Black Christmas

all is calm, all is dead

Black Christmas
aka Silent Night, Evil Night
aka Stranger in the House
aka Noël tragique
aka Un Natale rosso sangue
Director: Bob Clark
Released: 1974
Starring: Olivia Hussey, Keir Dullea, Margot Kidder, Andrea Martin, John Saxon
Running time: 98 minutes
Genre: horror, slasher

Co-eds dying near an open fire: It’s time for Christmas break, and none too soon. The sisters of the Pi Kappa Sigma sorority are celebrating with a post-finals and pre-break party, all unawares of the mumbling creep climbing a trellis into their attic. While they cozily guzzle cocktails and discuss plans for a Christmas charity event the next day, the mysterious stranger stumbles through an attic filled with childhood debris and makes his way into the house proper.

Downstairs, Jess answers a prank call from The Moaner and calls most of the ladies over to listen.  The caller says a lot of filthy things and, after some verbal pwnage from Barb, ends his call with a dead serious, “I’m going to kill you.”  Professional virgin Clare, upset by Barb’s constant razzing and cavalier attitude toward the rape of a local girl, and provocation of the nasty caller (and unaware of the nutter hiding upstairs,) breaks off from the rest of the girls and heads to her room to finish packing.  The rest of the sorority, making merry and bestowing gifts on the housemother, Mrs MacHenry, don’t hear a thing as the attic mumbler Laura Palmer-izes Clare and carries her corpse into the attic.

Clare’s disappearance is discovered the next day when her father looks for her at the sorority house after she fails to show up when he was supposed to meet her.  They head to the police station for help, where Barb mocks a lunkheaded cop with sexual innuendos while some townie woman reports her 13 year-old daughter missing.  Their efforts aren’t taken seriously until the tween’s body is found in a nearby park, and the capable Lieutenant Fuller takes over. With more prank calls coming in, a rape, a missing girl, and one dead body already found, the police connect the dots and tap the sorority house phones. It’s beginning to look a lot like Jess’ intense pianist boyfriend, Peter, might be unhinged and violently upset after she reveals to him that she’s pregnant and wants to get an abortion.  In the midst of all this and unknown to everyone, the murderer is already in the house and he’s going to kill every single one of the Pi Kappa Sigmas.

all bobby wants for christmas is agnes

Extremely influential, with some interesting characters and subplots, loaded with booze and wicked laughs,  a healthy mean streak and enough suspense to make Bumble piss himself, Bob Clark’s Black Christmas holds up well even today and is still a disturbing little package of holiday fear for any of us weirdos from The Island of Misfit Horror Hounds.

Bill: Black Christmas was a landmark in the development of the Slasher subgenre.  Without it, there would be no Halloween, no Friday the 13th or The Burning.  Now, I could explain the why and how of that, and Fisty and I will likely do so in a minute or two, but first, I’d like to talk about dirty words.  Filthy, nasty, deliciously perverted words.

“ho, ho, FUCK”

Sometimes, when I’ve got a few movies lined up that I’ve never seen, I’ll glance at the parental advisory notes on imdb to help me decide what I want to watch.  I’ll compare the amount of nudity, violence, gore, rape, alcohol and drug references and watch whatever has the most (or the most creative,) because I love all that stuff.  I know, however, that no matter how nude the nakedness and how bushy the bush and how bloody the bodies and violent the violence, it won’t be anything that I haven’t seen before in, like, over 9000 other flicks.  However, movies that are willing to go all out with their language are a little more uncommon.  I’m not talking about shit and fuck.  That’s nothing.   No, fuck is boring.  I’m talking about real raunch.  It may be common in certain areas of the internet, among your friends, sometimes (if you’re lucky) in the bedroom (though, even there you occasionally have problems with blushing, downward glances and mumbling,) and on Deadwood, but non-pornographic, cinematic raunch talk is a little more rare.  That’s probably why it still packs a bit of a punch and can be so memorable, maybe even more so now, than it would’ve been, since the P.C. Armies have sterilized the entire country.  Think of Harvey Keitel in Bad Lieutenant demanding, “Show me how you suck a guy’s cock,” or Clarice explaining to Dr. Lector that Miggs said, “I can smell your cunt,” in Silence of the Lambs, or little possessed Regan in The Exorcist saying, “Your mother sucks cocks in Hell, Karras.”  It can be jarring for the audience as well as the characters in a movie.  It even works in comedies, like Clerks, with Randall’s video ordering scene.  So it’s great when The Moaner busts out a few phrases that even make the girls in the ribald Pi Kappa Sigma house think he’s a creep.  This guy isn’t just breathing heavy or asking if they have Prince Albert in a can, he’s saying things like, “I’ll stick my tongue up your pretty pussy!”  Fuck yeah!  Even if Black Christmas weren’t the suspenseful, influential shocker that it is, I’d still have to give thanks to Bob Clark for giving us a horror movie that uses the line, “Let me lick your pretty piggy cunt!”  That’s good stuff.

