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Spasmo (1974)

 -  Mystery | Thriller  -  August 1976 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 523 users  
Reviews: 22 user | 32 critic

Christian (Robert Hoffman) and his girlfriend are taking a walk on a deserted beach when they discover a woman's body lying. A closer look proves that she's alive. The next day Christian ... See full summary »



(story), (screenplay), 2 more credits »
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Cast overview:
Robert Hoffmann ...
Christian Bauman
Suzy Kendall ...
Ivan Rassimov ...
Fritz Bauman
Adolfo Lastretti ...
Tatum, the killer
Monica Monet ...
Guido Alberti ...
Mario Erpichini ...
Franco Silva ...
Maria Pia Conte ...
Luigi Antonio Guerra ...
Boy - in the 'incipit'
Rosita Torosh ...
Woman in car


Christian (Robert Hoffman) and his girlfriend are taking a walk on a deserted beach when they discover a woman's body lying. A closer look proves that she's alive. The next day Christian meets her again at a yacht party and they fall in love. Later at a nearby motel, something weird happens as they prepare to go to bed together: An intruder breaks in and starts beating Christian who accidentally shoots him with his own gun. A few hours later they find out that the corpse is missing and a series of weird incidents takes place. Written by Ørnås

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Beyond "Psycho" SPASMO!


Mystery | Thriller


R | See all certifications »




Release Date:

August 1976 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Efialtis  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


George A. Romero shot approximately ten minutes of Cinemascope footage inserted into the United States release of the film, depicting the killings. See more »


Boy - in the 'incipit': [Seeing his car had been stolen] Oh...
See more »


Referenced in Il mostro (1977) See more »

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User Reviews

Bizarre but rewarding Giallo
29 June 2007 | by (Ireland) – See all my reviews

Spasmo(1974)Umberto Lenzi Christian Bauman (Robert Hoffmann,Death Carries a Cane, Naked Girl Killed in the Park) and his girlfriend while strolling along a beach see what they think is s dead body of a woman lying face down in the sand, as it turns out the girl named Barbara (Suzy Kendall,The Bird with the Crystal Plumage,Circus of Fear) is alive and claims to have passed out with the heat, but when Christian turns his back for a moment Barbara speeds away in her car leaving only a clue of a jar marked Tucania, which turns out to the name of a large yacht moored in the local harbour, Christian gatecrashes a party on board in order to see more of this alluring young woman, the host and Barbara's lover Alex is none to pleased at his intrusion but allows him to stay anyway. Meanwhile a mysterious hit-man with a gun and the habit of rolling marbles round his hand watches the yacht from afar, but who is his intended prey?

Barbara tired of the party on board offers Christian, the major shareholder in his family's plastics business a night he cant forget all he has to do is lose his beard, he doesn't need to be asked twice and before long he is in Barbara's bathroom removing the unwanted hair, but he is suddenly interrupted by the hit-man who comes through the window brandishing his gun, in the skirmish that follows Christian shoots and kills the intruder, Barbara horrified says they should run away together instead of notifying the police, they do this but return soon after only to find the body gone.

Barbara suggests staying in the house of a Brazilian painter friend for a while, as she is away, it's a house that is filled with stuffed birds of prey and caged exotic animals, reluctantly Christian agrees, but the house has been let out to an ex reporter and his young female friend, a bizarre couple who persistently act strange, in fact Christian thinks everyone seems to be acting strange, he constantly thinks he is being watched or followed and nobody except him seems to be acting rationally at all, not even his new love.

Nonetheless they accept an invitation to stay the night, where he has a quick liason with Clorinda the young woman of the house after which he flees the house speeding off to try and clear his head as to what is happening, he hears a dull thud from the trunk of the car, when he investigates he finds the hit-man there apparently dead, but he jumps up and orders Christian to drive to a local quarry where he aims to kill him for sure this time, again Christian gets the better of him kills him in a gloriously gruesome way, before setting him alight and pushing the car of the edge, below in the quarry he sees a man that he believes has been following him in a car with Barbara, he is even more confused now and follows them, they lead him to his own family business where he overhears them discussing with his brother Fritz Bauman (Ivan Rassimov,Jungle Holocaust,All the Colors of the Dark) their plan to have him locked up,the strange man mistakingly tells Fritz his brother has been killed in the quarry, Fritz is happy with this news, but this is the final straw for Christian and he sets out to take revenge on his sibling.

A really bizarre film, with really off the wall dialogue,Christian after a mere few hours of knowing Barbara calls her his "sweet little whore" and the film is full of things that just don't add up and characters that don't seem to have any relevance or relation to each other. Interspersed between all the action are various scenes of latex dummies being hung, stabbed and found mutilated, these add to the films quirkiness and leave the viewer baffled as to their meaning., the films linear storyline you would think would make it easier to follow but its not the case, its not until the films finale that Lenzi finally reveals the brutal and shocking revelations. Susan George clone Kendall puts in a fine performance as does Hoffman, Rassimov fits nicely into his usual bad guy role only this time with a twist. This is not your typical Giallo and here Lenzi who took over from Lucio Fulci as director of the project after he quit, dispenses with genre cornerstones (blood, gore,masked killer,black gloves etc..a fact that might be off putting for Giallo traditionalists) in favour of colourful characterisations and an exploration of madness and the psyche, in fact he also dispenses with the usual dark urban landscapes in favour of burning bright sunshine by the sea, a brave move that just about succeeds. Ennio Morricone's score is more percussive than usual and is at times generic but not without its charm. Another surprise contributor to the US release was one Giorgio Romero?, who added scenes of gore at the American distributors request much to the chargrin of Umberto, these were later removed for the Shriek Show DVD, the picture quality of which is decent but the sound suffers from the occasional hiss, also included is a brief but very interesting interview with Lenzi who is never one to mince his words…

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