Mill Creek Sci-Fi Invasion Box Set: Galaxina: Take 2 (1980)

EDITOR’S NOTE: We previously reviewed this movie on December 20, 2019, as part of our “Star Wars Month” of the films that influenced and were inspired by the franchise. Herbert P. Caine the pseudonym of a frustrated academic and genre movie fan in Pennsylvania – gives us his take on the film for its inclusion Mill Creek’s Sci-Fi Invasion 50-film pack. Either way you look at it: it’s a flawed film that we enjoy and wonder how it even got made in the first place.

Galaxina is a comedy with no laughs, a sex farce with no titillation, and a star vehicle with an absent star. As a science fiction movie, it reminds one of nothing so much as a black hole, sucking up all talent and effort that its cast and crew may have thrown at it. In short, it is a terrible movie.

Galaxina traces the adventurers of the crew of the Infinity, a police cruiser patrolling the galaxy and weakly attempting to maintain order. The ship is captained by one Cornelius Butt, played by Avery Schreiber. (Get it? His name is Butt! The film reminds us of this every few minutes!) However, the real power running the ship is the comely android Galaxina, played by the ill-fated Playboy Playmate of the Year Dorothy Stratten. This hyper-advanced AI can run an entire starship, yet is unable to speak. The plot meanders for a good half hour or so until the crew receives orders to retrieve the Blue Star, a MacGuffin that grants incredible power.

There are numerous flaws in this film to discuss, but perhaps the most glaring is its almost complete lack of humor. William Sachs, the writer and director of this film simply did not know how to pull off a joke. In many cases, the “joke” consists of nothing more than referencing another movie. For example, early on, we hear the theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey, only to reveal Captain Butt walking down a hallway. There is no real joke, just a 2001 reference. Now, references can actually be funny if they are done well; consider the Jaws reference at the beginning of Airplane!, which came out the same year as Galaxina. However, there needs to be a punchline to it, or at least some wit.

Galaxina does manage a few humorous bits which land, but they are few and far between. All too often, it drags out sketches for too long, as in an extended dinner scene involving an egg. Although the scene leads up to a parody of Alien which draws a few chuckles, it takes over five minutes to get to the point, stretching things out and boring the audience.

The film also fails as a sex comedy. Although the poster, which features a busty Galaxina, seems to imply that the film will have a good amount of sex and nudity, the movie itself fails to deliver. The only real nudity in the film comes via a holographic message the crew receives in which a secretary flashes them for thirty seconds. Although much of Galaxina’s sex appeal comes from the presence of Dorothy Stratten, the most you’ll get in this regard is a scene in which she wears a French maid outfit.

Galaxina is mainly remembered as being a star vehicle for the late Dorothy Stratten, who was murdered by her estranged husband approximately two months after its release. Many modern viewers are likely to seek out this film solely because of the presence of Stratten. However, even on the level of showing off a rising actress, the film fails. For roughly the first half of the movie, Stratten has no dialogue, as the android is mute until she programs herself to speak. In the few scenes she has in the first half, all she does is walk around and look pretty. There is no real opportunity to develop any interest in her character, and by the time the character develops the ability to talk in the second half, the viewer has already lost interest. A mute android has no real charisma; the character is as empty and vapid as the film itself.

Mill Creek Sci-Fi Invasion: Horror High (1973)

Editor’s Note: This review previously ran on May 8, 2018.

When horror movies have socially maladjusted kids getting abused by popular football players while showing how attractive girls can still fall for them, they’re playing directly to their demographic. How many fright fans felt the same way or endured the same stings and arrows as the hero of this film?

Everybody beats the shit of Vernon. His fellow students hate him. His teachers despise him. Even the janitor. His only friend is Robin (Rosie Holotik, Nurse Charlotte from Don’t Look in the Basement), who is dating the main football player who abuses him. And his other friend, the mouse known as Mr. Mumps? Well, he’s taking a mind-altering potion that Vernon’s developed that makes the little fella super violent. In fact, it makes him so brutal that it kills the janitor’s cat, who flips out and smashes the little fellow and forces Vernon to drink his own potion.

Pat Cardi, the actor who played Vernon, was a busy child star, playing in over 100 TV shows and appearing as a young chimp in Battle for the Planet of the Apes. He grew up to create and found MovieFone, which in the pre-internet days was how people discovered what films were playing in theaters.