“you fucking CREEP!”

Fisty: Speaking of cunts, lets talk characters. Barb is going to get a lot of attention for being a Grade A cunt at least for the line, “Darling, you can’t rape a townie,” but she’s really not that bad. Sure, she’s outrageous, but thanks to her convo with her skank mother, we know she’s just acting out because she feels unloved and alone, hence her forlorn bid for company in inviting her sorority sisters to go skiing with her. Though she seems to be alienating First Girl Clare with her vulgarity, Barb also invites her along skiing because she’s desperate for affection; she’s a classic Poor Little Rich Girl. Notice the dichotomy between Barb’s room and Clare’s: Barb’s is almost a little girl’s room, abundant in flounces, purple, and crystal animals, while Clare’s features rock posters, alcohol, and sexual permissiveness–all the things her daddy dreads about college and growing up. Who is really the professional virgin here? Despite Clare’s shyness about some things, Barb appears emotionally stunted in contrast, a bratty little girl drunkenly spewing profanity at the dinner table, but a sad and pathetic one, too.

twelve ladies of pi sigma kappa

Bill: I liked Barb quite a bit.  She’s probably the deepest character in the movie and Kidder absolutely gives the best performance.  She’s a hoot, too.  I’d totally hang out with Barb.  She and Future Barb, aka Mrs. Mac, who is my second favorite alcoholic in the film, both kind of reminded me of Fisty.  Maybe I’m just a hopeless romantic, but I was secretly hoping that Mrs. M and Clare’s father would get it on.

Fisty: I am SO flattered.

Notwithstanding Barb’s barbs at Clare (haHA!), something I dig about the Pi Kappa Sigmas is how they really do have a sororal feeling. Too often a slasher set in a sorority house or other all-female environment is an excuse for boobs n’ butts, and a showcase for the worst possible catty female behavior. But Barb’s an equal opportunity needler, digging in on anyone within range, and she does harbor some affection for Claire. All the other sisters still in the house seem to genuinely like one another, and don’t sink into a mire of bitchery when the going gets tough.

Maybe because it’s an ur-slasher, Black Christmas features a pretty wide range of developed characters, 3D all the way (no glasses required). Outside the world of Black Christmas, they could be in other movies, other stories–shit, they could be real. The sole exception to that, though, is our Final Girl, Olivia Hussey’s Jess. Is it Hussey’s odd lock-jawed, Gloria Upson-esque delivery? Or her expressionless face? Is it just that Jess is kind of a bore, other than the abortion subplot? I just don’t know.

“and she STEPPED on the BALL”

Bill: Oh god, The Abortion!  As any American fan of Degrassi knows, Canadians aren’t afraid to address the abortion issue in entertainment the way Americans are.  When it’s mentioned that Debbie is pregnant in Friday the 13th Part 3, rather that explore that and find out more about it, whether she wants the baby or not, flesh out the character, and turn it into the highly dramatic subplot it deserves to be, they instead completely dropped anything else about it from the rest of the movie, because that is way too potentially offensive of a topic to deal with in a movie that is ABOUT BRUTAL SPREE MURDERS!  Ugh.  Thankfully, even though it came six years earlier, Black Christmas doesn’t do the same.

