Nude per l’assassino
Director: Andrea Bianchi
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!