Don’t Be Afraid of Aunt Martha is the translation of this title, which makes me wonder, in a week where I also watched Sometimes Aunt Martha Does Dreadful Things and Marta, is the name cursed?
Also known as Murder Secret, this Mario Bianchi written and directed movie had one of those presented by Lucio Fulci* titles on it. Bianchi also directed Satan’s Baby Doll under the name Alan W. Cools and Kill The Poker Player as Frank Bronston. Later, he’d move into adult** under the aliases Martin White, Nicholas Moore, David Bird and Tony Wanker. To add to that, he also wrote the well-regarded giallo The Weapon, The Hour and The Motive.
One of six movies that Fulci edited — cannibalized, I guess — for Cat in the Brain***, this is closer to slasher than giallo and only really comes alive when the bloody murders kick in, which is really why you hire Fulci, I guess.
Richard Hamilton (Gabriele Tinti****, Emanuelle in America, Endgame) gets a letter from Aunt Martha (Sacha Darwin, Voices from Beyond), who he has not seen in decades and who his family has written off as dangerously psychotic. So he does what you and I would by bringing his enire family —Georgia (Jessica Moore, D’Amato’s Eleven Days, Eleven Nights and its sequel), Charles, Maurice and Nora, his wife — to visit Martha at her estate.
The only person they find there is her caretaker Thomas (Maurice Poli, Five Dolls for an August Moon), who seems kindly but you know, this is an Italian gore movie, so no one is all that nice. The murders begin pretty much immediately.
Betraying the other films that Bianchi made, the nude shower scene goes on forever and is even stranger because although the daughter is an adult, she acts like she is 15. She’s somehow luckier than the youngest child, who runs directly into a chainsaw, and at that point, I thought to myself, “Well, now I can’t give this a bad review.”
The end of this movie is complete fake-out junk and therefore is wonderful. Also, big points for somehow getting Tinti to slowly kiss the maggot spewing corpse of his long dead aunt before getting into a slapfight with Poli.
You can watch this on YouTube.
*He also helped Fulci with the horrible Sodoma’s Ghost.
**In 2001, he released John Holmes vs. Ilona Staller, which is stranger because it has Ron Jeremy in it, plus it was released 13 years after Holmes’ death and didn’t use Staller’s more famous Cicciolina name.
****The rare four asterisk footnote is just for me to tell you that even thought Tinti has passed on, I still am jealous that he was married to Laura Gemser.