theater are likely a nod to Herschell Gordon Lewis's The Wizard of Gore. The characters in Nine Seats may be better fleshed-out than most and a torchlit journey to the underground catacombs at the end is an interesting move, but just about everything this movie tries to achieve has been done better elsewhere.
- This is the last of director Giuseppe Bennati's nine movies and his only giallo.
- Composer Carlo Savina was a favorite musical director and orchestra conductor for Frederico Fellini and Francis Ford Coppola.
- You may recognize Chris Avram from Bay of Blood and Andrea Scotti from So Sweet, So Dead and The Fifth Cord. Of course, Howard Ross started his career in sword-and-sandal movies and later appeared in notable gialli like Naked Girl Killed in the Park and The New York Ripper.
What the Hell am I Watching?
The movie drags but it does have a few crazy moments to watch out for, starting with the mysterious disembodied voice that bellows a monologue from Othello from the stage for a good five minutes.
The killer wears an old man mask that is suitably disturbing. It's a giallo, so of course it's paired with black gloves and a cape.
The killer punishes lesbian Rebecca by stabbing her repeatedly in the lady parts and then nailing her hand to a board. By far the most brutal killing in the movie.
The biggest WTF moment comes late in the movie, when Lynn copes with the situation by popping pills and deleriously dancing naked in her room. It's a welcome break in the action, but it's ruined when she starts to make out with her own father. Gross gross gross gross gross.
Here's Vivian killing it in a sexy black gown:
And the mysterious stranger may (or may not) be over 100 years old, but his fashion sense is right up to date in his blue silk nehru jacket, accentuated by a silver medallion.