Devil in the Brain (1972) Poster

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8/10
Masterful Giallo-gem!
Coventry23 September 2008
"Devil in the Brain" is a bona fide Giallo (Italian murder-mystery) but not the type where an eerily masked and black-gloved killer cuts up scarcely dressed young girls every couple of minutes. The lack of excessive bloodshed and nudity is undoubtedly one of the main reasons why this movie is still so obscure and virtually untraceable on DVD/VHS. That's quite a damn shame because all the other typical trademarks of the Giallo are well presented and even impressively elaborated. The film has a compelling and suspense-laden plot (complete with little flaws and everything), unexpected twists, red herrings, a genuine shock ending, a continuously ominous atmosphere, stylish photography and a mesmerizing musical score from the master Ennio Morricone himself. The story revolves on a handsome man stumbling into the former love of his life, but she doesn't seem to recognize him. The girl, Sandra, suffers from a bad case of amnesia and her overly vain mother protects her from the outside world. Oscar doesn't give up and, with the help of a befriended doctor; he learns that Sandra's condition got caused by the traumatic witnessing of her young son standing next to his father's dead body with a pistol in his hands. Ever since then little Ricky is considered to be an emotionless youthful killer, but the death of Fabrizio Garces is a lot more mysterious and complicated than it seems. "Devil in the Brain" is a terrifically atmospheric thriller and Sergio Sollima succeeds in making common and clichéd themes – like betrayal, adultery and murder conspiracy – feel refreshingly original. The script is also intelligent and always several steps ahead of you. You might figure out some of the story's twists and revelations before they occur, but the most vital ones (like the final denouement) remain nearly impossible to predict. With a constantly tense and compelling plot like this, the absence of bloody murder sequences isn't even an issue. I already knew Sergio Sollima was one of Italy's most gifted directors based on his fantastic westerns "The Big Gundown" and "Run Man Run" and his crime-thrillers "Violent City" and "Revolver", but still this one is different. All the aforementioned movies thrive on action and/or graphic violence whereas "Devil in the Brain" is a very slow and sober film. Unfortunately the bootleg version I watched was of terrible quality and the sound regularly just disappeared. The soundtrack appears to be easily available but a properly remastered DVD edition would be far better.
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Eerie Italian Made Thriller - Ending packs quite a punch!
FEF31227 August 2007
As a long time fan of Actor Keir Dullea, this is one of his films that I thought I'd never see. I don't believe it was ever released in the U.S., and this Italian language film was never shown on American television.

I was delighted to find that this movie is now available on VHS or DVD, by a company called "Video Search of Miami". Quality of the DVD I received was only OK, but I was still pleased to add this film to my Keir Dullea collection.

"Devil in the Brain" is a tense Italian-made thriller directed by Sergio Solima; starring Tino Buazzelli Keir Dullea Stefania Sandrelli and Maurice Ronet; a young boy saw the killer but a shock-induced trauma keeps him from remembering the details-- however the killer doesn't feel safe.

The original Italian title was "IL DIAVOLO NEL CERVELLO". Beautiful score by Ennio Morricone.
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6/10
A different kind of giallo
Bezenby16 November 2017
Warning: Spoilers
*Just minor spoilers* No masked killer here, and although there is the usual giant mansion, there's no one after an inheritance or playing psycho-sexual games either. What we have here is a mystery without gore or nudity, and I'm guessing that's what puts people off.

Kier Dullea has just returned to Milan after some time working in South America, when he spots old flame Sandra walking down the street. She ignores his shouting and when he attempts to follow her he finds that she lives in a huge mansion owned by her mother. Not showing any obsessive tendencies at all, Keir rents a flat overlooking Sandra's estate and starts spying on her with binoculars.

He also starts following her mother around and discovers that Sandra's son is staying at a children's home run by some nuns, and is only let out by his grandmother to go and pray at his father's grave. Of course, his father 'accidentally shot himself while cleaning a gun'. To add to all this, Sandra doesn't recognise Keir, has somehow mentally reverted back to being ten years old, doesn't remember being married and having a kid, and worst of all, has taken to drawing circles over and over and over again.

Of course Keir starts meddling in order to find out what happened and gets his doctor friend involved. It looks like the kid was evil, killed his father and drove his mother insane, but as this happens halfway through the film, and this is a giallo, how much of that do you is true?

The doctor was the best character in the film by far. He has no personal interest in the case and is genuinely concerned for both the welfare of the child and his mother. Keir on the other hand is hung up on the fact that Sandra dumped him to marry the rich dead guy. There's a disturbing scene where Sandra comes on to him and he reciprocates, just realising in time that she's got the mind of a child. Blech!

Good acting all round and a zig-zag storyline keep things afloat for the duration so it never gets boring. I can't really comment on the look of the film however as the version I watched was recorded off RAIDUE. The RAI kids channel was better by the way – it used to show the Karate Warrior films, just as proof that Italian do watch the crap films they also produce.
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