Mirada De Cristal feels like it was made in 1987, influenced by 1970 and filled with neon, sleaze and murderous intent. In other words, it was exactly what I was looking for. Directed by Argentina natives, co-directors and co-writers Ezequiel Endelman and Leandro Montejano, this takes place in Buenos Aires in 1985. As the fashion world mourns a year without supermodel Alexis Carpenter (Camila Pizzo), who died one night after a backstage rampage that saw her take the eye of a makeup girl named Barbara (Valeria Giorcelli), do tons of coke and then get burned alive on the catwalk after she douses the lights with champagne.
Now, fashion editor Lucia L’uccello (Silvia Montanari) must choose between two supermodels — Eva Lantier (Anahí Politi) and Irene del Lago (Erika Boveri) — to honor the lost Alexis on the cover of her magazine. However, the night before the shoot, the dress for the cover image disappears, soon to be followed by the deaths of anyone connected to the magazine and that night, all at the hands of a masked diva who wears a long leather coat and strikes poses as they kill, baby, kill.
This is a film that understands the giallo obsession with duality, frequently showing characters in matched costumes when two people appear on-screen at the same time. It also isn’t shy about its influences, with a Hitchcock book in a desk drawer, a setting borrowed from Blood and Black Lace, a set that echoes Suspiria, a blind man named Lucio and a black cat sharing the name Decker with the feline in Mas Negro Que La Noche. It’s also filled with smoke and neon, probably more than you’ve seen since Cinemax stopped showing smut after midnight on Fridays.
While this looks and feels like a giallo — hell, it even literally has a bird with crystal plumage kill someone — it doesn’t feel slavish to the genre but instead a celebration of it, as well as later entries like Tenebre, Dressed to Kill and Delirium.