Saturday, 3 February 2007

Eroticofollia / The Evil Eye

Roman playboy Peter Crany (Jorge Rivero) finds himself suffering from extraordinarily vivid dreams, in which the members of a mysterious sect try to compel him to commit murder.

At a fashion show a woman, Yvonne Chevrel, confides to Peter that she has been experiencing similar visions, that culminate in his murdering her. They go away together and the nightmare apparently becomes reality as Yvonne indeed wakes up dead.

Unsure of what is going on, Peter seeks the help of psychiatrist Dr Stone (Eduardo Fajardo), with whose assistant, Turino (Eva Vanicek) he quickly falls in love, all but forgetting his beautiful girlfriend Targa (Daniela Giordano).

While Peter and Turino leave for her family's (quiet) place in the country in the hope of getting away from it all, Inspector Ranieri (Anthony Steffen) pursues the playboy whose friends and acquaintances do indeed appear to be exhibiting a rather higher than average mortality rate…

This is definitely one of the odder gialli out there. While a number of filone entries, like Emilio P. Miraglia's The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave and The Lady in Red Kills Seven Times, flirt with supernatural horror before eventually resolving things naturalistically, usually in terms of a conspiracy to drive a victimised protagonist to their death whereby the supernatural serves as alibi for a perfect crime, comparatively few pursue a supernatural direction throughout. Fewer still, with Francesco Barilli's The Perfume of the Lady in Black being one obvious exception – albeit as a film operating at a far superior level of quality to this one – becoming more confusing and enigmatic as they progress in the manner that Eroticofollia does.

Consequently it's not particularly surprising that the film – AKA The Evil Eye, foregrounding the notion of the mal occhio and suggesting a tenuous connection with Bava's seminal film of the same alternate English-language title – works best in terms of set pieces and bizarre imagery, even if some moments, like the opening orgy/black mass dream sequence, are more effective than others, such as the various objects that act of their own volition where the lack of resources to match The Exorcist is often all too apparent and leads more to laughter than terror.

On the plus side, the film has an attractive cast, with eye-candy for everyone regardless of orientation and preference; a cool Stelvio Cipriani score; plenty of groovy fashions – Rivero's shiny brown suit a particularly taste(ful|less) example; and a foregrounded J&B bottle.

There are some things you can rely on, no matter how weird a giallo might get.

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