Fisty: No, Clark dives right in, but without sensationalizing it. Let us recall that Roe v. Wade was hardly a year old when Clark started work on Black Christmas, yet he resists the urge to make Jess’ pregnancy a moralizing force in the movie. Her pregnancy has no bearing on whether she lives or dies, and only she and Crazy Peter give a shit about it. It’s refreshing to see abortion not take over the entire film (perhaps Steve Miner was taking notes, Bill?).

i’m crazy sensitive, and i will MAKE you love me

Bill: Nah, he was just pussying out.

Fisty: You’re probably right; I mean, it came up like, zero times after it was mentioned. What the hey?

Now, I debated with myself whether the abortion thing might be some of why I don’t like Jess, and I don’t feel that it is. After all, who am I to judge; I did the same myself at her age. She comes across as cold not because she knows she doesn’t have her shit together enough to bring a baby into the world, or because she dismisses Peter’s frankly hysterical and unbalanced reaction, but because she’s a total snore of a person and Olivia Hussey was replaced by a mannequin for this role.

However, Jess’ plight is actually important to the movie. It’s symbolic of that of all the killer’s victims: They are young women venturing out into the great wide world for the first time, and they have a great deal to overcome. Second-wave feminism and women’s lib had young women not simply translating themselves from their parents’ home to that of their husbands, but making their own ways. Instead of the working on their Mrs, the girls of Pi Kappa Sigma have plans for careers–one of the reasons Jess refuses to give in to Peter’s demands (and my god, it is a relief to not see some “trapping a man with pregnancy” thing come up). But because they’re out in the world, in the public sphere, they are also endangered, and that’s the crux of Black Christmas. It juxtaposes the coziness of a family- and hearth-oriented holiday like Christmas with the cold, unreasoning brutality of the Killer. Notice how in virtually every scene there is a nod to the season: crackling fires, candles, wreaths, snow, twinkling lights and decor. The domestic sphere is where he strikes the Pi Kappa Sigmas, and that is where they’ll die; they aren’t hothouse flowers too delicate to survive  outside, but rather a leggy species that thrives on neglect and withers under too much attention. At Christmastime, when other families cozy up and love one another, the Pi Sigma Kappas die in their home, together.

death by unicorn

Where are the Pis (heh heh) threatened and killed? In their home. What is central to the Christmas holiday? Being home. It’s not because they’re out in the world that these girls die; it’s not that they’re being strong, adventurous, or sexually liberated that kills them. They die because we all can die, anywhere and at any time. That’s just how the world is, my friend.

Bill: The Pis manage to die pretty well.  Plastic bags (with the vacuum-sealed corpse placed by an attic window for creepy effect), metal hooks to the face, crystal unicorn stabbings…  It’s creative stuff.  They tend to stick with the Texas Chainsaw model of onscreen murder, using very little blood and gore (or nudity *pout*), instead letting the twisted nature of the killings creep you out rather than gross you out.  In a lesser movie, this might disappoint me, since I love the red stuff, but BC is a solid flick, suspenseful, and works just the way it is.   I’d have loved to have seen Margot’s tatas though …  Sigh.

I want to talk a bit about the end of the movie, so, for those that haven’t seen it or hate spoilers:


Bill: They use Peter as the big red herring of the movie, but, in fact, he just ends up another victim.  The identity of the real killer, Billy, if what he says can be believed, is never revealed.  You never see his face.  You never learn his motives or what he’s talking about when he mentions Agnes or what he and Agnes did.    It’s never even clear if the rape of the townie or the murder of the tween in the park are even related to him at all.  Billy, maybe even more so than The Shape from my lord and savior’s Halloween, is the perfect faceless bogeyman.  He’s crazy and he kills and he’s still out there and that is all there is to it, no spoon-fed explanatory (or even worse, justifying) backstory about flesh-eating bacteria on his face or a vulgar stripper mama.  In the real world, crazy doesn’t always have a reason, killing doesn’t always have a purpose and survivors don’t always get closure.  That, to me, is way scarier than an over-explained, cliche revenge motive.