Austin Stoker (Assault on Precinct 13Abby) plays the detective who comes into the school once Vernon starts killing. The murder scenes form a proto-slasher vibe while the music is crazy, with primal power chords accentuating big moments (think the guitar sound from the Torso trailer). It also features Pittsburgh Steelers star “Mean” Joe Greene in a small role. If you live here in the Steel City, you need no introduction to Mean Joe. If you live elsewhere, he’s the player who threw a jersey to the kid in the Coca-Cola commercial. He’s also in The Black Six, one of the first all-black biker films, along with other NFL names like Gene Washington, Mercury Morris, Lem Barney, Willie Lanier and Carl Eller. Of course, we’ll be getting to this movie very soon. But until then, savor Joe in that Coke commercial:

At heart, this is a Jekyll & Hyde story (it’s Carrie before Carrie, too) but told as if it were a 1950’s teen monster movie refilmed through a 1970’s doom-laden lens. Its script comes from Jack Fowler, who is really J.D. Feigelson, writer of Wes Craven’s Chiller and Dark Night of the Scarecrow.

The film — also known as The Twisted Brain — was shot in Texas and released by Crown International in March of 1974 to the drive-in circuit. It really picked up its cult cache thanks to frequent TV airings. Code Red put out an uncut version on blu-ray in 2009, following a Rhino release of the TV version of the film. They’re both rather hard to get now, but worth seeking out. I found myself really liking this film, despite its budget and relative silliness at times.

Want to learn more? The new issue of Drive-In Asylum has an interview with director Larry Stouffer and some artwork from me that you can see here!

Mill Creek Sci-Fi Invasion: Robo Vampire (1988)

Have you ever wondered what a hybrid of John Carpenter’s Big Trouble in Little China (1986; a bigger hit in the Pacific Rim territories than in the U.S.) and Paul Verhoeven’s Robocop (1987) would look like?

Welcome to this Pacific Rim exploitation oddity that out-cheaps the crowned King we hail that is Cirio H. Santiago (Demon of Paradise, Fighting Mad, Firecracker, The Sisterhood, Stryker, Wheels of Fire) and his crowned prince, Jun Gallardo (Desert Warrior).

Robo Vampire is one of the 150 films from the joint ouvre of director Joe Livingstone and screenwriter Willie Palmer, aka Godfrey Ho; he, the master of B-movie Hong Kong action disasters, he, the master of the “cut-and-paste” technique with a finesse and skill that leads one to wonder how in the hell he got a job teaching filmmaking — to others — at Hong Kong Polytech. But, as with Roger Corman, during his 25 years of making genre films in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and the Philippines, Ho’s mostly Z-grade movies never lost a dime.

And like Corman and Santiago before him, Ho was a stock footage recycling fetishist that not only cannibalized his own films, but the films of others. Not content with endlessly patching one of his own movies into another to create a “new” movie (or two or three), he’d purchase unfinished and unreleased Asian, Chinese, Filipino, and Thai films, then add Caucasian actors to appeal to the Euro and American home video markets, and, through dubbing and voice-overs, assemble a “plot” with the barest of coherence — you know, like when Niels Rasmussen took William Chang’s Calamity of Snakes and churned out The Serpent Warriors as “John Howard” (nope, again: not the John Howard of Spine fame).

In the case of Robo Vampire, it all begins with Ho’s 1987 action film, Devil’s Dynamite, which, after the “success” of Robo Vampire, became, Robo Vampire 2: Devil’s Dynamite (1990). But, if you’re keeping track, Robo Vampire itself features footage from Devil’s Dynamite. So it’s the same film . . . but it’s a sequel . . . and it’s not. And it’s confusing as hell to figure which is the chicken and which is the friggin’ egg . . . or if we have three films or two films — with one film simply retitled to make it look like three films.

Anyway, Devil’s Dynamite is a straight forward good guys vs. bad drug gang movie that owes it debt to John Carpenter: It concerns a top secret agent, aka “The Shadow Warrior,” sent to stop a drug smuggling operation in The Golden Triangle. But a drug lord burnt a voodoo doll and chanted a spell in a crypt that revived a hoard of bloodthirsty, hoping vampires (yes, they hop like bunny rabbits)* that shoot flesh-eating smoke n’ sparks from their hands to defend the operation. And apparently, the once long-sleeping vampires are the stuff of legend, as kids at a birthday party play a sick version of pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey — with the blindfolded birthday girl being chased by a kid pretending he’s one of the hoping vampires.

Then Verhoeven had to go and make Robocop.

