Death Laid an Egg (1968)

Let me put it out there right now: This movie is completely insane.

Let me see if I can summarize it.

A high tech chicken farm is trying to create birds that have no heads or bones. A love triangle develops between the three people who run it: Anna (international sex symbol and the photojournalist who was one of the first to interview Fidel Castro, Gina Lollobrigida), her prostitute killing husband Marco and their secretary Gabriella (Ewa Aulin, the near goddess who appeared in films like Candy and Death Smiles on a Murderer).

Yes. Headless and boneless chickens, all inside a fashionable proto giallo filled with sex and murder. You better believe I’m all over this movie.

Director Giulio Questi was also behind Django Kill… If You Live, Shoot! and Arcana, two movies that I must investigate immediately if this movie is any indication. I’ve seen this movie explained as a “socio-politically sophisticated avant-garde giallo,” which is pretty much the best way I can think of telling you what it’s all about. It’s also around 40 years ahead of its time yet blissfully stuck in 1968.

Despite being Anna’s cousin, Gabri hooks up with her husband and they debate running away together. However, Gabri is already married to Mondaini and their plan is to kill Anna and frame  Marco. There’s also the issue of Anna wanting to have something special and strange with Marco, which instead of being a child, ends up being these Eraserhead-ish chicken balls that scream and bleed worms when he kills them.

When Marco discovers his wife’s body in a hotel room, he cleans the scene up and brings her body to the farm to turn it into chicken feed. That’s when we learn his big secret: he doesn’t really kill prostitutes, but instead role plays the murder and sends them away with plenty of cash. But then, as he tries to feed his wife into the machine, he falls in just as the police arrive to catch him disposing of the body. Gabri and Mondaini are eventually caught as we watch the chickens chow down on human food. Nothing good is gonna come out of that. I mean, poultry that feeds on human flesh seems like way worse than any steroids or hormones.

I’ve never seen a movie that straddles being an art film, a drug film, a murder mystery story and science fiction examination of man trying to change nature along with psychedelic film techniques and non-linear editing techniques. It’s also a satire of the highest order. I have no idea why people aren’t constantly discussing this movie and I’m going to do my best to drive people nuts talking about it over and over again.

Cult Epics just released this film, which you can get on their site or on Diabolik DVD.

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