The Corruption of Chris Miller is often labelled as a Giallo; this is not really the case, although the film does feature some of the trademarks of the genre amongst its multilayered plot. I'd say it falls somewhere between a murder thriller and a psychological drama; and the two main plot lines represent both genres. The film reminded me a lot of René Clément's masterpiece Joy House in the way that the relationship between the three central characters works. The film begins with a grisly murder, committed by someone dressed as Charlie Chaplin. From there, we move on to a house inhabited by two women, a mother and a stepdaughter; who is scared of the rain as she was raped in the shower by a bodybuilder when she was a child. The mother later finds a drifter taking a nap in the barn, and after some convincing, agrees to take the stranger on to do odd jobs for them in return for free board. However, it's not long before the man's presence makes tensions rise among the mother and daughter; and the murders in town are continuing.
The film does not make murder its central plot line, and there's not a lot of blood either. The main plot is the relationship between the mother, stepdaughter and the mysterious drifter, and this takes up the majority of the film. The three way relationship is not disinteresting, although it has to be said that it's a bit long winded and spoiled by some less than brilliant performances. Chief among them is Barry Stokes; who is extremely wooden. Jean Seberg and Marisol so-star and are better, though none of the actors particularly impress. Director Juan Antonio Bardem does succeed, however, in creating a foreboding atmosphere; the countryside setting creates a feeling of isolation and this bodes well with the plot line. The film really does pick up in the final third and the ending is strong, as well as wrapping things up nicely. Overall, while this film is not a Giallo; it will certainly be of interest to Giallo fans and is well worth tracking down.
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