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Alberto de Mendoza
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While this is quite a popular giallo thanks largely to its sensationalistic title and the fact that the film was originally conceived, as CRY NIGHTMARE, by Mario Bava its reputation is rather mixed and, having watched the thing for myself, with good reason! Not only is there barely any nudity (with the violence being similarly tame!) but the plot itself despite the much-used girl-college setting (among the picture's myriad alternate titles are SCHOOLGIRL KILLER and THE MINISKIRT MURDERS!) is fairly weak references to Alfred Hithcock's PSYCHO  and Bava's own THE GIRL WHO KNEW TOO MUCH  notwithstanding or, for that matter, its own affinity with another far superior effort from Margheriti himself, SEVEN DEATHS IN THE CAT'S EYE , and Dario Argento's PHENOMENA )! Besides, the whole giallo atmosphere is further nipped in the bud with an overwhelming light touch courtesy of a vivacious girl student who fancies herself a sleuth! Of course, the script supplies plenty of red herrings with at least three characters made out to be the possible killer but the revelation at the climax brings little surprise (while admittedly effectively handled); the attempted murder at the pool, however, is simply ludicrous. The film is nevertheless good-looking, features a kitschy score by Carlo Savina (shamelessly borrowing the instantly-recognizable riff from Neal Hefti's "Batman" theme!) and a reasonable cast including ex-Hollywood leading-men Mark Damon and a rapidly-aged Michael Rennie (as the Police Inspector on the case), Luciano Pigozzi (the Italian Peter Lorre as the school's peeping-tom caretaker i.e. the type of role he could play in his sleep) and, it goes without saying, a bevy of attractive females, on both the student and teacher fronts a lesbian undertone is even implied in the relationship between the middle-aged headmistress and her young assistant and a newly-arrived teacher sports androgynous features! but especially put-upon heroine Eleonora Brown (who had actually been Sophia Loren's victimized daughter in Vittorio De Sica's award-winning TWO WOMEN !).
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