Fisty: When I first saw Black Christmas back in high school, I wasn’t terribly impressed. In fact, I was infuriated and found it aggravating, in large part due to the ending. It seemed totally ridiculous to me that everyone would just wander off and leave Jess like that–and with The Killer still in the house! I must have been mental, though, because as an adult, it makes perfect sense and that ambiguity works for me. It works HARD. After all, Lt Fuller and the rest of The Authorities have every reason to believe there are no further threats; Peter was evidently the killer, and he’s dead. The doctor states that he’ll stay with Jess until her parents arrive (and presumably Chris, too–there always seems to be a little more going on there than is ever stated), but Mr Harrison’s sudden collapse necessitates his being borne away by the doc and Chris for medical attention. As the camera pans out on the now silent and peaceful house–inhabited by only an unconscious Jess and a Killer–we see a lone police officer standing guard on a Christmas light-festooned porch. The Authorities are doing their job, see? That phone ringing? (He must have made a phone call after each murder.) Nothing to worry about … all is calm, all is bright.

away in a sorority house

Watching that final shot now, as the credits start to roll, I get chickenskin every time. Every. Time.


Bill: Oh, we were supposed to talk about all of that early slasher groundbreaking stuff that everyone else has already said, huh?

Fisty: Pioneering killer POVs, discordant slasher soundtracks, undiscriminating and incomprehensible killers, Black Christmas deserves its reputation as one of the ur-slashers, and makes a delightful seasonal entertainment. It’s smart, cunningly photographed, and genuinely disturbing, and with some of the most iconic images and tropes in American horror, etc etc etc.

Bill: Wow.  You’re good at that.

Fisty: I’m hoping if I get better, I’ll get to bone John Saxon.

sergeant nash, lieutenant fuller, and officer chuckles

Happy Christmas and Merry New Year, everyone!

Strip Nude for Your Killer

are you ready for this giallo?

 Nude per l’assassino
Director: Andrea Bianchi
Released: 1975
Starring: Nino Castelnuovo, Edwige Fenech, Femi Benussi, Solvi Stubing, Franco Diogene, Amanda
Running time: 98 minutes
Genre: giallo, sex comedy?

Naked time!: When a fashion model dies unexpectedly during a backroom abortion, the doctor and the friend who arranged the illegal operation for her cover up the accident. Her body is left in her bathtub, water running, as though she suffered a heart attack while bathing, and the police are non the wiser. But when the doctor is brutally murdered and mutilated, it seems as though someone knows what happened–and is out for revenge.

At the Albatross Modeling Agency, no one takes much notice of a seedy doctor’s murder. Head photographer Carlo (Castelnuovo) is too busy cruising health clubs in his bananahammock, picking up hot chicks and pretending he can make them Milan’s Next Top Model. It’s at the health club that he encounters the luscious Lucia (Benussi), first seducing her in a sauna, then taking her back to Albatross. Art director Magda (Fenech) doesn’t think much of Lucia’s ample charms, but everyone else at the agency is delighted. Working late, Magda surprises Carlo with a display of her own wares–set off by a black lace garterbelt and stockings, naturally. Delighted by Magda’s heretofore unplumbed depths, Carlo offers only token resistance–for her own good, the sole non-chauvinistic moment he has in the film–before succumbing, and the two begin a torrid affair.

Meanwhile, Mario, back at the studio, makes a new print of an Albatross Agency staff photo, showing all the main players of the agency – Mario himself, Magda and Carlo, mustachioed Stefano and his lady Doris, Doris’ tubby admirer Maurizio, husband of Gisella Montani, the agency owner, as well as poor deceased Evelyn.  He leaves, going back to his apartment, unaware that the killer, identity hidden with a motorcycle helmet, is following him.   Before he’s even settled in at home, there’s a knock at the door.  It’s the killer!  … and Mario opens the door and invites the fellow, now only carrying the helmet, in.  OH MY GOD, he knows the killer!  One unexpected (at least by Mario) knifing later, the killer leaves with the print Mario had made at the killer’s request, a handy checklist of people to murder.  The doctor, then Mario, and soon everyone in that photo will, one by one (except for that one twofer), become the victims of a brutal killer’s gory, switchblade revenge.

