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... Actually it is not exactly an horror movie, but rather more a thriller (or, better, a giallo). Visionary, tense, well acted (& dubbed), nice locations (villas, interiors, landscapes, cars, etc.), care to costumes and details, a nice 7 notes tune... it is a truly enjoyable little gem from the (not enough) celebrated Italian gore maestro. The plot itself, assuming it is possible to have such supernatural powers, develops convincingly and without too many disgusting bloody scenes . In some points (the visions, particularly the reversed statue) I had the feeling that Kubrick in Shining (1980) might have stolen something (MURDER...). Will it be possible? Oh, I was forgetting, the actress (O neill) is wonderful, and Ferzetti (Once upon in the West, On Her Majesty's Secret Service) is playing as well. 8.5/10 Well done Lucio!
"The Psychic" is probably one of Fulci's most plot-based movies. It also
fairly restrained; it is surprising that this was not issued a PG-13
The only real gore was in the beginning of the movie when a woman falls
a cliff. Her face is shown hitting the side of the cliff repeatedly. Don't
let the lack of gore stop you from renting this, though, because this
is well worth it.
The story is as follows: A clairvoyant of sorts has a vision of a murder taking place in the house in which she lives. She then digs a skeleton out of the wall of the house. She calls the police, who in turn arrest her husband, the longtime owner of the house. In attempts to get her husband out of jail, she tries piecing together what happened based on her vision. It should be noted that the major plot twists are given away on the back of the box, so avoid reading it if surprise is wanted.
"The Psychic" is one of Fulci's few technically competent movies, containing few plot holes and a great storyline. Unfortunately, the same can not be said about the dialogue, which is subpar, and the quality, which takes away from the movie's viewing experience. Also, the first half of the movie drags, but luckily things pick up for the second half. Be sure to listen for the tune in the watch; it starts out like the theme song to "Zombie!"
This is an enjoyable movie for all audiences. My rating: 7 out of 10.
Murder to the Tune of Seven Black Notes is the last of Fulci's pre-gore
flick Giallo's, and it has to be said that it's the lowest quality of
the bunch. That, however, is more down to the fact that the others are
such brilliant films rather a shortfall with this one. Having already
done straight murderers with A Lizard in Woman's Skin and Don't Torture
a Duckling, Fulci has resorted to a supernatural plot line for his
fourth Giallo feature and the plot draws its mystery and intrigue from
it. Fulci has taken influence from the more psychological Giallo films
made before this one, as well as a plentiful helping of Edgar Allen
Poe's "The Black Cat". The plot kicks off properly with the uncovering
of a skeleton inside the walls of a villa belonging to the husband of
our young lady protagonist. Clairvoyance is the reason for finding the
skeleton, and naturally it isn't long before the husband is put under
suspicion for the murder given that the body was uncovered inside his
house; and he finds himself on the inside when it turns out that the
body belonged to one of his ex-lovers...
Despite the fact that this film serves as something of a prelude to the latter half of Fulci's career, there is a surprising lack of blood and guts, and this film isn't even as gory as the earlier Don't Torture a Duckling. Fulci presents his plot with a surprising amount of restraint, and doesn't even take the opportunity to show a heavily decomposed corpse as he did in the largely gore-less One on Top of the Other over a decade earlier. While the plot itself does serve up intrigue, it has to be said that it's a little too bare to cover the running time properly. The suspense is there throughout, but Fulci's script certainly could have benefited from adhering a little more to the common convoluted Giallo plot. The technical side of the film makes up for this shortfall, however, as Fulci's use of the camera is excellent and he continually presents a morbid and foreboding atmosphere, particularly inside the central villa location. The tension mounts as we approach the ending, and Murder to the Tune of Seven Black Notes boils down to a satisfyingly macabre - if a little abrupt - conclusion. This film may not be Fulci's best Giallo attempt, and it is liable to disappoint fans of his later, bloodier films; but if you like your atmospheres grim and your plots suspenseful; Fulci's fourth Giallo comes recommended.
Virginia is a girl who, since child, has an strange power to see the
past, the present or the future. Driving through a subway, she finds
ans strange vision of a murder. In the visions, she thinks to see a
very recognizable room. It is one of the rooms of her husband's old
houses. She goes there and find a skeleton behind the wall. Now she
must re-think all her vision to find out the mystery.
Maybe is not a thing of surprise only of style. We know how is going to end all, is a revision of OEDIPUS REX and is a successful bet that Fulci and writer Sacchetti do here: You cant's fool destiny. Thoug you must go until the end to find out if is true or false. And you just don't believe it! This is one of the most beautiful films of Lucio Fulci. Along with his masterpiece THE BEYOND, this films got it all - O.K there is no gore for those "fans" of Fulci who love him only for that, but there's style and in great form. Jennifer O'Neil was probably selected after seeing Visconti's THE INNOCENT.
