Formula for a Murder

Formula for a Murder

"You won't have time to feel sorry for yourself when we're married."

As a child, Joanna (Christina Nagy) was raped by a priest and, during the attack, fell down a flight of stairs, leaving her paralyzed. The priest was caught and convicted but Joanna has repressed all memories of the incident. Now, years later, Joanna is a Paralympic hopeful, in love with her trainer, Craig (David Warbeck), despite the objections of her assistant, Ruth (Carol Blumenberg). When Craig proposes marriage, Joanna's physician, Dr. Sernich (Rosano Brazzi) reveals details about Joanna's tragic past and warns that if her memories re-emerged, her weak heart couldn't take the stress and she would likely die. Meanwhile, a mysterious gloved figure is murdering local priests and Joanna is having terrifying visions of her childhood attacker holding a bloody doll. Are they really just hallucinations? Or has her attacker returned to finish the job? 

Formula for a Murder (not to be confused with Date for a Murder) is the final film by director Albert De Martino, whom you may remember from The Killer is On the Phone. This is a middling addition to the canon - while the plot does ultimately make sense and there are some well-shot kill scenes, the identity of the killer is revealed a mere 34 minutes in and the movie ends with a big clunky question mark.
  •  David Warbeck is best known for appearing in Lucio Fulci's masterpiece L'Aldila and the late-period giallo Fatal Frames.
  • This is Carol Blumenberg's only screen credit.  
  • The film's biggest name, Rosano Brazzi, starred in the 1958 film adaptation of South Pacific.
  • Prolific composer Francesco De Masi was also responsible for such gialli as The New York Ripper, The Weapon, the Hour, The Motive, and the memorable Tchaikovsky adaptation for The Weekend Murders.
What the Hell Am I Watching?

What kind of bow grip is this for a champion-level archer? All four fingers? Seriously?

Also, there's a scene near the end where Joanna gets picked up and can clearly be seen kicking her feet.  I call shenanigans.

Fashion Moment:

Ruth is the fashion star of the film. We first see her in this look - a masculine jacket with epaulets and a men's tie.

Later, she wears a more formal, expensive-looking, but equally masculine jacket, buttoned at the top.

These Peter Pan collars are a motif running throughout the film.

Finally, notice the use of yellow in this movie - just as Joanna is haunted by a distant sense of fear, her surroundings are punctuated with highlights of yellow. It's always in the background, from her outdoor patio... her kitchen... the Staten Island Ferry.

But in her nightmares, she's completely surrounded in yellow.