making a list, checking it twice …

Vehicular attacks, meaningless strangulation, secret lesbian affairs, marital infidelity, attempted rape, a blow-up doll, implied lesbian incest, sexual mutilation, botched abortion, stabbings, stabbings, stabbings, and slicings, more naughty bits than you’ve ever seen in your life, Carlo’s theories on why coffee is better with milk (“It’s bigger molecules. That’s physics.”), and, of course, inept cops … That’s some of the trashy fun gleefully thrown together in Strip Nude for Your Killer, a VERY sleazy giallo/borderline sex comedy by Andrea Bianchi, the director of the horrendously, hilariously bad zombie non-epic Burial Ground: The Nights of Terror.   Unlike Burial Ground, however, most of the fun in Strip Nude is intentional. We think.

Bill: I love Edwige Fenech.  We’re friends on the Facebook, she and I.  Not that that amounts to much.  Everything she posts is in Italian, so I can’t even comment on it, not knowing what she’s even saying.  Stupid, cock-blocking language barrier.  Still, I love her just the same.  I first saw her in Your Vice is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key, where she could only be described, as I read in a book once, as a “calamitous beauty.”  Seeing her in The Case of the Bloody Iris and All the Colors of the Dark really cemented my smittenness with her.  Then I saw Strip Nude for Your Killer. Wowza!  She hadn’t exactly been bashful in those other flicks, but she was so tantalizingly nekkid so frequently in this one that, even though I like her hair less in it and, consequently, don’t think she’s at her hottest, I still spend most of the movie frothing at the mouth.  I pee a little when I think of how many more gialli and sex comedies she’s been in that I’ve still yet to see.  Believe me when I say that Sexy Susan Sins Again and A Police Woman on the Porno Squad are on my list of must-see films.  Edwige, I love you!  … but I still don’t know how to pronounce your name.

i’m a detective!

Fisty: I’d tell you, but I wouldn’t want to lessen her mystery for you. There was a lot of hott nudity in SN4YK. Eli and I knew it was going to be amazing when the DVD menu populated with a topless Edwige, lingerie-clad Amanda (playing Gisella, the agency boss lady), and a totally NUDE Femi Benussi (as luscious Lucia). Titties before the movie even begins to play are always a good sign. The movie is chock full o’ pretty faces and bodies, like Carlo himself, played by Nino Castelnuovo (best known in the States for The Umbrellas of Cherbourg), and the lovely Solvi Stubing, known at the time for her Peroni commercials (though somehow she is often so poorly filmed as Patrizia that she looks terrible and horsey–how is that even possible?). Not everyone is pretty, however. For comic relief we’ve got the portly Maurizio (Franco Diogene)–and yes, we get to see him nude, too.

see? maurizio!

Now while Billy Boy waxes poetic about genre stalwart Edwige Fenech, allow me to call your attention to the delectable Femi Benussi, who we and Carlo first encounter at the health club, moving like the proverbial Jell-O on springs. You might recognize Femi from Bava’s Hatchet for the Honeymoon, Pasolini’s The Hawks and the Sparrows, as well as any number of sex comedies, gialli, and even spaghetti Westerns. I want to make sure to talk my girl here up–not that she doesn’t get enough screentime in SN4YK. Lucia’s a busy little bee; though she seems pretty hapless when she’s picked up by Carlo, she also moves through the ranks pretty quickly at Albatross, leaping from Carlo to Gisella to further her career.

Speaking of Femi, there’s some really fun costuming in SN4YK. Femi’s one of my faves, as when she’s actually wearing clothes (which isn’t that often), she looks as though she’s about to spontaneously burst out of them, like they can hardly contain her Cinerama T&A. Shirts about to slide off, skirts unbuttoned up to her crotch so she can give the police inspectors a little red panty peepshow, it’s all good. Everyone else is largely stylish, too, alternating between big, furry coats and barely there lingerie. And did you check out the killer’s superchic tight black jumpsuit a la What Have They Done to Your Daughters?

how to dress for a police interview

Bill: Oh, yes, Femi is gorgeous.  Her naked lesbian abuse scene with Amanda is fantastic!  And she never puts on any clothes for all the rest of her time in the movie.  I have to wonder if the folks that remade My Bloody Valentine were watching this as inspiration, since that is the only recent movie that I can think of that goes as full out with gratuitous nudity as SN4YK.  The Femi abuse/stalking scene from this and the Betsy Rue sex/stalk/kill scene from MBV3d are actually very similar, though Femi’s body is way better.  Her sauna scene with Carlo made me want to buy a camera and pretend it’s broken.  That Carlo sure is a genius.

