The Iguana with the Tongue of Fire (1971) Poster

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Rough around the edges but interesting giallo!
niallahearne18 March 2008
Hi, Actually some of this film was made in Waterford, including the 'bridge in the fog' and river scenes. I was an eighteen year old working as an assistant in a chemist shop on the quays in Waterford when some of the crew came in and asked my boss Michael F. O'Connor to make up a concoction that would fizzle like acid when thrown on the victim. This he duly did, after some experimentation! They spent at least three days in Waterford. This was a very exciting event for me as I was a huge movie buff, and I still am of course! I have the DVD release and also the soundtrack composed by Stelvio Cipriani. Great memories. I would be glad to hear from you if you ever read this message. Niall.
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Watchable and pretty sadistic Italian giallo.
HumanoidOfFlesh29 November 2014
So I decided to re-watch "The Iguana and the Tongue of Fire" by Riccardo Freda after many years of not seeing the movie.In the prologue beautiful woman has her face melted with acid and her throat slashed by unknown black gloved killer.Her body is found in the trunk of a car belonging to the Swiss ambassador.Former police Inspector John Norton(Luigi Pistill)tries to solve this grisly case of mutilation and murder.But the elusive killer soon will kill more victims.""The Iguana and the Tongue of Fire" is a watchable albeit quite unsatisfying giallo with several nasty and gory murder scenes and very sadistic finale.The acting is fairly good and there is a bit of nudity.Still it seems that Riccardo Freda himself was dissatisfied with the film and effectively disowned it.That's why he directed it under the pseudonym of Willy Pareto.7 fiery iguanas out of 10.
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Want to get copy of this movie
countjohnny30 December 2006
This is not a review as I have not seen the movie but I worked on it as 3rd Assistant Director and also had a part as a barman opposite star Luigi Pistilli - all of 30 seconds. Would love to have a copy for posterity! Your reviewer was pretty accurate as to the gore. I was there when granny's cat got its throat cut in the fridge. I can also tell you a tale or two about the cast and the making of the movie. The whole thing was shot in 2 weeks on location in Dublin. One of the dead bodies in the boot of the car was a friend of mine. The car used in the final scene where the villain crashes through the window belonged to a friend of mine. We had to get it resprayed after that. If anyone can tell me where I can get a copy I would be truly grateful Regards - John McCormack
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"L'Iguana dalla lingua di fuoco" aka. "The Inguana with the Tongue of Fire" is certainly not a very memorable or spectacular Giallo, but it is still a pretty entertaining film that I recommend to my fellow Italian Horror buffs. The film, which is brought to you by director Riccardo Freda ("Lo Spettro", "Murder Inferno",...) has its flaws, but it also has quite a bunch of highly memorable elements. The film takes place in Ireland and, as far as I know of, this is the only Giallo ever set in Eire. The plot may not be the most original, and the twists sometimes seem a bit silly for Giallo standards, yet this is very cool in some aspects. The film has an eerie general mood and is often quite nasty, with gory murders, and the great Italian actor Luigi Pistilli in the lead as an investigating ex-cop. Pistilli truly was one of the greats in Italian cult-cinema, whose great performances complimented masterpieces of a variety of genres, such as brilliant Westerns ("For A Few Dollars More", "The Good The Bad And The Ugly", "The Great Silence"), ingenious Crime-Cinema ("Milano Calibro 9"), sublime Gialli ("Your Vice Is A Locked Room And Only I Have The Key", "The Scorpion's Tail") or Mario Bava's blood-soaked slasher landmark "A Bay Of Blood", just to mention some of the most memorable films the man has been in. And Pistilli once again delivers a great performance as the former Detective John Norton, a Dublin ex-copper who lives with his teenage daughter and his almost deaf mother. After a murder near the Swiss embassy, other violent murders follow. Since the police don't find any clues, the ex-detective Norton is appointed to the case... As mentioned above, the murder sequences are quite gory and nasty (if sometimes a bit clumsy). The score is also excellent, which contributes a lot to the atmosphere. The film also has some silly elements, such as a shrill tune whenever something eerie happens, but never to an extent that would lessen the entertainment-value. Pistilli is great, and the rest of the performances are not bad either, Anton Diffring is wonderfully arrogant as the Swiss ambassador, Irish actor Arthur O'Sullivan is very good as a grumpy elderly Police inspector, and beautiful Dagmar Lassander makes a sexy female lead. All things considered, this film is certainly no Giallo-highlight, but it is an overall entertaining flick that is well worth watching for Italian Horror buffs.
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certainly entertaining enough
christopher-underwood15 April 2016
This starts very well, indeed, startlingly so with surreal quality about it as we proceed from outlandish and vivid killing to child finding body in trunk of car and something strange going on with eyes. Various persons emerge from secret doors and there is emphasis upon dark glasses and limited sight with some weird sound going off to suggest something untoward is about to happen. Things calm down and killing become a bit mundane, very bloody but not very involving until the end when things spark back into life. Along the way, Anton Differing is effective, if a little one note and Dagmar Lassander lovely as ever. Veteran actress, Valentina Cortese puts in a great little performance and Italian movie stalwart Luigi Pistilli is most effective. Great shots of Dublin and Switzerland along the way and if this is not the finest giallo, it is certainly entertaining enough.
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a supremely limber and entertaining giallo-esque thriller
Weirdling_Wolf23 January 2014
With the rather cumbersome title of 'The Iguana with the Tongue of Fire' the film itself actually proves to be a supremely limber and entertaining giallo-esque thriller from Riccardo Freda. Thus far the general consensus on this lurid early 70's slasher is a trifle underwhelming, but, on the contrary, I really enjoyed this brisk, Ireland-set thriller; with all its pungent red herrings; gonzoid throat slashings, and plethora of charred, vitriol burned flesh.