Don't loose by any chance this movie. A great giallo. The Severin copy, even if not have the original Italian soundtrack, is the best print to find in remastered forms.
The recently married and clairvoyant Virginia Ducci (Jennifer O'Neil)
decides to surprise her new husband by renovating his country home, a
home she has never been in. On the way she has visions of a dead woman
hidden behind a wall, another woman dead with a bloodstained face and a
strange red room. When she arrives at the country residence the
realises that the room she is in is the one from her vision and sets
about breaking down the wall, where she finds the dead body of an
unknown woman. The police are very suspicious of her and her husband,
he is soon pulled in and made the no 1 suspect as he had a relationship
with the deceased girl. Virginia believing her husbands innocence then
proceeds to investigate in amateur sleuth fashion, her visions guiding
her to the shocking truth.
Brilliantly paced Giallo that slowly feeds us with the information we need to discover the truth behind the ghastly visions. The beautiful O'Neill is excellent, a pity she didn't do more films in the genre. Fulci has a reputation as one of the kings of gore but here yet again he is restrained in that department, there's very little blood or gore and positively no nudity, but this film shows yet again that he could make really good films, "Duckling", "Lizard" and One on top of the other prove that he is a legend in the history of the giallo, Great story, Great score, Great ending, Superb Film!
Often nicknamed the 'Godfather of Gore', cult-director Lucio Fulci is
doubtlessly most famous for his gruesome Zombie films. The man's
greatest achievements, however, are (in my humble opinion), his
comparatively gore-less, but spine-chilling and extremely elegant
Gialli from the 70s. After the brilliant "Non Si Sevizia Un Paperino"
(aka. "Don't Torture A Duckling", 1972), which I would name as one of
the top-5 Gialli of all-time, "Sette Note In Nero" aka. "Seven Notes in
Black"/"Murder to the Tune of the Seven Black Notes" of 1977 is a close
second on my list of the greatest Fulci films, and it also ranks among
the true greats of the Giallo genre in general.
As a child, the clairvoyant Virginia has a vision of her mother's suicide at the very moment of its occurrence. As an adult, Virginia (Jennifer O'Neill), who has recently married the wealthy Francesco Ducci (Gianni Garko) continues to have menacing visions. One day, she has the disturbing vision of a gruesome murder, in which a woman is being walled in...
I do not want to go deeper into the plot, because this brilliant film is filled with clever twists from the very beginning. "Seven Notes in Black" contains no sleaze and hardly any gore, but has an incredibly intriguing and suspenseful plot containing ingenious red herrings and unpredictable plot twists, and is filmed in an incredibly beautiful yet unspeakably creepy visual style. While the film includes little blood and only very few gruesome scenes, the suspense-level is extremely high and intense, and the mystery is maintained until the very end. A fascinating plot, a truly haunting atmosphere and uncanny visual style make this one of the most tantalizing Giallo-experiences ever brought to screen. The score is another insanely brilliant aspect about "Seven Notes in Black" - Seldom is a soundtrack as successful in building up tension, and beautiful to listen to at the same time. Especially the haunting 'Seven Black Notes' theme is incredible; I'm sure Quentin Tarantino had good reasons to re-use it for "Kill Bill". The performances are also very good. The ravishing Jennifer O'Neill is great as the original and likable protagonist Virginia. The biggest name in the cast is doubtlessly Gianni Garko, who is most famous as star of many Spaghetti Westerns, and who delivers another great performance here. However, all cast members (many of them Italian Horror regulars) fit greatly in their roles. Overall, I can not come up with a single negative aspect about this film. "Sette Note in Nero" is incredibly suspenseful, genuinely creepy, extremely elegant and simply brilliant in all regards. No lover of Italian Horror can possibly afford to miss this tantalizing Giallo-gem, which is yet another proof that Fulci was a Horror-genius! 9.5/10
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Truly a masterpiece of giallo genre and one of the best Fulci movies!
From start to end, it relies heavily on plot and various details in
plot that can twist your imagination and lead you to different
conclusions. The most interesting thing is ingenious original title,
made in a classic bizarre giallo type: "Seven Notes in Black" which
basically rounds movie perfectly (won't mention why because of spoilers
but when you see movie you'll catch it). It is truly sad that title is
changed for international release :(
From start to end, this little gem will force you to watch it with constant "brain work" about finding connections between visions and situations that happens around main characters.
