VINEGAR SYNDROME BLU RAY: Nothing Underneath/Too Beautiful to Die (1985/1988)

EDITOR’S NOTE: We originally featured Nothing Underneath and Too Beautiful to Die on June 17, 2020 and December 28, 2017. We’re beyond thrilled that Vinegar Syndrome is releasing these on an amazing double blu ray set, as we need more 80s giallo to come out in the U.S.! Here’s to someday getting Obsession: A Taste for Fear in the same format soon!

Vinegar Syndrome has amazingly released both of these films on a double disk set, making them look way more gorgeous than the battered bootlegs I’ve relied on for years. There are two commentary tracks for Nothing Underneath (The Hysteria Continues! and Rachael Nesbit) along with interviews with screenwriters Enrico Vanzina and Franco Ferrini, composer Pino Donaggio and actor Tom Schanley. Too Beautiful to Die has a commentary by Nesbit and an interview with writer/director Dario Piana, as well as storyboards for an alternate ending and deleted scenes.

Nothing Underneath (1985): I really like 1988’s Too Beautiful to Die, a movie that was sold as a sequel to this movie. They don’t have much to do with one another, but when has that ever stopped the Italian exploitation industry?

A serial killer roams the city of Milan, dispatching gorgeous models with the flash of his scissors. Meanwhile, Yellowstone Park ranger Bob Crane senses that his sister needs him, so he flies across the world to interact with the rich and famous. Can he save her? Will he be targeted by the killer? Will Donald Pleasence ever say no to a movie?

The first time I saw this, I didn’t like it all that much as the sequel is just so strong. But after some rewatches, I’ve come to appreciate it, as this is a movie that features the man who was Loomis eating a meal at the Wendy’s salad bar.

Too Beautiful to Die (1988): I came across this film on YouTube and had no idea what I’d be watching. I’d give it five minutes and then be done with it, I said. And then I realized that the film was nearly over and I’d been quite interested in the proceedings. Life’s funny like that.

Written and directed by Dario Piana, this sequel to Nothing Underneath is the only giallo I’ve seen that has both Huey Lewis and the News and Frankie Goes to Hollywood (you got close, Body Double) on the soundtrack. A major point of the film is that the models are trying to put together a video for Frankie’s “Warriors of the Wasteland!”

Let me see if I can summarize this one quickly for you. A fashion agency is shooting videos that feel very BDSM and feature really long, intricate daggers. Those models are all prostitutes, except for one, who won’t give in and have sex with an old man in a whirlpool, so everyone rapes and kills her. Her car goes off a cliff, but an autopsy proves that she was shot in the head first. That said — everyone who was there starts getting killed, one by one.

Some of the death scenes are really well shot and the murder weapon is quite insane looking. One of the murders, with a model falling off a large building into water, looks particularly good.

BONUS!

Sotto il vestito niente – L’ultima sfilata (2011): There’s a goofy part of me that loves Nothing Underneath and Too Beautiful to Die because they’re trying to keep the giallo alive in the sad dry years of the mid 80s before everyone realized that they could make money making Basic Instinct and Cinemax After Dark clones because hey, those movies are just giallo with less style and verve.

I have no idea want this other than me, much less greenlit it and gave them the kind of budget that let them shoot all over Europe, have a great look and even get Lady Gaga on the soundtrack. Then again, Too Beautiful had Huey Lewis and the News, Toto and Frankie Goes to Hollywood while Nothing Underneath had Murray Head and Gloria Gaynor, so there you go.

Rest in peace, Carlo Vanzina. You made two fashion gialli and they’re both ridiculous and I love them. Shout out to Dario Piana, who went from making Too Beautiful to directing The Death of Ian Stone and a Lost Boys direct to video sequel. Please come back to giallo and making another movie with a ridiculous sword weapon.

Even better, this was written by Franco Ferrini, whose Eyes of Crystal is a great latter day giallo, as well as The Stendhal SyndromeDial: HelpOperaPhenomena and Red Rings of Fear, speaking of a third film in a giallo trilogy that no one realizes is a trilogy. He was joined by Enrico Vanzina, who worked with him back on Nothing Underneath.

Anyways, let’s get to this one. The first big surprise is that Richard E. Grant is in this. He plays stylist Federico Marinoni, who is enjoying big success at the Milan Fashion Festival along with his partner Max Liverani and their top model Alexandra Larsson. But there ends up being a murder, the wrong people see the bodies and the intrigue begins.

This isn’t part of the Vinegar Syndrome release of the first two films, so I had to get a non-subbed version off a Russian site that had a Soviet translator screaming the dialogue over the Italian soundtrack, which is a very disorienting way to enjoy cinema.

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