The venerable Anton Diffring does his regular aristocratic aloof spiel with great elan, and the sublime Pistilli makes a zesty show of the violent, maverick copper; all in all 'Iguana with the tongue of fire' is a blast; and yet again, il maestro Stelvio Cipriani percolates another magnificently potent score.
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Weaker giallo with several standout scenes
Wheatpenny3 December 2001
After a brutal and attention-grabbing opening murder, this movie settles into a predictable rut. Riccardo Freda seems content to borrow the conventions of the giallo genre--such as giving the killer a recognizable trait like a limp, and then having half the characters in the film limp in various scenes--but manages to suck the life out of them, leaving a rather slow-moving film. Freda is considered a top-notch Italian director but it's hard to see why, especially since his protege had outclassed him and positively defined the genre the year before. Still, it's done with enough care to have (apparently) taught Brian DePalma a thing or two when it came to "Dressed to Kill," and the finale has a jaw-dropping viciousness to it that has to be seen to be believed, involving a nude 16 year-old, an old woman and a completely berserk black-gloved killer. It's just a shame that the scenes between the violent ones aren't more involving and interesting.
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Vicious slayings and questionable Irish accents are abound
daniel-mannouch14 November 2019
Warning: Spoilers
The blurb on the back of Arrow Video's blu ray release played a big part in me picking this bad boy up as it reads like an intriguing proto-slasher checklist, to say the very least. Let's go through them shall we?

A gloriously excessive giallo. Oh yeah. You want gratuitous zoom lenses, garish fashions, family drama to pad out the running time. You got it.

A rogues gallery of perverse characters. Well, some of them do look a bit dodgy, but I would think that would be an oversell. But with a screenplay this cynical, everyone comes off as if they have a dead body in their past.

Violent, fetishistic murders. Yes, very much so. Including a very effective death of a cat. The kills are remarkably brutal for 1971, almost reaching a Fulci level of bravado. They are indeed a good reason to hang on during Iguana's more ponderous moments.

One of the genre's most nonsensical, red-herring laden plots (which sees almost every incidental character hinted at potentially being the killer). Yes, it's fantastic. Thanks for asking. It's almost literally everyone. It's a ham-fisted attempt at misdirection, but it so of the time and so what i was expecting, I could not help but love it.

A sumptuous score by Stelvio Cipriani. Yes, another element atypical from the era, the composer for Nightmare City as well as a couple or so Mario Bava pictures delivers a jaunty and at psychedelic sound that give the film a lot of personality.

