The Killer Reserved Nine Seats (1974)

To celebrate his birthday, wealthy Patrick Davenant (Chris Avram, The Eerie Midnight Horror ShowEmanuelle in Bangkok) brings his friends to his family’s unused theater — empty for a century, which is how long his family has been cursed, which in no way is taken from The Red Queen Kills Seven Times.

There’s his sister Rebecca (Eva Czemerys, Escape from the Bronx) and her lover — look how ahead of its time Italian giallo in 1974 was — Doris (Lucretia Love, who was in The Arena and the astoundingly titled When Men Carried Clubs and Women Played Ding-Dong). And he’s also decided to bring his ex Vivian (Rosana Schiaffino, once called the Italian Hedy Lamarr) and her new husband Albert (Andrea Scotti, Terror Express), along with Patrick’s daughter Lynn (Paola Senatore, Ricco the Mean MachineEmanuelle in America (1977) and Eaten Alive!; due to an unplanned pregnancy and being hooked on drugs, she ended her career by appearing in an adult film, Non Stop… Sempre Buio in Sala before being arrested for possession and trafficking of drugs) and her boyfriend Duncan (Gaetano Russo, Crazy Blood), as well as Patrick’s fiancee Kim (Janet Agren, City of the Living Dead), her ex-boyfriend Russell (Howard Ross, otherwise known as Renato Rossini, The New York Ripper) and finally, to finish off this cast of gorgeous people who all hate one another, some dude no one can really figure out where he belongs (Eduardo Filpone, Flavia the Heretic).

Oh yeah — there’s also a caretaker played by Luigi Antonio Guerra from Spasmo.

Before you know it, everyone starts getting killed, including one death via stabs to the lady business and their cranium being nailed to a board. You’d think with all this mayhem, the movie would be pretty interesting, but sadly, it drags.

The mysterious stranger — when he’s not looking funky fresh in blue blazer and fancy medallion — is given to saying things like, “You know what I like about you people? … You’re so civil to each other as you tear each other apart.” and “I spent a night here a hundred years ago” and “The actors are present and now the play may start…”

Janet Agren gets to act out a scene from Romeo and Juliet before she dies at least.

You know how people decry American slashers because they punish anyone who enjoys sex or drugs or any behavior deemed aberrant? This movie takes that notion and delivers it in spades. Of course, it also presents sin in all its glory but uses violent death as the square up reel.

This is the last movie that Giuseppe Bennati made. It fits in with post-Argento giallo, but doesn’t add much to the form other than a great title and poster.

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