La puritana (1989)

Act of Revenge is all about Annabella Allori (Margie Newton, Hell of the Living DeadThe Adventures of Hercules) and how she gets revenge for her brother and mother (Francesca Guidato Berger, whose husband Helmut is also in the cast). After opening a law firm in her hometown, people start dying.

And by dying, I mean that this is one of the few giallo — it’s closer to an erotic thriller, but by 1989 obsessives will take what we can get — where the protagonist murders someone with a skillful blowjob. Also: two women make love by pouring tea all over one another, which feels like the most unsexual sapphic moment ever.

Written and directed by Ninì Grassia, Act of Revenge predates the opioid crisis by making a pharmacist the target of revenge. I’m no lawyer, but I’m unsure if Annabella’s scheme couldn’t have been better set for the boardroom than the bedroom, but then we wouldn’t have this movie.

After some time, the giallo gives way to the softcore sexual thriller, a genre that sadly seems like it’s gone away. This isn’t the best example, but at least Newton is wonderful in it.

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