Exuberant supporting performances from Valentina Cortese and Dagmar Lassander. Well yes, in fact all the supporting characters deliver in either look and or performance. The story might bounce might literally bounce from continent to continent once in awhile, but the film never once becomes visually boring, which is sure as hell not something I can say for the rest of the film's in this marathon.

a luridly over-the-top latter-day entry in the filmography of acclaimed director Riccardo Freda. Well, for what it is, Iguana is well directed and edited. Freda got what he needed and then some. The film benefits greatly from his assured hand.

An archetypal giallo from the genre's heyday. Absolutely, in fact, that is exactly how I would summarise The Iguana with the Tongue of Fire. At times, it feels like a derivative cash in on Bird with the Crystal plumage, other times it has an impeccable style and enamouring quirks that give it a voice that is all it's own. Iguana is bloody, occasionally sleazy and at times has such a disregard for pace and character motivation, that it seems to run entirely on dream logic. It displays both the best and the worst the Giallo had to offer and I would 100% recommend it.
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Arrow Video has done much to resurrect and save the giallo film from disappearing. They've put out a vast number of the films in the genre that have prevented them from being lost forever. They're to be commended for this. With their release of THE IGUANA WITH THE TONGUE OF FIRE they've save another film but unfortunately not one of the better ones. Still all films deserve to be preserved.

Set in Dublin, already something different for a giallo film, the movie follows a particularly gruesome murderer who opens the film by splashing acid onto a woman's face before slicing her throat. Her body is then discovered in the trunk of Swiss Ambassador Sobiesky's (Anton Diffring) car by his wife and child. The police begin to investigate but are blocked as the Ambassador continues to cite diplomatic immunity. It turns out that the diplomat was having an affair with the young woman. But that doesn't mean he's the killer or does it?

His daughter Helen (Dagmar Lassander) heads out for a night on the town where she meets a man named John Norton (Luigi Pistilli) and the pair end up back and the diplomat's home sharing a bed with one another. As the pair become a couple it's revealed that John is actually an undercover police officer sent in as a work around to find out about what's transpiring behind the scenes.

More murders occur, more suspects are tossed into the mix and a final revelation of what has transpired and why finishes the film. The problem is that it gets a bit convoluted along the way and murders tend to take place without their being a reason for them in all cases. In addition to that the killer makes some stupid moves along the way that would normally end up in being caught but not here.

Director Riccardo Freda had a solid reputation as a film maker prior to this film and it didn't do much to tarnish that. He ended up unhappy with the results and had his name removed from the film. As for fans while not the best representation of the genre it's still one to watch and enjoy.

It's almost a given that anything Arrow releases will be amazing and this film is no exception. The quality of the transfer, a 2K restoration from the original 35mm camera negative, is amazing to see. The extras are their usual selection of items to be enjoyed as well. They include a new audio commentary track with giallo connoisseurs Adrian J. Smith and David Flint, OF CHAMELEONS AND IGUANAS a new video appreciation of film by cultural critic and academic Richard Dyer, CONSIDERING CIPRIANI an appreciation of composer Stelvio Cipriani and his score for the film by DJ and soundtrack collector Lovely Jon, THE CUTTING GAME a new interview with the films assistant editor Bruno Micheli, THE RED QUEEN OF HEARTS a career spanning interview with actress Dagmar Lassander, original Italian and international trailers, an image gallery, a reversible sleeve featuring original and new artwork by Graham Humphreys and a collectors booklet with new writing on the film by Andreas Ehrenreich.

Giallo fans and Arrow fans will want to make sure that they add this to their collection. It's a nice piece and will make both more complete than without. Fans of the giallo film will want to watch it even if it isn't the best example of the genre. It's still an enjoyable viewing.
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Below-average if still watchable genre effort
kannibalcorpsegrinder13 April 2019
Following a dead woman's discovery, the investigating detective is stymied by the fact that the chief suspect is held up behind the diplomatic immunity of a visiting ambassador, but as he becomes more determined to solve the case the bodies pile up which soon puts his family in danger.

