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After a bungled diamond heist a trio of killers take refuge at the home of a country doctor (Anthony Steffens) and force him at gunpoint to attend to their mortally wounded colleague. They abuse the doctor and take sexual advantage of his wife. But everything is not as it seems. The title, the visual style, and some delightfully absurd hairpin plot twists near the end mark this film as Italian giallo, but, as other reviewers have said, it is only partially so. This also would qualify as a early "terror film", typified by later movies like "The Night Train Murders", "Last House on the Beach" and "House by the Edge of the Park" where lower-class miscreants terrify and abuse a seemingly comfortable bourgeois family until the tables are turned. This is is not nearly as nasty as most later "terror films" but like in those films, the hypocrisies of the seemingly respectable bourgeois couple are quickly revealed. The wife (Livia Cerilli), for instance, quickly develops a bad case sexual Stockholm syndrome and has sex with the sole female gang-member (Margaret Lee), the most unattractive of the male gang-members, and even a neighbor who drops by for a visit. The husband meanwhile has his own agenda.
The relative restraint as far as the violence and humiliation go, and the superior visual style do tend to mark this as more of a giallo than a terror film. It most resembles two other giallo/terror hybrids "The Cold Eyes of Fear" and "Hitchike". It's as good as the former, but not nearly as good as the latter. Spaghetti Western vet Anthony Steffens once again lets his unusual facial features do most of his acting for him. Margaret Lee gives a very good performance, but it is largely wasted on her thinly-drawn character. Cerini mainly provides the requisite T and A since Lee keeps her clothes on for a change.
I'd recommend this for giallo completists (since I guess I am one). It's not a pure giallo and it's certainly no classic of the either the giallo or the terror film, but it is fairly interesting and pretty entertaining.
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