So Devil’s Dynamite is recut into a story about Tom Wilde, a murdered narcotics agent given a second chance via an experiment that transforms him into a cyborg. His mission: rescue Sophie, a beautiful undercover agent (from the first film) kidnapped by the evil drug lord, Mr. Young, and his hoard of hoping, somersaulting-and-back flipping vampires.

Then Robo Vampire had to go and make bank.

So, Robo Vampire and Devil’s Dynamite are recut again — with a whole new “Robo Cop” costume (because the other cheapo suit probably fell apart in the first film) — as Robo Vampire 2: Devil’s Dynamite. At least that’s what we think is going on here. So it goes in the world of the cheap-jack Indonesian cinema we love at B&S About Movies.

You can watch Robo Vampire and Robo Vampire 2: Devil’s Dynamite on You Tube and have your own copy of Robo Vampire as part of the Mill Creek Sci-Fi Invasion Box Set. Wait . . . what’s this? Godfrey’s oeuvre — well, 36 of them, including Robo Vampire — have been digitized for TubiTV? How many films can you watch with the words “Ninja,” “Snake,” “Dragon,” and “Thunderbolt” in them? When it’s Godfrey Ho . . A LOT!

* We can take a poke at Willie Palmer, aka Godfrey Ho, and joke about bunny vampires; however, those vamp-rabbits aren’t from cinematic ineptitude: they’re from Chinese legend: the Qing Dynasty legends of the Jiangshi (meaning “hard or “stiff”), which first appeared in print 1789 through the literary visions of writer Ji Xiaolan. Director Yeung Kung-Leung was the first to bring the Jiangshi to the big screen with 1936’s Midnight Vampire.

About the Author: You can learn more about the writings of R.D Francis on Facebook. He also writes for B&S About Movies.

Mill Creek Sci-Fi Invasion: Raiders of Atlantis (1983)

Editor’s Note: This review previously ran on August 20, 2018.

This is the first VHS tape I ever rented. It was 1983. Prime Time Video had just opened. And the tape box promised delights we’d never dreamt of before. I was thinking this was going to be the best parts of Raiders of the Lost Ark and Mad Max. And wow, was I disappointed. But how would I feel 35 years later?

After trying to raise a Russian sub, the descendants of Atlantis attack our heroes, but they look a whole lot like punk bikers from an Italian post-apocalyptic movie. Which they totally are. Our heroes have to uncover the secret of Atlantis and stop them before they take over the world.

Christopher Connelly is Mike, our main hero. You may recognize him from Benji or TV’s Peyton Place. Or more likely, you know him from Manhattan Baby or 1990: The Bronx Warriors.

Plus, there’s Gioia Scola (Conquest), Tony King (The Toy), Stefano Mingardo (Blastfighter), George Hilton (The Case of the Bloody Iris), Ivan Rassimov (need I regale you with my love of his films?) and a young Michele Soavi before he became a director!

I’ll be super honest. This movie is a complete piece of shit. There are moments of greatness, such as whenever Crystal Skull appears or when a corpse keeps turning a jukebox off and on. I wanted to love this movie as a child and I wanted to love it even more as an adult. But sadly, that love never filled my heart.

There are people that love this film. And I get it. I like Ruggero Deodato. I just can’t get into this movie.

You can watch it for free with an Amazon Prime membership, so maybe you might have a totally different point of view!

Mill Creek Sci-Fi Invasion: Fugitive Alien (1987)

Who would think that Tsuburaya Productions, a Japanese television production company on the other side of the world, would be responsible for most of my fondest childhood memories. . . .

Courtesy of VideoCollector.co.uk

Every morning, before heading off to school, I watched back-to-back episodes of the animes Marine Boy and Speed Racer — and Tsuburaya’s live action Ultra Man. Then, on the weekends: it was adventures of the “Mighty-Go” flying submarine on Tsuburaya’s Mighty Jack.

So obsessed was I with the adventures of the SSSP (Science Special Search-Party) crew on Ultraman, my dad rigged two transistor radios to the sides of my plastic Baltimore Colts football helmet and, with a dyed-orange tee-shirt courtesy of mom, I ran around the backyard like a madman, zapping away with my battery-operated ray gun. Mom even made me a Marine Boy wristcom. I even recorded “mission logs” on a table top reel-to-reel deck that looked like the computers on Ultraman. Awesome times.

