Eyes of Crystal

 

Eyes of Crystal

"Resin, nylon string, live bait, bullets... What for?"

Brooding young detective Giacomo Amaldi (Luigi Lo Cascio) and his veteran partner Frese (José Ángel Egido) are on the trail of a nine-fingered taxidermist-turned-serial killer who steals the limbs of his victims and replaces them with doll parts. Meanwhile, Amaldi is also helping college student Giuditta (Lucía Jiménez) track down her stalker. As the detectives get closer to the killer, the murders grow more and more gruesome. Could dying police detective Ajaccio (Simón Andreu) hold answers to the case? And what does the killer plan to do with all the body parts he's stealing?

Eyes of Crystal (Not to be confused with The Cat With Jade Eyes) is a decent modern take on the giallo genre, full of stylish camera work, gruesome murders and a well-paced mystery. The movie was obviously influenced by Argento, Bava and Fulci (especially Fulci) but also takes cues from David Fincher and American police procedural shows like CSI. While classic gialli had a more operatic, stylish use of blood, modern audiences have a taste for a more, shall we say, accurate and literal depiction of murder. 

  • The film instantly gains giallo cred with the casting of superstar Simón Andreu, whom you will remember from classics like Forbidden Photos of a Lady Above Suspicion, Death Walks on High Heels and Death Walks at Midnight.
  • There are lots of taxidermy animals in the film, but for purposes of the checklist above, only two are killed during the movie: the chipmunk at the beginning and the heron by the shipyard.
  • I also didn't count Amaldi's girlfriend in the body count, because she died before the movie starts in an unrelated incident.
  • The title refers to the taxidermy killer's use of glass eyes in his work.
  • The climactic slow-motion fall from a high tower is filmed as an obvious homage to Don't Torture a Duckling, which ends with the same dramatic stunt.
What the Hell am I Watching?

The movie clearly takes place in an industrial Italian city (Turin maybe or Milan?) but the city library's Occult section only has books written in English.

Imagine how long it would take to decapitate someone using only a surgical scalpel. There's no way the killer could get in, kill someone, remove a head or a pair of limbs with a tiny (albeit sharp) blade, dress the corpse up with doll parts and get out in a hurry.

But the real craziness comes at the film's climax when the killer's gruesome puzzle of human parts appears to rise up from its bed on its own. There's a moment (but just a moment) where you question what kind of movie this even is.

Fashion Moment

This movie has a lot of plot to keep track of, so it's a good thing the clothes are dull and not distracting. Here's the sort of thing we're dealing with:


With his dark, shaggy hair, black trench coat and dark, solid-colored clothes, Amaldi is clearly the Goth Prince of the police precinct. He's not only in mourning for his girlfriend, but is so focused on work that he can't be bothered to consider his clothes.  Even in a relaxed setting in his free time, he's still dark and brooding.


The only relief from the drab blues and grays in this movie comes from Giuditta, who uses red as a signature color.


 

This not only makes her stand out visually, but communicates that unlike any of the other characters, she has a relatively bright, positive outlook on life. The only other significant use of red in the movie is blood, so this also foreshadows Giuditta as a potential target.


1 comment:

  1. Two films that I don't see mentioned anywhere on the site that I believe fit all of your criteria: Mozart Is a Murderer (1999), which is directed by Sergio Martino, and Nothing Underneath (1985). Both of them can be found on Rarelust.

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