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Italian Gialli from the late 1960s differed in a number of ways from those made in the wake of Dario Argento's BIRD WITH THE CRYSTAL PLUMAGE. Before gore and set-piece slaying, gialli like Umberto Lenzi's ORGASMO and Lucio Fulci's ONE ON TOP OF THE OTHER were bloodless, psychological murder mysteries that relied on plot twists, sexual situations, and irony for their thrills and INTERRABANG is more of the same with director Giuliano Biagetti making the most of an extremely low budget, a trio of beautiful European starlets, and an enigmatic premise. The interrabang is non-standard English punctuation (a combination question mark and exclamation point) that never caught on and was probably the equivalent of today's WTF. That's what viewers will wonder when Fabrizio, a hip fashion photographer, sails to a secluded island with his wife, Anna (Beba Loncar), his model/girlfriend, Margarita (Shoshana Cohen), and his nubile sister-in-law, Valeria (Haydee Politoff) for a photo shoot but bails out to get help when their boat has engine trouble -knowing an escaped convict is in the vicinity. The bored babes, left to their own devices, soon strike up an easy acquaintance with Marco, a vacationing writer who first intrigues then seemingly seduces them one by one. Like most Gialli, the title is explained during the course of the film: the interrabang symbol is a gold-plated pendant said to represent doubt and uncertainty in the modern world and there's more than enough of that to go around. Motivation becomes muddled as heiress Anna professes to love her husband despite the infidelities and character flaws while her sister Valeria hates her for keeping too tight a control on the family fortune -and nymphomaniac Margarita doesn't seem to care about anything. Is Marco the escaped convict? Is he a homicidal maniac? Why does Valeria keep quiet when she finds a dead policeman? Margarita also stumbles upon the corpse just before it disappears and the mystery deepens...
INTERRABANG seems to acknowledge its genre when one character, reading a book, is asked if it's a "giallo" and the murder plot, if not examined too closely, eventually comes together in the end with one surprise revelation after another. Like the killer's comeuppance, the film is silly but satisfying and the tale manages to hold the interest despite being set entirely on a small boat and rocky shoreline. Giallo geeks should have a fairly good time but some are bound to be disappointed by the lack of violence and abundance of bathing suits.
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