Mystère (1983)

1983 is pretty late for the giallo, but hey — I’ve been trying to expand into the period before and after the major years for the genre.

Also known as Dagger Eyes and Murder Near Perfect, this film was written and directed by the Vanzina brothers, Carlo and Enrico. They loved the 1981 French thriller Diva, a film that moved away from the realist 1970s French cinema to the more colorful style of cinéma du look.

Mystère is divided into chapters, starting with a prologue, then each section is one of the four days that follows, then an epilogue. The producers demanded this happy ending, while the brothers wanted something more cynical.

Mystère (Carole Bouquet, For Your Eyes Only and the face of Chanel No. 5 from 1986 to 1997) is a high class call girl in Rome who comes into the possession of a mysterious lighter when her friend Pamela (Janet Ågren, City of the Living Dead) and one of her customers are killed over it, as inside the lighter are images of a political assassination.

Unlike the normal giallo — or adjacent giallo or whatever this is — the hero, Inspector Colt, ends up killing the assassin (John Steiner, Shock) and his bosses and then leaves behind our heroine, who ends up tracking him down to Thailand and making up with him. He was good with nunchucks, maybe?

I mean, how many movies are you going to see that somehow take the spirit of the good parts of 1970’s giallo, mix in the Zapruder film, throw in some Eurospy and still end up looking like a super expensive perfume ad?

Also — thanks to BodyBoy on Letterboxd who called out that Mystère’s apartment looks like something straight out of Messiah of Evil.

You can watch this on YouTube.

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