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The Case of the Scorpion's Tail More at IMDbPro »La coda dello scorpione (original title)

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10 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Thanks Again, No Shame!!!

Author: ferbs54 from United States
31 October 2007

After dipping his toes in the giallo pool with the masterful film "The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh" (1971), director Sergio Martino followed up that same year with what turns out to be another twisty suspense thriller, "The Case of the Scorpion's Tail." Like his earlier effort, this one stars handsome macho dude George Hilton, who would go on to star in Martino's Satanic/giallo hybrid "All the Colors of the Dark" the following year. "Scorpion's Tail" also features the actors Luigi Pistilli and Anita Strindberg, who would go on to portray an unhappy couple (to put it mildly!) in Martino's "Your Vice Is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key" (1972). (I just love that title!) I suppose Edwige Fenech was busy the month they shot this! Anyway, this film boasts the stylish direction that Martino fans would expect, as well as a twisty plot, some finely done murder set pieces, and beautiful Athenian location shooting. The story this time concerns an insurance investigator (Hilton) and a journalist (Strindberg, here looking like Farrah Fawcett's prettier, smarter sister) who become embroiled in a series of grisly murders following a plane crash and the inheritance of $1 million by a beautiful widow. I really thought I had this picture figured out halfway through, but I was dead wrong. Although the plot does make perfect sense in this giallo, I may have to watch the film again to fully appreciate all its subtleties. Highlights of the picture, for me, were Anita's cat-and-mouse struggle with the killer at the end, a particularly suspenseful house break-in, and a nifty fight atop a tiled roof; lots of good action bursts in this movie! The fine folks at No Shame are to be thanked for still another great-looking DVD, with nice subtitling and interesting extras. Whotta great outfit it's turned out to be, in its ongoing quest to bring these lost Italian gems back from oblivion.

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12 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

Tense Giallo

Author: jlabine from Brooklyn, New York
29 March 2001

Director Sergio Martino was a regular Itailan Giallo director, who brought us "They're Coming To Get You/ All The Colors Of Darkness/ Day Of The Maniac", "Next!/ The Strange Vice Of Madam Wardh", and "Torso/ The Corpses Show Evidence Of Rape (though I'm not sure why this title is relevent, because I don't remember any moments of rape from the killer?)" and a slew of other nasty little numbers. But I found "The Case Of The Scorpion's Tail" to be his most accomplished work (outside of the silly model Airplane explosion in the beginning!). The rather perplexing story weaves so many red herrings, that when the killer finally does become unmasked, you are a little surprised! Keep in mind that not all that you see, is what you may have really seen. Keeping with Giallo tradition, this film has a little nod to Michelangelo Antonioni's "Blow Up" (Dario Argento's "The Bird With The Crystal Plumage" would be the first of "Blow Up" immitators, which loved to have "I thought I saw something...if only I could recall what it was!" moments in it.) with even a moment where the investigators "blow up" a photo to find a clue in the picture. This film contains (can you believe?) actual tense moments in it. The scene where Anita Strindberg is assaulted even had me biting at my finger nails. There are two parts to this film, the first is centered on Ida Galli (Evelyn Stewart) and then a third of the way switching to Cleo Dupont (Anita Strindberg) in a "Psycho" style switch of heroines.

Both leads (genre female regulars) are interesting to follow (and sensually alluring to look at) and the film moves at an even and fast pace, keeping the viewer inticed. I have to say that after watching this film though, it was really George Hilton who won me over, and made me an instant fan. Though like the female leads, he's a genre regular, I found this to be his best role. Always smarmy and shifty, George Hilton personifies the Giallo male to perfection! I won't describe the story in any great detail, because I think it should be viewed with a virgin state of mind (also I'm too lazy to describe this convoluted story), but it does contain the usual block gloved assassin (always super human in ability) and the gratuitous killing of female characters. I can't honestly say that it's healthy to enjoy such misogynistic dementia or condone objectification of women, but Giallo Cinema is more interesting then the predictable Hollywood road that bulldozes us with the same exact car everytime. My girlfriend would accuse Giallo Cinema of a one make car as well... but for some of's a Jaguar! Highly recommended (for some)!!!!

