Armando Crispino really only did two horror films, 1972’s The Dead Are Alive and this 1975 giallo, which is a shame, as this is a pretty decent entry in the genre. Known in Italy as Macchie Solari (Sunspots), it does indeed feature sunspot footage from space before we see any major murders. And if you’re looking for a movie packed with autopsy footage, good news. It totally lives up to its title.
Simona Sana (Mimsy Farmer, who is also in Argento’s Four Flies on Grey Velvet and The Perfume of the Lady in Black) is a pathology student who is trying to work on a theory about suicides, one that’s disputed by a young priest, Father Paul, whose sister — Simona’s dad’s latest fling — has recently killed herself. It turns out there’s been a whole series of self-killings which are being blamed on, you guessed it, sunspots.
I mean, what can you say about a movie that starts with several of said suicides, like sliced wrists, a self-induced car explosion and a man machine gunning his kids before turning the gun on himself? Obviously, this is a rather grisly affair, with real corpse photos spread — quite literally — throughout the film.
In between all of the gore, corpse penises, two bodies falling to their deaths and crime museums, there’s also Ray Lovelock (The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue) as Simona’s boyfriend, an out there Morricone score and a heroine who hallucinates that the dead are coming back to life.
The plot gets pretty convoluted, but if you’re on this site, you obviously appreciate films like this and will get past it. This is an Italian 70’s murder movie, though, so if you get easily upset about the way men behave, well, be forewarned.