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Death Knocks Twice is a somewhat interesting thriller that is often considered a part of the Giallo genre, despite putting much of its focus on other areas of the plot; which shows in a nutshell just how meandering this film is considering that a murder plot makes up the backbone of it. The film was made in 1969; just before the Giallo genre would gain popularity and Italian directors would go into overdrive making them. This one was actually a co-production with West Germany; thus further calling it's credibility with the genre into repute. The plot focuses on Francisco di Villaverde; a talented artist who has a deadly hobby, which involves strangling girls after having sex with them. He strangles a girl on the beach and this is witnessed by a couple of body guards, who just so happen to work for a local gangster who just so happens to want to buy a piece of property owned by Francisco di Villaverde. This story is then fused with a love story between the artist and the gangster's wife as she can't resist his charms in spite of his murderous nature.
The film gets off to a good start as we witness the central character murdering a woman on a beach...but from there it just peters out as we descend further into the plot. It loses focus as it goes on and the film quickly gets boring. In its favour, the film does have three of the best stars of Italian cinema in its cast list. A young Fabio Testi takes the lead role and hints at the kind of performance that the charismatic actor would go on to give. The beautiful Anita Ekberg also appears as does one of the most underrated actors of cult Italian cinema; the excellent Adolfo Celi. The film is directed by Harald Philipp and while he does capture some nice looking locations; his direction in general is nothing fascinating and certainly not a patch on the likes of Dario Argento who would go on to make some of the best films of the genre. It all boils down to a decent conclusion; but by then I couldn't really care what happened to be honest which is a bit of a shame. This is not an easy film to come by and I don't see any reason why that would change as it's not a particularly memorable entry.
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