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5 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Italian/Spanish Giallo dealing with a killing spree with several suspects

Author: ma-cortes
1 September 2011

¨The Case of the Scorpion's Tail¨ begins with the mysterious death of a billionaire when a plane explodes and spirals into the killing ; as the newspapers publicize : ¨Air disaster , nor survivors¨ . As his suddenly rich wife (Evelyn Stewart or Ida Galli) because he's insured for one million of dollars . Being the unfaithful spouse the beneficiary as the insurance agency arranges to pay . It draws the attention of various sleuths to sniff out suspects . A dogged and top investigator named Peter Lynch (George Hilton) , a Greek police (Luigi Pistilli), a Interpol agent ( Alberto De Mendoza ) and a journalist ( Anita Strindberg) , follow a wake of blood to the bitter final . Meanwhile Peter Lynch becomes companion and protector the widow .

Sergio Martino's great success is compellingly directed with well staged murders plenty of startling visual content , though was submitted to limited censorship in Spain . This is a customary slasher where the intrigue, tension, suspense appear threatening and lurking in every room , corridors and luxurious interior and exterior . The picture packs atmospheric blending of eerie thrills and creepy chills combined with a twisted finale . It displays lots of guts and blood but it seems pretty mild compared to today's gore feasts . It's a solid movie , a thrilling story plenty of suspense and intrigue in which the victims seem to be continuous . The staged killings are the high points of the movie , they deliver the goods plenty of screams, shocks and tension . The intriguing moments are compactly made and fast moving ; as the film itself takes place from various points of sights . It packs tension, shocks , thrills, chills and lots of blood . There's plenty of moments of gore and a number of scenes that are quite thrilling , resulting to be definitely the spotlight of the film the surprising ending situation . Lousy special effects when the plane explodes , it's in made in ridiculous scale model that lookalike a little toy . Written by the usuals , Ernesto Gastaldi and Eduardo Manzanos Brochero ( also producer with his Production Company called Copercines , as he produced several Gialli and Western as ¨Apocalypse Joe , Danger Pass , Winchester one among thousand , Arrival Sartana , Djanjo the condemned ¨) . Good ambiance design and acceptable production design by Cubero and Galicia , both of whom created lots of sets in several Western filmed in the 60s and 70s . Sergio Martino's so-so direction is well crafted, here he's less cynical and more inclined toward violence and lots of killings . It's a co-production Italian- Spanish , for that reason appears Spanish actors as Luis Barboo , Alberto De Mendoza , Janine Reynaud and Italian players as Luigi Pistilli and Ida Galli , among others . Colorful and evocative cinematography by Emilio Foriscot who photographed splendidly Londres , Madrid , Rome and Greece where is developed the action . However , the photography is washed-out and for that reason is necessary an urgent remastering . Very good and suspenseful score by Bruno Nicolai , known disciple of Ennio Morricone and his director of orchestra .

The picture is professionally directed by the prolific filmmaker Sergio Martino . Talented and versatile writer/director Sergio Martino has made a vast array of often solid and entertaining films in all kind of genres as horror, Giallo , comedy, Western, and science fiction in a career that spans over 40 years . He especially was expert on Western as proved in ¨Mannaja¨ and ¨Arizona returns¨ and Giallo as this ¨The case of scorpion's tail ¨ , ¨Torso¨ ,¨the scorpion with two tails¨ and of course ¨The strange vice of Mrs Ward¨. Rating: Acceptable and passable , this is one more imaginative slasher pictures in which the camera stalks in sinister style throughout a story with magnificent visual skills. This is a bewildering story , funny in some moment but falls flat and it will appeal to hardcore Gialli fans

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7 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Fairly run of the mill giallo

Author: TrevorAclea from London, England
17 July 2007

The most memorable thing about fairly run-of-the-mill giallo The Case of the Scorpion's Tail is the trailer, which shamelessly compares itself to other 'masterpieces on violence' such as The Golem, Battleship Potemkin and M. The film itself is fairly conventional. Director Sergio Martino admits that he padded out the first half after the film's running time came up short, and it shows: it's not until the halfway point that the film gets much in the way of energy. The Scope location photography in London and Greece is attractive and there's some amusement to be had from the terrible model work in a plane explosion or a sunglass wearing villain called Omar who looks like a hung over Charlton Heston in Touch of Evil after being dragged through a thorn bush, but overall the film is nothing to write home about.

