The Perfume of the Lady In Black (1974)

I wish that Francesco Barilli had made more giallo. His two additions to the genre as a director, Hotel Fear and The Perfume of the Lady In Black, are both movies that descend into insanity and grapple with the issues of their female protagonists being abused until they violently turn the tables on their tormentors. He also wrote Who Saw Her Die?, another example that doesn’t follow the Argento giallo format.

Sylvia (Mimsy Farmer, AutopsyThe Black CatBody Count) is an industrial scientist who is trying to deal with a series of flashbacks related to the suicide of her mother — the literal lady in black, whose scent has haunted Sylvia since she was a child — and nearly every single person around her, each of whom want to kill her or use her or watch her or just — look, reality is out the window.

Imagine Rosemary’s Baby filtered through the Italian horror sensibility and the way that the 1970’s ended every movie with tragedy and you have some idea of this film. By the end of the movie, Sylvia’s hallucinations include a tea party filled with dead bodies and her own self as a child, who begins to tell her what to do.

Man, all movies should be this good. The ending was so disquieting that I’m still disturbed by it. You should do yourself a favor and watch it right now.

You can get it from Raro Video USA.

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