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|Index||25 reviews in total|
This is a fine example of the giallo genre. It contains everything you
would expect from an Italian horror film like this: Interesting characters,
convoluted plot, brutal violence and a fair amount of suspense. The plot,
too, is great and is worthy of ol' Hitchcock himself.
It begins when giallo regular George Hilton catches a killer in the act
of disposing a body. George then blackmails the killer into murdering his
wife, all of which goes smoothly. However, the twist comes when a couple of
freewheeling kids steal the killer's car with the wife's body in the trunk.
The killer chases the kids to the beach and then the bloody fun starts.
As mentioned before, the plot and the many twists it takes, makes this giallo entry a standout in the genre. Then there is the great and creepy performance by Michael Antoine as the mysterious killer ( why was this guy only in two movies?). Most gialli have an unidentified, faceless killer with a secret plan as their antagonist but this movie does just the opposite and benefits from it. The only thing that bothered me about this film was the hideously ugly house George Hilton and his wife lived in, which seemed to made entirely out of yellow plastic. Oh well, I can forgive it because, afterall, the movie, like most gialli, was made in the seventies. Overall, a highly recommended giallo that has everything you could want from this type of movie and more.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I wasn't expecting much from this early effort by Italian rip-off artist and Argento/Bava-worshipper "Lewis Coates" (aka Luigi Cozzi), but I was pleasantly surprised. Like most Italian product of the era it has great music and cinematography, but it is also impressively edited, well-paced, suspenseful, and most amazing of all, has a plot that more or less makes sense (something almost unheard of in the Italian suspense genre). And what a great collection of European b-movie talent. La deliciosa 70's Spanish actress Cristina Galbo is the very appealing female lead, and most of the rest of the cast is made up of great Italian character actors as you've always seen them before: George Hilton as suave schemer who has his rich wife murdered, Michael Antoine as the truly creepy and sadistic killer, and Femi Benussi as the dumb, blonde, and badly-dubbed sexpot who winds up completely naked minutes after first appearing on screen and dead by the end. The only downside to this movie is the lousy full-screen transfer and atrocious English dubbing. Maybe Anchor Bay or somebody will one day rescue this film from gray-market oblivion and give it the wide-screen, subtitled release it deserves.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
- Mainardi (George Hilton) would like to see his wife dead. By chance,
he stumbles upon a killer as he is disposing of his latest victim.
Mainardi hires the man to do away with his wife. The killer is able to
gain access to the house and soon enough the wife is dead. He carries
her body to his car and places it in the trunk. He goes back into the
house to clean-up. But, when the killer returns to his car, he
discovers it has been stolen by a joy riding couple. Unfortunately for
the beach bound couple, they know nothing of the body in the trunk or
the killer who is hot on their trail.
- There is no mystery as to the killer's identity. We know who he is two minutes into the movie. Some may complain about the drawn out "chase" sequence, but it only adds to the tension. The time is taken to get to know the couple. So, when the killer finally catches up with them, these scenes are even more shocking because we actually know and care about the victims. I found these scenes of violence particularly disturbing. The long chase is necessary to build to this moment.
- Unlike many of the films in the giallo subgenre, The Killer Must Kill Again actually has a plot that makes sense and is easy to follow. Cozzi abandons most of the tricks associated with this kind of movie. There are no characters introduced in the final moments of the movie or last minute flashbacks that make some gialli so frustrating. The straight forward style of story telling is a nice change of pace for fans of the subgenre.
- The entire cast is wonderful. Antoine Saint-John makes a superb killer. He has one of the most menacing looks I've ever seen. George Hilton is his usual smarmy self. And the couple, particularly the innocent Cristina Galbo, are very believable as sympathetic pair of car thieves.
- The new DVD from Mondo Macabro is a real treat. Image and sound are better than I expected for an almost unknown movie from 1975. They've also loaded the disc with some very nice features, including extensive interview sessions will Cozzi and a commentary with Cozzi. I am very happy with this purchase.
Mr. Mainardi (Euro fave, George Hilton) accidentally witnesses a man
(Michel Antoine) dumping a body. Rather than report the crime to the
police, Mainardi blackmails him into murdering his wealthy wife, Norma.
Things go smoothly, but before the killer can dispose of Norma's body,
a delinquent couple steals the car which has the corpse stashed in the
trunk. The maniac begins tracking them down as the two are completely
oblivious to what they've gotten themselves into.