Fisty: Carlo is something all right. I’m pretty sure he’s had sex with everyone at Albatross, maybe in Milan, just as a matter of course. Male and female. He’s so ludicrously chauvinistic that he’s impossible to take seriously–and with the way Bianchi veers wildly back and forth between giallo and sex comedy, you never have to.


Bill: Carlo’s funny as hell. And a dick. I’m pretty sure Carlo is just as fucked up as Date Rapist Rick (more Italian inspiration in F13!). I mean, you know it was him that knocked the one girl, Evelyn, up and started the whole mess in the first place, but he just dismisses it.

Fisty: He was not!

Bill: Totally was him, and the killer thinks so too.  He was just the guy whose dick was in EVERYONE.  And he’s even practically accused of being responsible when he brings Lucia and her goodies back to the agency; Patrizia says something about “the other girl” being his fault, too. Plus, look at the other guys at the agency: Mario was gay and Maurizio couldn’t perform.

Fisty: You’re SUCH a literalist. They’re hardly the only men in Milan. I mean, I can see how it could have been Carlo, because after all, his dick IS in EVERYONE. But on the other hand, he’s also totally someone who’d hook a girl up with an abortionist even if he didn’t impregnate her. And he’s such a cockswinging dude that I have a hard time seeing him not boasting about his virility, and being all, “Yeah, I knocked her up–how about I knock you up now, baby?” And when he tells Evelyn’s story he says, “She got herself knocked up.” Of course, there’s a whole lot of feminist dialog you could get into there about the ultimate responsibility for a pregnancy, and misogyny in placing blame upon the woman and not the man as well, etc. And that phrasing could be Carlo deliberately absolving himself of actual responsibility and distancing himself from a situation in which he was intimately involved. But I don’t think that’s where Bianchi is going with this. I don’t think even Bianchi knows where he’s going.

Now, I watched the special feature, Strip Nude for Your Giallo, so I know Massimo Felisatti had a somewhat different movie in mind when he wrote SN4YK, one that Bianchi took and ran with, but in a completely different sleazy sexy comedy direction. But the bones of Felisatti’s story are all there in the plot, providing the subtext to Bianchi’s sleaze. Perhaps Carlo brought Evelyn to the agency, discovering her as he did Lucia, and that’s why he was a particular target for the killer, because he introduced her to the model’s life, putting her in danger from people wanting to use her in various ways. And that’s why the killer is taking revenge upon the entire agency, because it’s the life of a model in the public gaze (male gaze!) that killed Evelyn. That’s Felisatti’s story right there.

her corpsuckles are leaking!

Bill: I’m dancing around here, trying not to reveal too much of the killer or the killer’s reasoning, but remember what someone said at the end about betrayal being part of the motivation?  Who else but Carlo could move a woman like Evelyn to the betrayal that is implied?  That man could probably make my panties drop.

Fisty: Bologna! You have no idea what you’re talking about!

