Friday, 13 April 2007

Una Libélula para cada muerto / A Dragonfly for Each Corpse

Though the giallo and spaghetti western are essentially Italian forms, it is easy to forget just how many were co-productions with Spain in particular. And just as there was the odd paella western where the Spanish input was dominant, so there is also the odd giallo that might well be labelled an amarillo instead, like Carlos Aured's Los Ojos azules de la muñeca rota / Blue Eyes of the Broken Doll and this film, together proving that the Italians did not have a monopoly on bizarre titles by any means.

The link in both cases - from his appearance some unkind souls might well say missing link - is weightlifter turned one man horror factory Paul Naschy who, in addition to taking the male lead also performed scripting duties under his given name, Jacinto Molina.

The killer indulges in a spot of tachisme, Tenebrae style

Free hand for a tough cop as Scaporella confronts a pervert

Working once more with Argentinean-born director Leon Klimovsky, the barrel-chested Molina here appears as Inspector Scaporella, a cigar-chomping, moustachoied type who could give Maurizio Merli a run for his money in the perpetually angry cop stakes – until that is, he then blows his tough-guy credentials somewhat by donning an apron and preparing dinner for his wife Silvana.

One of the killer's calling cards

The loving couple - Naschy and his cigar, oh and Blanc as well

Two of Silvana's friends and possible suspects / victims

She is played by Erica Blanc who, as just about the only Italian amongst the cast and crew, was perhaps in there for business rather than artistic reasons; if so, however, this strategy apparently did not work insofar as the film was not released in Italy.

Oddly in this regard the location is actually an Italian one, with the city of Milan suffering the attentions of mysterious Dragonfly Killer. He or she – the red flares that offset the otherwise de rigeur black gloves and jacket add a deliberate element of ambiguity – is killing off various degenerates and low-lifes in an apparent clean-up-the-city type crusade.

The killer is on the phone

The girl who knew too much

Scaporella himself doesn't seem to mind, but the higher-ups want results, especially after the killer takes out three hippies one of whom happens to be the son of the police chief.

This time, however, there is at least another clue besides the trademark artificial dragonfly that the killer leaves on each of his victims: a button.

Not just any button, however, but a quality, "high-fashion" type button - "craftsmanship," explains Scaporella.

Yes, having an aspiring designer as a wife has its advantages, especially when she is so much smarter than Scaporella and associates with the kind of people who can tell him that the killer's modus operandi is reminiscent of the ancient sect of the Caldeans. They apparently had a policy of marking out prostitutes, homosexuals and other deviants with Dragonflies, you see.

The only problem is that Silvana's investigation is also the type that, being more likely to unmask the killer, is all the more dangerous....

Though a pan and scan badly dubbed VHS sourced copy is hardly the best way to experience A Dragonfly for Each Corpse, I can't see myself desperately seeking out the recent Spanish-language only DVD just in case it is classic that has been lost in translation.

The stripper who does the Belle de Jour style coffin routine

Rather, on the evidence here, it falls squarely into the trashy, campy so-bad-its-good category whether through Naschy's enjoyable over-the-top performance; Blanc's frequent and ever-more outrageous costume changes; the use of where-have-I-heard-this-before musical cues from A Bay of Blood, Blood and Black Lace and some unidentified spaghetti western (all simply credited to CAM Espana); quotably bad dialogue and sleazily contrived situations like the stripper / prostitute whose client requires her to play dead or the group of Nazi biker types who attack Scarporelli in a subplot.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

También destacado film de Naschy, la coproducción lusoespañola "Disco Rojo", 1973