Ernesto Gastaldi's first contribution to the Giallo genre
The great Mario Bava is often credited with introducing the Giallo genre with The Girl Who Knew Too Much, and then refining it two years later with his masterpiece Blood and Black Lace; but Ernesto Gastaldi would go on to become one of the premier Giallo screenwriters with such classics as The Strange Vice of Mrs Wardh and The Case of the Bloody Iris under his belt; and this little film is his first contribution to the genre. Libido is certainly not as 'Giallo' as Blood and Black Lace; but many of the genre trademarks are present, and it is a very nice little thriller. The film begins with a sequence that sees a young boy witness his father kill his mother inside a room lined with mirrors. His father later kills himself and the boy winds up in a mental hospital; his estate entrusted to his lawyer until the boy turns twenty five. Its years later and the boy is a man and married. He goes to stay in the old house (not really sure why) along with his wife and the lawyer and his wife. However, it's not long before he starts finding clues that maybe his father has returned...
The surreal, dreamlike quality is a feature of many Giallo's - and it's a big part of this one too. The screenplay ensures that the audience is always kept guessing and we're never sure of exactly what is going on; and this ensures that the proceedings are always interesting. The film is shot in black and white and obviously very cheaply too (the film was allegedly shot in just eighteen days for a bet), plus the fact that the copy I saw was extremely poor quality means that the cinematography is not particularly nice looking; and so the film may not appeal to the fans of the some of the higher quality genre entries. The cast is very small and features just four performers; and all of them perform well enough. Giancarlo Giannini is the lead actor and is decent in the role; although he would go on to much bigger and better things, while Dominique Boschero and Mara Maryl provide eye candy and the cast is rounded off by Luciano Pigozzi. The film is good for the duration and then things are really kicked up a gear in the final third when the twists start to come into play. Overall, Libido is a very good, if not quite brilliant Giallo, and is recommended to fans of the genre.
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