Despite some issues here, there are some enjoyable elements present. One of the finest aspects present here is the rather ludicrous levels this one goes through to revel in its mystery. The central ploy of dealing with diplomatic avenues and various red tape that comes from that situation ensure that the struggle to actually investigate matters must be dealt with in a form surrounding that diplomatically which is what makes for such a silly time here as this attempts to accomplish that. Furthermore, this ludicrousness extends to other areas here, most notably the laughably inept flashback sequence showing the detective's main psychological issues with the flashback of him beating the suspect to death or the rather simple methods of interrogation that he has to undertake while in their company which anticipate the later chase scenes in the second half. With the general attitude of the film already gearing for the crazy, a delirious scene on a bobsled run or the absolutely surreal finale that includes a suspenseful chase through fog-lined streets to the bloodsoaked confrontation that features some utterly ludicrous scenarios at play, these here are what hold the film up although there are some problems with this one. Among it's biggest misgivings is that there's just nothing of interest happening for much of the running time, leaving this one feeling bland as a result. The lack of on-screen stalking or scenes featuring the killer stalking his victims is instead replaced with endless talk about the case or how his past is catching up to him, neither of which really prove to be all that interesting. The other real problem with this one is the fact that there's just so much haphazard work featured here that it really undoes a lot of the interesting material on display. The most infamous of which, the fake slow-motion sequence of the flashback showing the detective failing to stop the prisoner's suicide attempt is laughably ludicrous and really turns a tense sequence into a campy sequence, while the gore inserts of the acid-scarred faces crumbling away is somewhat goofy just for the suddenness of showcasing the feature out of the blue. The rest of the film follows in this cheap-looking manner, really causing this one to be lowered significantly.

Rated Unrated/R: Graphic Violence, Nudity, Language, mild sex scenes, violence-against-animals and drug use.
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Mostly unremarkable but with moments of inspired mayhem
Red-Barracuda22 February 2012
Warning: Spoilers
If you are a fan of the sub-genre known as giallo then its surely an impossibility to not be a bit excited by a film entitled The Iguana with the Tongue of Fire? It's a truly mind-melting title that promises so many potential psychotronic thrills. Sadly the movie itself just cannot live up to this terrific moniker. Its overall a somewhat clumsy effort really, although its still definitely entertaining in a trashy way.

The main thing that sets this one apart from all others is its Irish setting. Even though these films were set in various locations throughout Europe it remains a somewhat unusual location for a giallo, especially when it means that we have Luigi Pistilli dubbed with an Irish accent. And we also have a funny scene where a couple of characters take a bike ride through 'Dublin' – it looks hopelessly unlike the city though and appears more like Las Vegas. Location aside however, visually this is a relatively drab looking film with uninspired camera-work. Seeing as this is one of the chief strengths of the genre, this is a little unfortunate.

What The Iguana with the Tongue of Fire does have going for it is a mean-spirited exploitative element. There aren't that many on-screen murders – annoyingly several are lazily committed off-screen – but the ones that we do see involve gory throat slashings replete with the sound of gushing blood and acid attacks where peoples faces are burned nastily. These effects aren't very convincing but good value all the same. But probably best of all is the final act where the killer attacks a half-naked school-girl and then batters her granny's head repeatedly off a bed post! It's a scene that is wrong on several different levels but it's so out-of-order you just have to marvel at its audacity. The killer himself looks really freaky too, so a further plus point on that score. To be honest, the movie is really saved by the ending, as after a very promising start it does get bogged down with too much tedious detective work.

The cast is really good to be fair. Pistilli, Anton Diffring and Dagmar Lassander are all well worth seeing in any film. So the movie has decent personnel in front of the camera. There are also occasionally effective suspense scenes such as the chase through the foggy night street. But like I say, this one's probably got too much emphasis on the detective side for it's own good. But, all-in-all it still manages to pull enough tricks out of the bag to keep us happy.

