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Police Comissioner Datti is investigating the murder of a female doctor whose murderer seems to be a thirty-fivish year old man. Soon another murder follows: Pianist Robert Dominici's girlfriend is found killed. The killer also challenges Datti on the phone and says he can't be caught since he has a secret which makes him invulnerable. In the meantime the clues seems to point in strange directions... Written by
Salvatore Santangelo <email@example.com>
Intriguing central idea but not particularly well executed
This horror/giallo was directed by Ruggero Deodato, who was more famous for extremely controversial films such as the very unpleasant The House on the Edge of the Park. With The Phantom of Death he reigned in his excesses and produced a far more restrained affair. Its story does have an original angle. A famous pianist discovers he has a rare disease which ages him extremely rapidly. This sets off a homicidal impulse in him and he thereafter goes about murdering women. He becomes hard for the police to track down seeing as the evidence suggests a much older man is responsible for the killings.
The cast in this one is very good on paper. Michael York is the pianist, giallo legend Edwige Fenech is his wife and Donald Pleasance is the cop pursuing the killer. York and Fenech put in a bit of effort with their characters but Pleasance seems to be going through the motions a bit. The lethargy is reflected in the film overall as it is a little dull for the most part and generally lacks suspense. There is a series of murders to enliven things a little but even they don't make too much of an impact. It's a shame in some respects that it is such a pedestrian effort because the central concept is at least an attempt at something a bit different. It's definitely a watchable enough film, however, just a little disappointing considering the potential.
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