So, it goes without saying: If I had the opportunity to meet television producer and distributor Sandy Frank (Time of the Apes), I’d blabber incomprehensible, tear-filled “thank yous” for those memories — for he was the man responsible for bringing Tsuburaya’s catalog to U.S. UHF-TV stations.

And even when I became “too old” to watch Frank-imported cartoons with my bowl of Fruity Pebbles, I stuck by Sandy Frank during my Star Wars-driven teen years when he brought us the anime-series Battle of the Planets (1978), which was an American retooling of the 1972 Japanese anime Science Ninja Team Gatchaman. And when Frank brought Tsuburaya’s 1978 series Sutā Urufu, aka Star Wolf, to American UHF-TV stations as the 1988 TV movie Fugitive Alien, I was all in . . . with a box Coco Puffs and a half-gallon of chocolate milk at my side.

Once more unto the breach! Death to the Wolf Raiders!

Later recycled in the public domain aftermarkets as Star Wolf and the Raiders and Star Force — with sets, costumes, and plotting that reminds of my beloved Ultra ManFugitive Alien follows the Star Wars-cum-Battlestar Galactica-inspired adventures of Ken, a soldier in the mighty Wolf Raiders from the planet Valnastar.

During the Wolf Raiders attack on the Earth, Ken’s refusal to kill a woman and child that stumbled into their mission to sabotage an Earth installation, results in his killing a fellow Raider — and he comes a space fugitive. Rescued and finding refuge with Captain Joe and the crew of battleship Bacchus III, Ken — infused with super-human strength and reflexes due to low Earth gravity — allies with the Earthmen against the Wolf Raiders.

The effects in this may be competent-to-the-side-of-cheap, but wow, they’re awesome — courtesy of the blatant “kit bashing” of the oh-so-familiar model kits from the Star Wars and Battlestar Galactica franchises* (ships look like X-Wings; the Millennium Falcon’s cockpit windows are all over the place) used to construct the show’s miniatures.

Courtesy of the IMDb

While not part of this particular Mill Creek set, Sandy Frank edited two more series episode into a UHF-TV sequel: Star Force: Fugitive Alien 2, which continues the adventures of Captain Joe and Ken with the crew of the Bacchus III as they journey to the planet Calnastar to destroy a super-weapon aimed at the Earth.

You can enjoy Fugitive Alien and Star Force: Fugitive Alien II on You Tube and own a copy of Fugitive Alien as part of the Mill Creek Sci-Fi Invasion Box Set. Fruity Pebbles and/or Coco Puffs — which are required — are not included in your purchase.

About the Author: You can learn more about the writings of R.D Francis on Facebook. He also writes for B&S About Movies.

* Don’t forget to check our “Star Wars Droppings” blowout as we look at a wide array of post-Lucas-inspired films.

Mill Creek Sci-Fi Invasion: Assassin (1986)

Henry Stanton (Robert Conrad, try to knock a battery off his shoulder ) is a retired agent from an intelligence agency not to be named that is brought back in when a top-secret robot named Robert Golem (Richard Young, the man who gave Indiana Jones his fedora) begins killing government officials. He’ll have help from an old flame named Mary (Karen Austin, Case of the Hillside StranglersFantasies) and he’ll need it, because Golem is unstoppable.

With a tagline like “Exterminate with extreme prejudice,” you know that this movie is totally remaking Terminator. It originally aired on CBS on March 19, 1986, two full years after Cameron’s Outer Limits pastiche played theaters*.

This was written and directed by Sandor Stern, who wrote the original The Amityville Horror and wrote and directed Amityville Horror: The Evil Escapes and one of my favorite blasts of sheer Canadian craziness, Pin.

It’s a TV version of a blockbuster, so there’s not much here, but there is a moment where the villain uses an iron to close up his bullet holes before making sweet, sweet love to a woman he meets in the hotel. But hey, if you grew up on 70’s TV and thought Robert Conrad was the toughest man alive — he used to get enraged at teammates on Battle of the Network Stars who didn’t go all out — then you might like this.

*I say this because that movie owes plenty to Harlan Ellison. As the story goes, Harlan saw the movie, called Orion Pictures up about the theft and was dismissed by them. But Ellison knew screenwriter and producer Tracy Torme, who had told Ellison before the movie even came out that he had visited the set of the film and when he asked where he got the idea, Cameron said, “Oh, I ripped off a couple of Harlan Ellison stories.” Cameron also told the same thing to Starlog, but the magazine edited out the comments after a call from producer Gale Anne Hurd. As for Cameron, he’d later say, “Harlan Ellison is a parasite who can kiss my ass.” I’m shocked that he didn’t get sued again by the man who won a lawsuit against Marvel once that gave him one copy of everything they published; he would write them nearly every month asking why he hadn’t received the most minute of products.