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9 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

Mediocre Giallo Entry From Sergio Martino

Author: EVOL666 from St. John's Abortion Clinic
20 February 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I've lately been going back and trying to check out some giallo films that I missed over the years, and the boxset that contains Sergio Martino's THE STRANGE VICE OF MRS. WARDH, YOUR VICE IS A LOCKED ROOM AND ONLY I HAVE THE KEY, and THE CASE OF THE SCORPION'S TAIL were recommended by a friend. I really enjoyed STRANGE VICE, and YOUR VICE - not so much with SCORPION'S TAIL. Not that it was a terrible film or anything, it just wasn't as enjoyable as the two previous entries in my opinion.

SCORPION'S TAIL starts off with a widow inheriting $1 million from the death of her husband who died in a somewhat mysterious airplane explosion. After the widow is murdered and the money stolen, a reporter, an insurance investigator, and the police are all on the cast to try and nab the culprit/culprits. Among the suspects are the insurance investigator himself, the wife (until she bites it at least...) and one of the husband's mistresses and her lawyer/"bodyguard". Who really hatched the plan if there really was a plan at all? That's the question. Too bad the answer isn't all that satisfying...

Again, SCORPION'S TAIL isn't a terrible film, it just lacks some of the better elements that Martino's superior films have. Both STRANGE VICE and YOUR VICE have better twists and story-lines. There are one or two decent kill scenes in SCORPION'S TAIL, but almost no nudity which was also disappointing. Recommended for hardcore giallo fans - others should seek out Martino's two aforementioned films and leave this one for a rainy day. 6/10

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11 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

Solid giallo

Author: HEFILM from French Polynesia
9 June 2005

Well made and stylish while still ultimately making sense this thriller would work better for non giallo fans to get interested in the genre than the later Argento entries which go overboard in all directions.

For fans of these crazed Italian thrillers, they will appreciate George Hilton and the turns his character takes and what he's put through. The camera-work is fresh with dashes of graphic violence and odd, but appropriate choices and a good not overblown music score as well. The less you know about the story the better to make it work.

The only thing lacking in keeping this from being a great Sergio Martino directed giallo is that the story doesn't have that extra sexual or psychological, or both element to put it over the top. It's more a routine mystery, the characters are well defined but live or die according to the plot not according to their own virtues and flaws.

The recent DVD (2005) release is beautiful looking and definitely the way to see the film, unless these ever get art house screenings which seems unlikely.

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4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Decent Giallo by Sergio Martino

Author: Camera Obscura from The Dutch Mountains
24 November 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

THE CASE OF THE SCORPION'S TAIL (Sergio Martino - Italy/Spain 1971).

Not a great, but a very decent Giallo from the ever reliable Sergio Martino. Quite a restrained but surprisingly effective if somewhat tame effort. Lisa Baumer (Ida Galli, but credited as "Evelyn Stewart") is enjoying the good life in London, when she learns her husband died in a dramatic airplane explosion (hilariously done on the cheap with a scale model). Due to the loss of her husband she can collect on his million-dollar insurance policy, and from this point on the setting is shifted to Athens. Naturally, the million dollars starts to attract all kinds of malicious characters and when a suspicious insurance agent (George Hilton) starts investigating the case, the corpses start piling up.

