How come this film isn't ranked among the finest European horror movies of all time? Francesco Barilli's "Perfume of the Lady in Black" is one hell of a stylish, elegant and altogether disturbing piece of Italian cinema, that is just as good if not better than the works of Dario Argento. And no, it is NOT a giallo, that is, unless you count Polanski's "The Tenant" a giallo. In the vein of Val Lewton's films of the 40's, "Perfume of the Lady in Black" is a psychological chiller which follows Mismy Farmer, giving a truly outstanding and intense performance, as a young woman who is either a victim of a voodoo cult, or a victim of her own distorted mind. Barilli not only manages to make it visually striking, but also creates an intelligent and creative script that delights itself making questions without always answering them. Unlike most Italian horror films of this period (with the exception of Avati's "The House with Laughing Windows" and Argento's "Deep Red"), this one aged very well, as there are hardly any unintentionally cheesy moments in it, and it's also genuinely frightening. Also, it relies mostly on atmosphere and slow build up than beautiful woman getting offed, even though the ending is particularly gruesome and unbelievably violent (considering there's hardly a drop of blood throughout), being somewhat nausea inducing, as it is sick, depraved and as downbeat as it can get. Nicola Piovani's haunting music score perfectly fits with the film's twisted poetic beauty. Overall, a definite horror classic, that, as I've said before, needs to be talked about more often. 10/10!
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