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Pier Paolo Capponi,
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On the contrary! The more beautiful, the sweeter they die!
It's always nice to come across a worthwhile Italian Giallo that was made in the 1980's, because this wondrously unique sub genre of horror is almost automatically & irreversibly linked to the 1970's, more particularly the earlier years of that decade. During that period there were approximately a dozen of great films released each year, but this amount vastly decreased near the end of the 70's already. And throughout the entire 80's decade, only a handful of competent Gialli came out, including Dario Argento's "Tenebre" and "Opera", Lamberto Bava's "Midnight Ripper", Lucio Fulci's "The New York Ripper" and Alberto De Martino's "Formula for Murder". Dario Piana's contribution "Too Beautiful To Die" could easily join this short list, but the film is sadly obscure and almost impossible to track down. Maybe - and hopefully - this might change soon, as I just noticed that Dario Piana out of the blue directed "The Deaths of Ian Stone"; one of the movies included in the famous "8 movies to die for" horror event. Perhaps after gaining a bit of name-fame, some clever distribution company might dig up the director's earliest effort and release it on DVD. Here's to wishful thinking, because the film honestly deserves to be seen by a wider audience.
"Too Beautiful to Die", like so many other Gialli movies, takes place in a world full of gorgeous fashion models, perverted old rich bastards, extortion and of course sadistic murders. We step into the decor of a modeling agency when they're about to shoot an extended music video (I think) with the girls wearing exhilarating S&M outfits and waving around dangerously sharp daggers. The models are also involved in a network of prostitution, but when a promising young beauty refuses to have sex with an elderly client, her lifeless body is dragged out of a sunken car the next morning. The autopsy proves she was shot in the head before the car got pushed of a cliff. The shoot continues and the poor girl gets replaced, but shortly after everyone who was there that night is killed off with the macabre scenery used in the video. The plot is standard Giallo material, but there are a few pleasant and thoughtful twists and director Dario Piana upholds an adequate level of suspense and mystery until the very end. The starlets are indescribably beautiful, their revealing outfits are unimaginably sexy and there's one steaming hot (and admirably stylish) sex sequence to make it all complete. Perhaps one advantage 80's Gialli have over their 70's competitors, they are MUCH women-friendlier and respectful. The murders are obviously rather grisly, as they are committed with eerie daggers and even a replica Iron Maiden torture device, and the revelation of the killers' identity is absurd in a good old-fashioned way. "Too Beautiful to Die" actually only has one major downside, and it isn't even the film's own fault. It was an inexplicably popular trend back in the 1980's to stuff any movie, no matter what genre or subject matter, with annoying hit music and incredibly overlong footage of people dancing to it. Especially in the case of a whodunit, this completely ruins the atmosphere and brings the viewer out of his/her concentration. Also, another reason why 70's Gialli were so fantastic was because they featured their very own soundtrack (usually mastered by Ennio Morricone), whereas this gem has to settle for contemporary popular band, like Toto and Frankie Goes to Hollywood. Apart from the cheesy 80's-flavored sauce, "Too Beautiful to Die" is a delicious Italian Giallo-dish.
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