La Orca (1976)

After Patty Hearst — and The Last House on the Left — movies where young women were kidnapped kind of became a thing. This adjacent giallo tells the story of one such girl named Alice (Rena Niehaus, who could really pick them, between this movie, its sequel, Angel: Black Angel and Damned In Venice) who is taken against her will by three men, kept in an abandoned house and forced to write a ransom letter. One of the men, Michele (Michele Placido, Tulpa) falls in love with her and she’s able to use that to stay alive.

The other two are played by Flavio Bucci (Daniel the piano player from Suspiria) and Bruno Corazzari (Live Like a Cop, Die Like a Man). It’s director, Eriprando Visconti, would go from great commercial successes to major flops, all while funding his own films. He was married to a princess, so maybe that had something to do with it.

For a movie that is sold on sex, this has some of the most unerotic scenes ever filmed. That was Visconti’s idea, as he didn’t want to glamorize the act. But then, you know, he made an exploitation movie about it…and then made the sequel, Oedipus Orca, which shows what happens after this ordeal, including Alice trying to seduce her mother’s ex-lover who is really her father. And that man is played by Visconti.

Oh Italian film. You never cease to astound me.

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