The Fish With the Eyes of Gold

"But don't you forget that we're looking for a madman, not a con man.
A madman obsessed with fish."
While hitchhiking through a Spanish beach town, Derek (Wal Davis) gets picked up by Monica (Monserrat Prous), who drives him directly to a hotel for some aggressive adult time. When he awakes hung over, he sees Monica stabbed to death in bed next to him and flees to his friend Zachary's house. It turns out that Zachary witnessed a woman getting stabbed on the beach just a day before and with police suspicions looming, the two men set out to prove Derek's innocence. The investigation leads them to a jewler's shop, the local aquarium and the hospital. Who is the killer and why are they targeting the people closest to Derek? The answer lies in a mysterious golden pendant.

The Fish With the Eyes of Gold (not to be confused with Seven Deaths in a Cat's Eye) is a meticulous study of the Italian-style giallo that was reaching its peak in the mid-70's. While it's clear that the creators paid close attention to the work of Ernesto Gastaldi and Dario Argento, this rare title is ultimately unsatisfying due to a nonsensical ending that's spoiled in the first 15 minutes.  If you love giallo for its signature style, with wild fashion, mod design, and bed-hopping characters, there's still lots to enjoy, but don't expect a lot from the writing.

• The title "sort of" makes sense because, while the titular fish does have eyes of gold, it also has everything else of gold. It's a pendant made of gold. I'm sure they singled out the eyes to fit it into the Argento title formula, a la The Bird With the Crystal Plumage.

• At the halfway mark in this movie, please to enjoy the craziest car wreck ever committed to film. The out of control car takes a cautious, low-speed dip down a hillside. Cut to Derek pretending to tumble out in shock, followed by a shot of him dragging Zachary's body from the gently overturned, flaming car. This is followed by a massive explosion, that was clearly over-charged. I wouldn't be surprised if ears are still ringing 40 years later.

• Note that one of the murders listed is shown in a flashback, years before the main action of the movie takes place.

• The "main characters in a creative profession" are Zachary and his wife, Virginia. Also, their student, Marina is said to be an aspiring designer and artist.

• I'd just like to point out that the owner of the Aquarium named his daughter Marina.

What the Hell am I Watching?

The killer's motivation is told through a flashback of his boyhood trauma, as he watches his mother spill a fish tank on the floor as she was being stabbed by her husband. Seeing fish and fish imagery later in life sets off his psychosis. You may look at all this and think it's a direct ripoff of Dario Argento's Deep Red.

The boy is even hiding behind a curtain and wearing a suit, just like in Deep Red. HOWEVER, The Fish With the Eyes of Gold came out the year before Deep Red, probably while Deep Red was already written and in production. It's more likely that both films were influenced by 1965's Libido, co-written and co-directed by Ernesto Gastaldi. Libido featured a flashback where a boy in a suit witnesses his father kill his mother while he plays with a Jiminy Cricket music box and, later in life, the sound of the music box triggers a homicidal rage.

Fashion Moment:

Derek only has a few outfits in his travel bag, but he makes each one count.


It's hard to tell on this screenshot, but the last one is an embroidered design on a black mesh fabric.

Bonus: Here's a close-up of the fish sketch that could only be done by a psychotic mind (teased in the flashback scene):

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