Riccardo Freda was the first director of an Italian horror movie, 1956’s I Vampiri. He left the production midway to have it completed by Mario Bava, which he would also do on the film Caltiki – The Immortal Monster. He’s also known for Iguana with the Tongue of Fire, The Horrible Dr. Hichcock and The Ghost.
Before Michael became an actor — when he was but a child — he stabbed his father to death. Today, he’s visiting his mother for the weekend and has brought along his girlfriend Deborah (Silvia Dionisio, Live Like a Cop, Die Like a Man) and the crew of his latest movie. The sins of the past, however, are waiting for all of them.
Martine Brochard (Mannaja), John Richardson (The Church, Frankenstein ’80), Anita Stringberg (who is in everything from A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin to The Case of the Scorpion’s Tail, Who Saw Her Die?, The Antichrist, Almost Human and Your Vice Is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key) and the always welcome Laura Gemser (Black Emanuelle herself!), who is menaced by some of the largest and most fake spiders this side of Fulci.
In the early 70’s, this film’s writer, Fabio Piccioni, wrote a comic book story called The Cry of the Capricorn, which he sold to Dario Argento. Elements of that story would appear in The Bird with the Crystal Plumage and Deep Red.
Piccioni would reuse elements of this story again years later, along with scriptwriters Antonio Cesare Corti and Riccardo Freda, to help create this film, which is also known as Fear and The Wailing.
For what it’s worth, none of the actors recall this picture very fondly. Gemser referred to it as a nightmare and said that Strindberg almost stabbed her with a real knife, while the chainsaw that decapitates Brochard’s character nearly killed the actress.
While this isn’t the best giallo you’ll find, there’s still plenty to enjoy here, even if it’s just ogling Ms. Gemser. There’s also the best reason why the cops don’t get involved — a character says that they meant to call them, but forgot.
This is available from Raro Video and on Amazon Prime.