Oliviero is a burned-out writer, living at his estate near Venice, his dead mother dominating his imagination. He is also a degenerate: sleeps with his maid and his ex-student, hosts ... See full summary »
Oliviero is a burned-out writer, living at his estate near Venice, his dead mother dominating his imagination. He is also a degenerate: sleeps with his maid and his ex-student, hosts Bacchanalia for local hippies, and humiliates his wife Irina in front of strangers. She lives in terror. When a young woman is murdered, police suspect Oliviero. Things get complicated when his young, beautiful, and self-confident niece, Floriana, pays an unexpected visit. A silver-haired stranger observes. More women die, and thoughts of harming Irina give Oliviero new inspiration. What's Floriana's game and who's the observant stranger? Watching all is a black cat named Satan. Written by
The title is a reference to Sergio Martino's earlier giallo Blade of the Ripper (1971) ("The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh"), in which the same phrase appears in a mysterious note apparently sent by a killer. See more »
From 1970 to 1973, Sergio Martino directed fife Gialli. The best known of the bunch certainly is "I Corpi Presentano Tracce di Violenza Carnale", better known as "Torso". "La Code dello Scorpione" aka "The Case of the Scorpion's Tail" is also quite well known among fans. "Lo Strano Vizio della Signora Wardh" aka "Blade of the Ripper" is less known, as is the psychedelic "Tutti i Colori del Buio" aka "They're Coming to Get You" and "Day of the Maniac".
But the least known and also rarest of the bunch is "Il Tuo Vizio...", known also under its English titles "Gently Before She Dies", "Excite Me" and "Eye of the Black Cat". It's really a shame that this fine effort hasn't reached a broad audience of Giallo admirers yet. Because it's a masterly and highly original Giallo, whose plot mixes the two types of Giallo (a mysterious killer murders one victim after the other in order to keep his or her secret / a troubled couple from which one half - mostly together with his or her lover - wants to get rid of the other permanently, which spawns intrigues, distrust and, of course, murder) with elements of Edgar Allan Poe's probably most filmed story, the thoroughly Gothic "The Black Cat".
The result is astonishing: It works perfectly. Even towards the climax, which is more Poe-oriented, Martino manages to startle the audience with extremely surprising, for the genre typical, twists. And the twists work very well. The first half is more Giallo-oriented and delivers some gory murder scenes and the unevitable tickling sexy moments.
The cast is also excellent, consisting of a group of Giallo regulars. Anita Strindberg and Edwige Fenech (the latter in an unusual genre role for her) lead the female cast, Luigi Pistilli (giving an outrageously daring performance) and Ivan Rassimov lead the male. They all fit perfectly into their roles. Not to forget Bruno Nicolai's score, which probably marks his most versatile sound track ever.
All in all a wonderful genre outing, a unique thriller using all well-known "rules" of the Giallo and yet giving them fresh turns and twists. An easy 10 out of 10, highly recommended.
19 of 22 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?