The Case of the Scorpion's Tail begins with the mysterious death of a millionaire and spirals into the murder of his suddenly rich wife, which draws the attention of a dogged investigator, who follows a trail of blood to the bitter end.
Alberto de Mendoza
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Dalila Di Lazzaro,
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A fleeing felon believes he sees a body being buried in the garden of a Swiss villa one night just before his arrest. Thirteen years later, he's released from prison and comes back, thinking he can blackmail the three people there: a governess and her son, and the daughter of the missing (and presumed dead) owner of the estate. The daughter rules the roost. She may also be unhinged, going into murderous trances when men take her in their arms. Men menace women; sexual assaults are close at hand. Everyone seems to have their own horrifying memories. Is there a mystery to unravel? Will the dying end? Written by
Italian gialli are famous for their ridiculously complicated (and frequently absurd plots)and their "pop", late 60's pseudo-Freudian psychology. This movie though pushes both of these to the most extreme limits. The basic plot here involves a rather dysfunctional family consisting of a trouble woman (Pier Angeli), her governess, and her governess' equally troubled son all of whom may have been involved in the murder/disappearance of the family patriarch. Several different people show up and try to blackmail them for money and sex and wind up being killed in ways that are both gruesome (lots of decapitations)and increasingly ridiculous (there's a rather tasteless subplot involving Nazi gas chambers). The finale involves several sudden twists, each more preposterous than the last. There are several quotes from Freud in intertitles (complete with English-language misspellings) and the usual liberal sprinkling of sexual psychopathology--incest, Elektra and Oedipal complexes, borderline pedophilia, etc. This movie will probably confound newcomers to the giallo film, but people more familiar with the genre will no doubt appreciate it.
Pier Angeli is especially good in a dual role, or actually a triple role considering that she plays one of the characters as both an adult woman and an adolescent girl (the latter no mean feat considering the actress was in her late 30's at the time). Tragically, she would commit suicide not longer after this movie came out. The co-writer Mario Caiano would direct the very similar "Eye in the Labyrinth" and, not surprisingly, some of the other people behind the camera were later involved in the indefensibly trash Italian Nazi sexploitation cycle.
Oh, and by the way, the title "In the Folds of Flesh" actually refers to the folds in the brain, not what some of you dirty-minded folks out there might think.
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