Before I bought and watched "The Killer Must Kill Again", Luigi Cozzi wasn't a director I had been particularly fond of. Being the sucker for gialli that I am, I decided to take a chance on this one when the DVD hit. While this isn't in the upper tier of Italian horror, it did prove to me that Cozzi is quite capable of doing something above substandard sleaze and cheese.
This is actually a quality film, though I fail to see how it has found itself classified as a giallo. We know who the killer if from the get-go, though he is never named. There is no mystery here unless you wonder what led to his initial murder which Mainardi stumbles upon. I have to say that it reminded me of Hitchcock's classic suspense pictures more than it did any giallo. "Dial M for Murder" definitely came to mind at first, but then it went off in it's own direction. On the other hand, as is usually the case in the giallo sub-genre, virtually none of the characters are totally innocent. The protagonists steal a car and $150, plus they lie constantly. I also thought it was amusing how Luca is romancing this girl, only to help another girl on the side of a road and then do her in the stolen car. Sometimes you just have to get any wherever you can! My main issue with the film is that after the car is stolen, it gets bogged down and doesn't really pick up again until the killer finds the couple. This portion could have been spiced up a bit.
The killer himself is actually a pretty intimidating fellow, what with Michel Antoine's reptilian facial features and large build, but he definitely has a lot of hell in this movie. Things just never seem to go right for him. As the greedy blackmailer, George Hilton is convincingly suave, even with the weird sideburns. These two make for a fine pair of villains.
Cozzi's direction is solid, and there are only a few small doses of the cheese that would dominate many of his later films. He employs some nifty camera tricks that he surely picked up from Argento. I also liked how he had the two very different sex scenes playing out seamlessly at the same time. In fact, that mean-spirited rape is the only real bit of nastiness on display here. Again, not the norm for a giallo, but the lack of it certainly doesn't hurt the film any.
Overall, this is a fine piece of work from a man who I originally had pegged as another Bruno Mattei. Any fan of the gialli sub-genre should be pleased, even if it isn't a giallo in the truest sense of the word. While the pacing goes off the rails at one point and the climax feels a tad anti-climatic, it's not enough to ruin things.
Most giallos are scarlet whodunits's, but Luigi Cozzi reveals his
killer (Antoine Saint-John) two minutes in and directs our attention to
a business relationship struck between the killer and a sleazy ladies'
man (George Hilton).
Despite breaking a golden rule of the genre, "The Killer Must Kill Again" is a fresh, kinetic thriller with uneven performances (the women), terrific cinematography and striking set pieces.
Antoine Saint-John is positively electric as the arrogant psychopath and rivets our attention to the screen.
For a change, the storyline is relatively linear and free of the usual clutter. The violence is bloody and smoothly directed, and Cozzi demonstrates a real flair for atmosphere.
Certainly not as operatic as an Argento or as sleazy as a Polselli, it is, nevertheless, compelling celluloid and a million miles away from inept Cozzi trash such as "Star Crash" and "Contamination".
This is a very well-done thriller. A bit bloodier and nastier than
Hitchcock's work, but very close in tone and production value. In fact,
the editing was very precise, apparently tightly storyboarded, which
was Hitchcock's method.
The locations are few but perfect. The "ugly yellow house" described in another review was actually very cool; the yellow walls appear to be painted with expensive Dutch enamel. Typical bold and imaginative Italian design.
The costumes are subtle, simple, but equally effective. Cristina Galdo in her soft jeans and innocent blouse is an incredibly alluring and convincing virgin. Michel Antoine, the killer, is tall and angular, with a James Woodsian countenance, cool and sinister in chic black pants and turtleneck.
The DVD is nicely done. Great sound and picture, and extras worth checking out.
If you like thrillers, definitely go for this one. Even if you have a hard time with foreign films, you will find this one palatable, with very smooth dubbing, an attractive and capable cast, and a solid, unpredictable storyline, delivered by a master director.
Luigi Cozzi was assistant director on Dario Argento's Four Flies on
Grey Velvet, so he had a bit of experience working on a thriller. The
Killer Must Kill Again is the first time he got a chance to direct one
The story begins with a man witnessing a mysterious killer disposing of a body by a river. Instead of reporting him to the police, he blackmails him into murdering his wife so that he can cash in the insurance. All goes to plan until a couple of joy riders steal the car where the wife's body is stashed. The killer then pursues these unfortunate delinquents who know nothing of the hidden body.