Oh and who in their right mind would use a laundry service called the 'Swastika Laundry'? Sounds like a business Martin Bormann would have set up after the war while in hiding
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No classic, but worth a look
rjobrien_194330 January 2007
Warning: Spoilers
IGUANA WITH THE TONGUE OF FIRE has more than its share of faults. The film is often clunky and derivative, with little regard for telling a gripping or even coherent story. I don't think Riccardo Freda's heart was in the movie, a reflection - perhaps - that his career was on the wane. Freda's direction is often perfunctory, his frequent use of the zoom lens showing little of the imagination found in the work of friend and colleague Mario Bava. The pacing is uncertain, with little tension built between the extremely gory set-pieces. Freda does conjure some striking visuals, aided by cameraman Silvano Ippoliti, who also worked with Sergio Corbucci and Tinto Brass. The Irish locations are quite well used and certainly add novelty value.

The performances are competent but little more. Only Anton Diffring, Arthur O'Sullivan and Luigi Pistilli make much impression. Diffring and O'Sullivan dubbed their own dialogue, unlike Pistilli and several others in the cast (the film was shot without synchronised sound). The English dialogue varies from offbeat to functional to pretty awful. While the film avoids the blatant misogyny found in many 'giallo' thrillers, the vicious attack on Pistilli's teenage daughter is a cynical piece of sado-voyeurism. I found it more unpleasant than anything in Dario Argento's work. We don't even discover how badly hurt she was or if she recovered.

The recent German DVD release of IGUANA has an English language track. The transfer isn't great - it seems that the original film elements are lost - and several scenes are too murky. I think the distributor did the best possible job with the materials available and a restored, remastered version is highly unlikely.
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Gory giallo with some unusual ideas
rundbauchdodo24 October 2000
Riccardo Freda's rude giallo is not quite a masterpiece, but it still delivers good entertainment and some stuff quite unusual for the "typical" Italian thriller of the Sixties and Seventies. First of all, the movie plays in Dublin, which I already assume unique in the history of giallo. Second, the family involved in the crimes is the one of the Dutch ambassador in the Republic of Ireland, which makes the case even more complicated for the policemen involved.

Also very remarkable is the fact that this giallo delivers no nude scenes, which is quite rare for this genre. And last but not least, it's one of the goriest gialli before Dario Argento made "Profondo Rosso" (Deep Red). E.g.: Some hapless victims get their faces mutilated by acid before the killer slits their throats.

By the way Freda delivers some thrilling and uncanny moments, and the climax is extremely nasty for various reasons: It has to be seen to be believed. The cast - including Anton Diffring, Luigi Pistilli, Dagmar Lassander and Werner Pochath - is above average and always convincing.

All in all, "L'Iguana dalla Lingua di Fuoco" is not a masterly but still very cool giallo. Its only fault (possibly) is that it's too nasty for the easily offended - but easily offended people don't watch gialli anyway, I guess.
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Just as silly as it's title, but not as easy to like
The_Void11 May 2006
The title of this film is one of the most ludicrously lurid in the whole Giallo sub-genre, and that gives the viewer the right impression of this film. Some Giallo's strive for artistic merit, while others are more than happy to depict graphic, violent murders and make the sleaze and trashiness the main ingredient; this film is one of the latter. The film gets off to a very promising start, with a bloody murder that sees a young woman have acid thrown in her face before having her throat sliced open with a razorblade. While this sequence is poorly brought to the screen and suffers from really bad special effects, it's at least entertaining. However, from there the film quickly moves downhill, and director Riccardo Freda bombards the viewer with tedious sequence after tedious sequence, until the ending in which the film gets back on track. The plot after the initial murder sees the mutilated corpse turn up in the boot of the Swiss Ambassador's car. The Ambassador refuses to cooperate with the police as the girl was a former lover of his, and hard-bitten ex-cop John Norton is soon drafted in as the murders continue...

