I get it — 1977 is late for the category and Ferdinando Baldi is better known for making weird westerns — like Get Mean and Blindman with Tony Anthony, not to mention two 3D movies with the very same actor, Comin’ At Ya! and Treasure of the Four Crowns — than giallo. But hey. when you’re trying to watch every one of them made, you watch them all.
Known in Italy as A Scream in the Night, in Spain as Death Comes From the Past and Nine Guests for a Crime in other markets, this movie follows the Agatha Christie model of nine people — wow the title actually is logical — showing up on an island that has a killer stalking about.
Well, get this. There are thirteen murders in a movie with nine guests, so how about that?
A wealthy family has departed for a two-week break at their private island estate, which primarily involves plenty of balling, as The Pink Angels trailer would say. Ubaldo (Arthur Kennedy, who won a Best Supporting Actor Tony for Death of a Salesman and was nominated for five Oscars before making movies like The Humanoid, The Sentinel, Cyclone and being one of the worst cops ever in The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue) has taken his new wife Giulia (Caroline Laurente, who played three different roles in Emmanuelle 2, 3 and 7) along with his sister Elizabeth (Dania Ghia, Seven Deaths in the Cat’s Eye), his sons Michele (Massimo Foschi, Holocaust 2000) and his wife Carla (Sofia Dionisio, Live Like a Cop, Die Like a Man), Walter (Venantino Venantini, Beast in Space) and his bride Patrizia (Loretta Persichetti) and Lorenzo (John Richardson, Black Sunday) and Greta (Rita Silva, Gunan, King of the Barbarians).
Michele has been doing two-person pushups with his stepmother. Walter has been threading the needle with Greta. But then Baldi goes from ripping off Bava’s Five Dolls for an August Moon — which yes, is also a Christie pastiche — into full A Bay of Blood and even the supernatural theory that Elizabeth’s dead lover Carlo is back from the dead (and the Tarot reading sequence, which gets stolen even better in Antropophagus).
This movie has reminded me that I want nothing to do with rich people or island vacations. Nothing ever works out and I’d rather stay alive and undramatic for the short period I do have left in this dimension.