Hard Fulci fans would be disappointed because of very little gore scenes - but this movie doesn't need gore - it is "light" giallo with suspense, atmosphere and nice twists and turns and that's enough to see that Fulci can make something good even without buckets of blood.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Picked up an entirely French version of this and even I, a vivid Lucio Fulci fan, couldn't immediately tell what film it was I held there in my hands. When it comes to style and substance, "7 Notes in Black" comes darn close to the master's ultimate success film "Don't Torture a Duckling". Less gruesome and the emphasis lies on story and atmosphere. I guess that's why this little gem got catapulted straight into oblivion, as numerous gore flicks settled Fulci up with his infamous and still growing "Godfather of Gore"-reputation. "7 Notes in Black" is an unhinged and powerful giallo, complete with a very twisted plot, morbid atmosphere, spooky sound effects and far-fetched twists. Dario Argento and Mario Bava usually are the experts in this domain, but Fulci once again proves himself capable of delivering an equally brilliant and suspenseful mystery that keeps you on the edge of your seat the whole time. The film opens with an unsettling sequence in which a young girl witnesses her mother committing suicide (by the way, the actual suicide is almost an exact copy of the one in "Don't Torture a Duckling" and shows the victim bumping her head against the cliff several times...quite gruesome) even though she's in a completely different country. The young Virginia is clairvoyant and almost 20 years later, she has a similar vision in which she witnesses a woman getting walled up in the house belonging to her husband. When there really is a skeleton found inside the walls of the mansion, Virginia attempts to reconstruct what happened to this unfortunate women by the images shown to her in a vision. But our courageous heroine is in great danger, since it's unclear whether the vision illustrates past ...or future. The screenplay is well-written and smart, while Fulci's professional directing manages to keep you guessing along until the very last second. There's a constant ominous tone featuring in this film and the magnificent "7 notes" tune even increases the tension. This is vintage Italian horror and definitely Fulci's most regretfully underrated achievement. Despite of what everyone thinks of him, he's a gifted filmmaker with an eye for absolute terror and a passion for the macabre. If you also were a fan of "Don't Torture a Duckling" (and I know there are a lot of fans of that title here on this site) I strongly advise you to look for this film as well. It's a hard one to find, but it's worth every minute of trouble.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Although director Lucio Fulci had excelled in the early '70s with such marvelous gialli as "Lizard in a Woman's Skin" and "Don't Torture a Duckling," his 1977 offering, "The Psychic," is not really a giallo at all. Indeed, to my surprise, it turned out to be more of an old-fashioned murder mystery, with decided overtones of the supernatural. In it, beautiful Jennifer O'Neill plays Virginia, a decorator (American, I take it) who is newly wed to a hunky Italian businessman. Gifted with transient powers of ESP (she had, as a child, seen her mother's free-fall suicide off the White Cliffs of Dover from hundreds of miles away), she is now being bothered by troubling visions again. But what do the mental images of a broken mirror, an old woman's bloody face, an ornate red room, a limping man, an excavated wall, and a blue ashtray have to do with her? With a cleverly executed plot, Fulci & Co. bring all their great talents together to create one fairly suspenseful stew...especially as Virginia slowly begins to realize that her visions may not necessarily be of events already transpired. "The Psychic" hardly qualifies as a giallo in that the body count is extremely low, the gore is mostly absent (that drippy face excepted!), and the murderous set pieces are kept at a minimum. Still, the film holds the viewer's attention, and even boasts several riveting sequences, such as the pursuit of Virginia by a sinister man (the always dependable Gabriele Ferzetti) through an abandoned palazzo (somewhat reminiscent of Florinda Bolkan's pursuit through an empty cathedral in "Lizard"), and the film's Poe-influenced, claustrophobic finale. The film's plot does hold together well, although a repeat viewing may be necessary to really appreciate all its complexities. While the gorehound fans of Fulci's later period may feel a bit disappointed by the film's restraint, those seeking a stylish, well-acted and genuinely eerie entertainment could certainly do a lot worse. The wet-blanket editors of the "Maltin Movie Guide" rate this movie a "Bomb," and even my beloved "Psychotronic Encyclopedia" calls it "dull," but I think they're being way too harsh here. See for yourself....
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Two crucial warnings for anyone planning to watch "Seven Notes In
Black" AKA "The Psychic":
A) Do NOT watch the trailer beforehand. It spoils too much.
B) Pay CLOSE attention to the heroine's vision at the start. Every single frame is important.
I've seen a few Lucio Fulci films over the years, and this is one of his best-made. It shows remarkable attention to detail - it's like a puzzle that is not completed until the very last shot (which gives perfect meaning to the enigmatic - and much better - original title). Atypically for Fulci, it's not very gory (it could probably get by with a PG-13 today), and its story hangs together. However, it's a little too cold and detached, like most of its characters (including Jennifer O'Neill, though Fulci certainly seems mesmerized by her face). There is also some questionable dubbing in minor roles. Nonetheless, Fulci scores with this one. *** out of 4.
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