You can watch this on YouTube.

Mill Creek Sci-Fi Invasion: Life Returns (1935)

Eugene Frenke wrote and directed this film, and his Hollywood career is pretty strange. Born in Russia, he’d direct three more films (Girl in the CaseTwo Who Dared and Miss Robin Crusoe), with eighteen years between his last two movies. He also produced Lady in the Iron MaskThe Barbarian and the Geisha and more films, as well as acting as a production assistant on 1971’s Johnny Got His Gun.

Following a preview screening of the film, Universal pulled the film from general release and said that it was a “freak picture, not suitable for the regular Universal program.” In 1937, Frenke won a lawsuit and got his film back, re-releasing it through Scienart Pictures a year later.

On May 22, 1934 at the University of Southern California, scientist Robert E. Cornish — who appears in the film playing himself — surgically and chemically restored life to a dead dog. Frenke filmed this operation and included it in this film, if you can believe that!

Cornish even provided a note that is in the credits: “TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN: The actual experiment of bringing the dead back to life, which is part of the motion picture “Life Returns” was performed by myself and staff on May 22, 1934 at 11:45 P.M. in Berkeley, California. This part of the picture was originally taken to retain a permanent scientific record of our experiment. Everything shown is absolutely real. The animal was unquestionably and actually dead, and was brought back to life. May I offer my thanks to my assistants, Mario Margutti, William Black, Ralph Celmer and Roderic Kneder, who are shown carrying out their respective parts. Respectfully submitted, Dr. Robert E. Cornish.”

Frenke was married to the Russian star Anna Sten, who Samuel Goldwyn hyped as “The Passionate Peasant” and tried to transform into a big star across the movies NanaWe Live Again and The Wedding Night. Her failure was so big that Cole Porter’s “Anything Goes” refers to her: “When Sam Goldwyn can with great conviction / instruct Anna Sten in diction / Then Anna shows / anything goes.”

After this, the auteur wanted to make another film where a drowning man was brought back to life. After being sued by Frenke, one wonders why he’d come back to Universal. But he sure did and they turned him down.

You can watch this on Tubi.

Mill Creek Sci-Fi Invasion: Prey (1977)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Bill Van Ryn is the man behind Groovy Doom and Drive-In Asylum. As soon as I saw the list of films on this set, I knew that this would be the movie he’d choose.

Norman J. Warren’s unique brand of low budget bat shittery is all over the damn place. While not always totally satisfying (I’m looking at you, Inseminoid), when he’s hot, he’s hot. 1977’s alien freakout Prey is one of the hot ones.  Its everything-but-the-kitchen-sink approach blends elements of D. H. Lawrence’s The Fox, Close Encounters of the Third Kind and a dash of Night of the Living Dead thrown in for the hell of it, and this is no accident – the script was being written while filming was progressing, with Warren taking on the project based on the premise alone.

And oh, what a premise. Prey gives us the story of an alien creature who arrives on Earth in a spaceship (unseen by us, other than a colored light show that could have just been a groovy light from Spencer gifts) and immediately encounters two Earth people who are having a romantic tryst in a parked car. He murders both of them, assuming the identity of the man, whose name is Anderson. This being capable of interstellar travel uses a futuristic walkie talkie to communicate with some home base (apparently off-world, which…wow! That’s some wi-fi!), and appears to be on a mission to observe us in our natural habitat. He also likes to eat meat, and that’s it. Total carnivore, this alien.

He moves on and discovers a large secluded estate nearby, where lovers Jessica and Josephine are living an isolated life together. They encounter some mutilated rabbits, which Jo attributes to the work of a fox. They also find our space-hopping buddy “Anderson” (wink wink), seemingly injured, and even though Jo reacts with immediate total hostility, Jessica is excited to finally get someone to talk to other than Jo, who is suspiciously dedicated to making sure Jessica never, ever goes anywhere on her own. They take him back to the house and allow him to stay, which turns out to be a really bad idea on so many levels. 

