I Saw A Film!

A wicked and often tedious Giallo (Italian thriller) involving a ruthlessly nasty fellow who appears to be abusing his wife, his cat–literally named Satan–who seems to be in continual heat (and we’re told eats sheep eyeballs and cream (because the poor wife has to open a package full of gruesome eyeballs)), and a sudden spate of murders of lovely ladies, because, well, why not? Soon people are being walled in and the Columbo style police (all the cops in Italy are delightfully Columbo style) eventually foil all the preposterous designs.

The point of these films seems to be to illicit the most emotional charge possible in order to reverse the polarity by the end. There is no way to like the Oliviero character as he torments and humiliates his woman in front of a huge gang of partiers who assemble at his country villa. For her part she goes through half of the film as if traumatized by child-loss or some other drastic horror, but we’re not moved in that direction. Instead she’s soon battling the evil cat, Satan. Flat out Satan. Not a bit of irony left for us to squeeze out of this Poe-derived lemon. Satan kills her doves, and she’s forced to attack Satan with a pair of sheers. We’re shown gross images in flashes, and when the little old lady pedaling her bicycle to and from market catches Irina abusing the cat, the key to the entire unwinding of the tale is established. It’s not a bad trick as too often when we think of these films we forget that random people with eyes and thoughts of their own are all over the place. In Reservoir Dogs this element is done well when the Buscemi character gets himself shot by a random woman as he attempts to hijack her car. But too often viewers are out of the loop when such real life inclusions are preserved or invented. We have a tendency to want drama from main characters not the real world slips and falls customary to stairs and shower stalls.

Italian movie blood is thrown around, and when you slowly realize this is basically ripping off an old Edgar Allen Poe fantasy (as ham-fistedly rammed home by the black cat) Floriana arrives, played by giallo regular Edwige. At first I thought they said she was a sister, but then she gets down with both our main characters and I realized they said niece. A good line about Floriana being a two-bit whore followed by her responding “two – bits well spent!” is a pretty good chuckle in a long dour line of difficult scenes.

This is running free on prime and is fairly satisfying in that old style thriller way, playing the long gambit to get to the checkmate. One of the better titles makes this one pretty attractive to que up!

4 thoughts on “Your Vice is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key (1972)

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