The film is almost worth seeing for one scene alone, shot in typical Giallo fashion. When Lisa Baumer meets her husband's mistress (Janine Reynaud) in a beautiful abandoned theater in Athens, we see the brightly overlit faces, almost white with the ink black backgrounds. A beautiful set-up with stunning photography. In some other scenes, Martino does show some visual flair, but overall it's a bit sloppy. George Hilton, in his usual smooth turn, is so smitten with blonde beauty Anita Strindberg in some scenes, he seems to forget about acting at all. Furthermore, there are some nice locations and at one point the story is moved to a nice yacht on the Aegean (for preposterous reasons), only to show Anita Strindberg in her bikini. Very nice...

The plotting is a bit over-complicated and marred by some incredibly dumb dialog and silly remarks by the investigating officers, from Interpol to the local Athens detectives. When Lisa Baumer is found murdered in her hotel room, the police inspector arriving at the scene claims it's the work of a sex maniac, even though he already met the victim and knew her background. Therefore he knew she had one million dollars in her room at the time of the killing, which are now missing! Furthermore, she is suspected of blowing up (!) the airplane her husband was in. Two obvious motives for murder, one might think, but later in the film he even comes back with this silly theory of the sex maniac. I think Martino somehow liked to the word so much he just had to use it a couple of times. Although the murders are quite imaginatively filmed, Sergio Martino is no Argento and the film falls a little short when it comes to visual spectacle, but the story is basically well told. Despite some laughable dialog and moronic secondary characters, it's made just well enough to pass as a competently made thriller, that should appeal to Giallo-fans.

Camera Obscura --- 7/10

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9 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

If you're not obsessed with everything giallo, don't bother!

Author: universal_monster from United States
31 December 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Step right up! Cut rate spaghetti splatter at wholesale prices! First rate? More like Z Grade. 9 out of 10? 10 out of 10?! When did we start assigning one point per plot hole on the grading scale? All you really get from this deservedly obscure little ditty is a clichéd plot, abysmal acting, tepid pacing, dreary atmospherics, poorly developed characters who do the most senseless and boneheaded things imaginable just so the movie can hop from one scene to the next, utterly contemptible dialogue, wondrous effects like a hilarious plastic model plane bursting into flames and scattered gory moments employing only the finest and brightest of "candy apple red" colored paint. So "Scorpion" is unfortunately rather pathetic and dull, just as the majority of giallos are pathetic and dull. Yet for some reason these things have a small but devoted cult following composed of people who think that if a movie was made in Italy in the 1970s that automatically makes it good. No doubt if this had been made in America or a number of other countries, these groupies would be slamming it like crazy for the very reasons I listed above. Oh well, as they often say, there's no accounting for taste.

Handsome and "smooth" as George Hilton may be, he possesses the energy and animation of a tree stump. I've never understood why he was given so many leading roles, as he comes off as incredibly pompous and makes for a stiff, unsympathetic and uninteresting protagonist (or, a-hem, surprise antagonist). Anita Strindberg shows up about midway through to play another pointless non-role and unleash her early model breast implants during the more routine passages. The rest of the cast give forgettable performances in forgettable roles. In fact the whole movie is forgettable. The plot is a tired one and involves an insurance policy being the centerpiece for a series of murders. Nothing new or interesting happens in the entire film. Martino's "All the Colors of the Dark" and "Your Vice Is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key" are far superior to this bore-fest.

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9 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

Watchable, but not exactly impressive

Author: capkronos ( from Ohio, USA
10 July 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I'm American so when dealing with foreign films, I'm willing to accept it when not all of the pieces fall exactly into place (especially in light that some things can become lost in translation from the original script to the English dubbing and/or subtitles), but this film leaves so many loose ends behind that it's difficult not to be feel a bit cheated at the end. However, it does provide giallo fans with exactly what they want and expect to see, so it's not exactly a total washout, either.