Bill: As for Bianchi, having seen this and Burial Ground–which features a little person of some type playing a small child, suckling at his mother’s teat and trying to bone her out of jealousy over her lover–I’m pretty sure the guy is insane.  Or, at the least, is incapable of any type of sleaze filtering when it comes to his work.  In spite of his craziness though, and regardless of how bad Burial Ground is, I have nothing bad to say about SN4YK.  I mean, I know it’s not, like, high art.  This is not award winning film-making, but for what it is, I have no complaints about it at all.  It’s just really damn fun.  The comedic stuff never fails to get a bit of a chuckle, some of the gore is really nice, especially when it’s on a naked torso (which is more often than not – this film’s name really fits), the direction isn’t that bad at all and Berto Pisano’s music can be happily funky.  I especially loved the piece you hear as the killer drives to the doctor’s house at the beginning.  It reminded me of the pimptastic opening of Seven Blood-Stained Orchids.   And the sexy stuff really opens up your corpsuckles, as Carlo would say.  Even the way the movie flashes to Evelyn, dead in the tub, every time you hear or see a liquid flowing is fine with me.  Just as it begins to get annoying, they do it again and again, then again three more times, until it’s so silly that it becomes comical.  It becomes like the horses whinnying whenever they hear, “Frau Blucher,” in Young Frankenstein.

it’s ART

Fisty: Yeah, I have no complaints about SN4YK; it satisfied every sordid desire I had, and went a little above and beyond in some respects. Tawdry sex and nudity, bloody murders, plenty of eye candy, a little pseudo pathos, and even a somewhat coherent plot (thanks in part to Signor Felisatti). I mean, one can actually follow along and deduce the killer’s identity before  anyone in the film stumbles upon it–though it is just as likely that simple familiarity with gialli makesit easy to deduce. The opening credit music is definitely right behind 7BSO’s in sordid charm, as is the rest of the score. Let’s be honest, though: Most of what makes SN4YK enjoyable is cribbed directly from a dozen other gialli or directors, from vague themes down to plot points, just all mixed up with EVEN MORE gratuitous nudity, sleaze, and silly sex comedy stylings. If there ever were a pastiche of gialli, this is it. It’s not original, but hey, it’s fun.

Actually, my one complaint might lie in the overall look of the movie, which is a little schizophrenic. At times it was great–nothing can top Lucia’s costuming (er, costume, as she was nude pretty much the entire film, God love her), or the seamy glow of the nightclub. But then come moments of horrendously tacky avocado and beige wallpaper freakout in Magda’s apartment. (That flat was pretty nifty in layout, and built out of solid Hideous Kinky.) Bianchi also seems to be leaning toward a color-coded film in places: the blue wash over the abortion death scene and cover-up and blue tints that show up in a few early scenes, contrasting with a vivid scarlet glow in others (though not so much in Carlo’s brightly lit DARKROOM), but the two vivid colors are drowned in the flood of wintry, washed-out greys and beiges of a Milan winter. It would have been nice if the experiment had been carried out to the fullest, but it’s a minor quibble. Besides, I don’t think Bianchi was capable of more. 

a cozy little design horror

Bill: It’s a movie that begins with a botched abortion and cover up and ends with surprise buttsex.  Who could complain about that?  Oh!  Me.  Because I do have one issue with the movie.  My lady, Edwige, plays Magda and Magda, according to Felisatti, was meant to be the lead in this film, but Carlo totally overshadows her.  She’s forced to be the Penny to Carlo’s Inspector Gadget.  It would’ve been nice to see her stand out a little more.

Fisty: To be fair, very few thespians wouldn’t be outshone by Castelnuovo’s Carlo. The dude is happening. But yeah, it’s a shame Edwige’s Magda was so often relegated to an accessory status, a cute girl along for the ride and to add comic relief and titties. Like that scene where she gets tangled up taking off her babydoll chemise. To be fair, I’ve gotten stuck pulling a shirt off before, but there’s really no point to that bit but a snicker and some boobies. And how about the strangling, “Oh, sorry” scene? BUT! We’re over it! We love Strip Nude for Your Killer! And that’s our final word!

surprise chauvinism!

A peek behind the scenes of PB&G’s editorial process:

living0dead0punk: Every time I see it, I hear that silly clang sound effect you hear just before she gasps.
Doctor Kitten Yo: i know!
living0dead0punk: It sounds like a little metal fetus fell out.
Doctor Kitten Yo: it’s like a weird slapstick noise
living0dead0punk: It is!
Doctor Kitten Yo: i expect to hear curly doing that whoopwhoop thing
living0dead0punk: That has got to be the strangest choice of sound effect ever.    we didn’t even mention it.  haha
Doctor Kitten Yo: i know! we’re IDIOTS!