Phantom of Death (1988)

Ruggero Deodato, how I love you. I love that you somehow convinced a real actor, Michael York, to be in an insane film about a man getting progeria way past its due date and murdering people left and right. I can get how you got Donald Pleasence. I can even sort of understand how you got Edwige Fenech. But Michael York?

York plays Robert Dominici, a pianist who suffers from that previously mentioned genetic condition that causes him to rapidly age, and by that, I mean that his face starts looking like Klaus Kinski. To make up for the bad hand he’s been dealt, he starts killing people and targeting Inspector Datti ‘s (Pleasence) daughter Gloria.

Deodato would later say, “I did Phantom of Death because it was based on a true element — the idea of growing old. And I got to work with Michael York and Donald Pleasence.” He also threw in that the producer demanded Fenech, who was miscast. This is also one of the few movies where she isn’t dubbed, so you get to hear her real voice.

Made after The Barbarians, this was Deodato’s last film. That makes me sadder than anything in this movie.

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