After an (obvious toy) airplane explosion kills her husband Kurt, London socialite Lisa Baumer ("Evelyn Stewart"/Ida Galli, who was used to much better effect in the underrated MURDER MANSION) is set to inherit one million dollars from an insurance policy. Not an ideal wife to begin with (she's in bed with one of her many lovers when she hears the "bad" news), we get the strong feeling that Lisa's days are seriously numbered and get an even stronger impression of this when an ex-lover who tries to blackmail her is knifed to death inside her apartment. Lisa flees to Athens, Greece to both escape the killer and cash in the policy but is trailed by several characters; including Interpol agent Stavros (Luigi Pistilli) and insurance investigator Peter Lynch (George Hilton), both of whom seem to think that Lisa was somehow involved with planting explosives on the airplane. While in Greece, Lisa also meets up with her hubby's obnoxious short-fused mistress Lara (Janine Reynaud), who demands half the money... or else. Lara sends her "lawyer" Sharif (Luis Barboo) after Lisa with a switchblade, but Peter shows up just in time to save. A bit flustered, Lisa goes ahead and cashes the policy in, books an evening flight out to Tokyo and decides to spend her few hours left in Greece all alone in her hotel room. Big mistake. Someone dressed in the standard mad killer outfit (black outfit, leather gloves and mask), sneaks in, slashes her throat, guts her and walks away with her bag of money.  A few more characters are introduced (including blonde Anita Strinberg as a journalist who hooks up with Peter), there are several more murders (including a memorable close-up eyeball gouging with a shard of glass) and the plot twists are laid on thick and heavy (handed). And, oh yeah... the scorpion of the title refers to a cuff-link left behind at the scene of an attack, which seems to have belonged to Lisa's (dead?) husband.

In all honesty, I had a difficult time dealing with some of the plot holes and multiple loose ends in the story. Some of the twists (particularly the identity of the mystery killer) are in annoying defiance to what we've already seen and don't make much sense. But as expected, the murder scenes are directed, lit and photographed with some style. The occasional cool green and red lighting brightens things up considerably. There's also one scene that Argento lifted wholesale for SUSPIRIA, as the killer teasingly tries to open a lock from between a crack in the door with a knife blade. Gore-wise, it is barely sufficient if you don't mind bright red blood. The cast is decent, with Hilton and Strindberg very attractive leads, though there's far less nudity here than in similar movies, with only Anita providing some brief topless nudity. Good score by Bruno Nicolai. Overall it's about average from what I've seen in the genre.

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If I had a million!

Author: kapelusznik18 from United States
3 July 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

****SPOILERS**** In this blood splattering Gaillo flick it's greed and money more then anything else that motivates the killer to do in his victims then the usual failed love triangle or him being mistreated as a youth, by not getting a birthday or Christmas present, that you would expect in movies like this. It starts with death of businessman Kurt Baumer in a suspected bombing of the passenger plane-by a suspected like ISIS terrorist group no less-he was in, with the plane looking like a toy model, over the Pacific. It's Kurt's old lady Lisa who ends up getting one million dollars in insurance who's suspected by insurance agent Peter Lynch of somehow, he just can't put the finger on it, of having Kurt done him in.

Meanwhile Lisa is stalked by this down and out on his luck junkie Phillip, her former lover, for cash to pay for his drugs who's later found dead when Lisa went to pay him off. As for Lisa herself she also ends up murdered by the same person who killed junkie Phillip when she flew to Athens Greece, from Rome Italy, to cash the million dollar check and take a flight to Tokyo. In order for her to split it with what seamed like the person who made all this good fortune possible, by knocking off Kurt and Phillip, for her. Things pick up when insurance investigator Lynch gets hooked up with reporter Cleo Dupont whom he not only falls in love with but later saves her life from the killer.

***SPOILERS*** It's much later that both Lynch and Cleo go on a boat trip to an out of the way Greek island, oh how romantic, for both fun and games that the truth behind all these murders finally comes to light. And it's Cleo by doing a little scuba diving who not only uncovers the missing million dollars in cash but the person who stole it from Lisa Baumer after he murdered her! It was in fact a scorpion trinket found at Lisa's hotel room in Athens as well as a matching one in her late husband Kurt mansion back in Rome that lead, thus the movie's title "Case of the Scorpion's Tale", to the killer. That's after he also murdered the two other persons Lara Florakis and her burly bodyguard Sharif who could prove that Kurt's death wasn't an accident.

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