This one benefits from a good cast. Giallo regular George Hilton plays the husband and he is once again convincing as a very shady character. Alessio Orano (Lisa and the Devil) impresses as one of the joy riders. But best of all is Antoine Saint-John as 'the killer'. He is very intense and is impressively creepy in this role. The very fact that, unlike regular gialli, the killer's identity is known from the start is an active advantage here as Saint-John's sinister look could not have been exploited if the murderer was a mystery presence. In fairness, the very fact that there is no mystery in this film at all makes me question if it truly is a giallo in the first place. My feeling is that it isn't, although it shares many of the conventions of the genre such as a cast of unsympathetic characters, brutal violence - including a somewhat unpleasant rape scene - and a stylish look - check out Hilton's yellow pad.
Because of the lack of a mystery this one has to depend on other things to keep it interesting. It isn't always successful though and the story does lack a bit of excitement at times. There is a decent set up developed at the beginning and there is some effective tension towards the end but it does meander a bit in the middle. Still, it's well made and acted and is certainly a solid film overall.
Giorgio Mainardi is a man at odds with his wife. When his wife
threatens to cut him off from her back account he searches for a way to
get back. While sitting in his car contemplating things Giorgio sees a
man pull his red VW up to the river and push it in (along with the body
of a woman). Mainardi hatches a scheme while in cahoots with the killer
to rip himself of his wife and grab all her cash. All, as you may guess
goes horribly wrong.
The overall storyline is quite compelling. There were several instances where I thought to myself that I had not seen that particular wrinkle before. But sadly there was not enough action for my taste. The cinematography and acting were very good but the "road" scenes just weighed the movement down. "Killer" is an average giallo who scores for some interesting "wrinkles".
After catching a serial killer (Antoine Saint-John) in the act of
disposing of a victim, adulterous businessman Giorgio Mainardi (George
Hilton) sees a way to solve both his romantic and financial problems at
the same time: he blackmails the murderer into killing his wealthy wife
Nora. Things go awry, however, when the killer's car is stolen by a
young couple, Luca and Laura (Alessio Orano and Cristina Galbó), who
are blissfully unaware of Nora's dead body stashed in the trunk. While
Giorgio tries to keep his cool as an inquisitive police inspector
enquires about his missing wife, the creepy killer tracks Luca and
Laura to a disused seaside property where the couple plan a spot of
When is a giallo not a giallo? When it turns the conventions of the genre upside-down by revealing both the identity of the killer and the motive for the movie's central murder within minutes, as occurs in Luigi Cozzi's The Dark is Death's Friend (AKA The Killer Must Kill Again). Rather than leave the viewer trying to solve a mystery, Cozzi lets us know precisely what is happening from the outset; the trick is to try and guess how the antagonists' plans will eventually pan out, and who might be eliminated along the way.
Even though Cozzi's film mucks about with the accepted structure of the giallo, the plot still allows for the classic genre ingredients of sex and violence, with a smattering of nudity (both Galbo and busty beauty Femi Benussi get their kit off), a shocking rape scene, and one particularly vicious and bloody murder. The film also benefits from one of the more memorable maniacs of Italian cinema, Antoine Saint-John's gaunt features making him a natural for such a role. Fans of the giallo genre will not be disappointed.
"The Dark Is Death's Friend" has been classified as a giallo in some circles, though it really isn't, despite being Italian and involving murders. It's actually one of those movies where the "perfect" murder is planned, but things soon go wrong. I often find those movies very entertaining, because they get me wondering what I would do if I were unlucky to be stuck in the situation. Anyway, this is a pretty good example of one of those movies... for the most part. To be specific, the opening thirty or so minutes are well done, setting things up well and being quite captivating. Unfortunately, the middle thirty minutes of the movie is extremely slow and uneventful, with most of it being completely disposable. Fortunately, the last thirty minutes get going again, being suspenseful and creepy, and ending on a good note. Special kudos needs to go to Antoine Saint-John, who plays the nameless creepy killer - it's quite a good performance. The boring middle part of the movie stops this movie from being a classic, but if you wait to watch the movie when you are in a patient mood, you should find it worth your time overall.
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