I adore the fact that this movie is so low budget that it doesn’t even attempt to present any convincing alien technology, but it does have some built-in style that expensive effects could never buy. The manor where most of the action takes place is a fantastic location, with wooded areas bathed in muted green and overcast skies – this is England, after all – and amid all these earth tones are a few scenes with shockingly bright red gore. And for sheer “What the hell am I watching?” kicks, just wait until you see the weird slo-mo scene where Anders and the women roll around screaming in a shallow pond. There’s something almost S.F. Brownrigg about Warren’s work, despite their visual style being different. They both have the ability to create a memorable atmosphere in their films, despite having no visible budgetary advantages.

Anderson mostly stumbles around in a daze, acting like he has no idea what parrots are, or plants, or why people bring them into their homes for decoration. He doesn’t know any locations, either, claiming to be from London after he hears one of the women suggest it.  When they press him for his first name, he says “Anders”.  His hostesses serve him a vegetarian dinner – Jo goes total OG meatless preachy on him – but he responds by vomiting and rushing out of the house to find some more animals to mutilate for dinner.  He also doesn’t know anything about sex, and he spies curiously on Jessica and Josephine having screaming sex together. Jo develops a theory that Anders is an escapee from a local mental institution, and later on we come to realize she may have been doing some projecting when she came up with this idea.  

That’s one of the interesting things about this weird movie, there is actually an intriguing relationship between these two women, and the script ends up surprising us about one of them, but it exists uncomfortably alongside the fact that one of the characters is a flesh-eating alien, which sort of steals the spotlight.  For this reason, I suggest multiple viewings of Prey. In fact, it should be a tradition. 

Mill Creek Sci-Fi Invasion: Morons from Outer Space (1985)

Somehow, this movie came from the same man who made Get CarterFlash Gordon and Black Rainbow, Mike Hodges. Man, what an all over the place resume of films!

Originally called Illegal Aliens, it later became entitled Morons from Outer Space, which led to Mel Brooks changing the name of his movie Planet Moron to Spaceballs*.

This was written by Griff Rhys Jones and Mel Smith, who created Not the Nine O’Clock News and Alas Smith and Jones. They were never on the same page as Hodges, which is probably why this movie feels so uneven.

Three aliens named Sandra, Desmond and Julian strand another named Bernard (Smith) and head to Earth, where they become instant celebrities with an agent (Jones) getting them all over the media. They offer nothing special yet everyone wants to meet them, while when Bernard comes to Earth, he’s seen as a crazy man.

Somehow, this was the only film that Smith and Jones would ever make. So there’s that. 

You have to love that this Mill Creek set has a British science fiction comedy, a Japanese super hero movie, an American TV movie, a German horror movie, Italian ripoff cinema and so many more genres all packed into one inexpensive box. 

*Strangely enough, the aliens play a game called Spaceball in this film.

You can watch this on YouTube.

Mill Creek Sci-Fi Invasion: Footprints on the Moon (1975)

Editor’s Note: This review previously ran on December 29, 2018.

Alice Cespi (Florinda Bolkan, A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin) watched a strange film in her childhood called “Footprints on the Moon,” where astronauts were stranded on the moon’s surface. Now, as an adult, the only sleep she gets is from tranquilizers and she starts missing days of her life. Get ready for a giallo that skips the fashion and outlandish murders while going straight for pure weirdness.

After losing her job as a translator, Alice find a torn postcard for a resort area called Garma. That’s where she meets a little girl named Paula (Nicoletta Elmi, DemonsA Bay of Blood) who claims that Alice looks exactly like another woman she met named Nicole, who is also at the resort. Slowly but surely, our heroine starts to believe that a huge conspiracy is against her.

This is the last theatrical film of Luigi Bazzoni (he has directed some documentaries and wrote a few films since), who also directed The Fifth Cord. There are only two murders, but don’t let that hold you back. There are also abrupt shifts in color and a slow doomy mood to the entire proceedings. It’s unlike any other giallo I’ve seen and I mean that as a compliment.

Klaus Kinski also shows up as Blackman, the doctor who was behind the experiment that Alice saw as a child. He’s only in the film for a minute or so, but he makes the most of his time, chewing up the scenery as only he can. And cinematographer Vittorio Storaro, beyond working on The Bird with the Crystal Plumage, also was the DP on films like Apocalypse Now, RedsLast Tango in Paris and Dick Tracy.

Shameless Films, who are the folks to order this from, referred to it as “the loneliest, most haunting and beautiful giallo you will ever see.” I have to agree — especially with its shocking ending. This isn’t like any of the films that came in the wake of The Bird with the Crystal Plumage and it’s a shame that its director didn’t make more films in the genre.