If Riccardo Freda could have made the middle of the movie as trashy and violent as the beginning and end, this could have been a pristine slice of Giallo sleaze; but the fact that the plot gets far too convoluted means the film gets boring too quickly, and despite a couple of decent scenarios in the centre of the film, there really isn't much to remember it for. The best sequence in the movie sees a young woman being chased through the streets by the murderer. The scene setting is good as the smoke filled pathway looks absolutely gorgeous, and the total lunacy of the conclusion to the chase bodes well with the trash theme of the movie. The acting leaves a lot to be desired and the poorly dubbed voices don't help. Of course, this isn't an actor's film; but considering the talent involved, this part of the movie should have been better. The murder scenes feel a little too much like an excuse to show blood and guts, and the fact that they aren't very well realised helps to ensure this. The climax is good, however, and while the identity of the killer doesn't really matter after watching the ninety minute ordeal, the revelation scene is good trashy fun. There isn't a lot I can recommend this for other than the obvious cult value; but fans of lurid cinema may find something to like.
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Love the title; like the film.
BA_Harrison6 January 2015
Pay no heed to the somewhat disparaging reviews here on IMDb: although The Iguana With The Tongue of Fire fails to live up to its wonderfully evocative title thanks to a rather mediocre storyline and a lacklustre finale, there is still much to entertain fans of the genre. Director Riccardo Freda's film features a decent cast, atmospheric location work in Ireland and Switzerland, some gnarly violence, silly red herrings aplenty, a little action, and a touch of sleaze, making this one fun despite the drawbacks of the plot.

The film stars Luigi Pistilli as Detective John Norton, whose investigation into the murder of a young woman (who has her face ruined by sulphuric acid and her neck sliced with a cut-throat razor in the gory opener) sees him becoming personally involved in the case after he develops a relationship with Helen (Dagmar Lassander), sexy daughter of the prime suspect, Swiss diplomat Ambassador Sobiesky (Anton Diffring). As the bodies continue to pile up, Norton's own mother and teenage daughter find themselves at risk...

From its gruesome opening, to the spectacular demise of the film's killer, The Iguana With The Tongue of Fire is trashy fun and should appeal to those who love their giallos bloody and sleazy; if the likes of The New York Ripper and Strip Nude for The Killer float your boat, you'll most likely get a kick out of this one too. In addition to the juicy razor attacks, we also get a 'decapitated cat in a fridge' gag, and Norton's mother having her head bashed in, while the nudity includes Lassender getting her top off for a brief sex scene, and Norton's daughter being attacked while just in her knickers (her childish dubbed voice making this scene a tad uncomfortable to watch).

The film also offers some great unintentional laughs: the woeful 'Oirish' dubbing will no doubt illicit some chuckles, as will the numerous red-herrings (everyone seems to own a pair of sunglasses, a cut-throat razor, or leather gloves) which, as if they're not blatant enough, are accompanied by a crashingly loud sound effect that really drives the point home—this is a possible clue and the owner of the item in question could be the killer!!!! The final reveal of the murderer's identity and his convoluted motive for killing are suitably daft—the icing on the whole silly giallo cake.
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A stretch for the title
BandSAboutMovies8 May 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Other than The Ghost, I hadn't seen many Riccardo Freda films before, only really knowing him from not finishing both I Vampiri and Caltiki - The Immortal Monster, films which Mario Bava took to completion. After The Bird with the Crystal Plumage made giallo into a box office success, Freda decided to try his hand at the form.

While the film's credits say that this is based on the book A Room Without a Door by Richard Mann, that was probably an invention of the filmmakers. Freda ended up being unhappy with the movie, wanting Roger Moore for the lead.

The first thing you may notice about this film is that it's made in Ireland, so the typical giallo set pieces aren't there. There's one gorgeous shot of the hills and rocks high above the water later in the movie that is completely breathtaking. And the accents in the film mark this as nowhere near Italy.

Starting with the first murder, where a girl has acid thrown in her face and her throat slashed, the film sets the tone that this is a lurid, scummy affair. But unlike most giallo, the murders appear at odds with the story. They just happen - there's rarely any lead or tension to them and we often only see the final results, unlike the movies of Argento that wallow in both the set-up and execution of the murders, often at the expense of the story itself.

Once the corpse is found inside a limo - one that belongs to Swiss Ambassador Sobiesky - that suspect claims diplomatic immunity. So the police pull an end around, bringing in tough ex-cop John Norton (Luigi Pistilli, A Bay of Blood, Enter the Devil, Your Vice Is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key) to get close to the family and discover the real killer.

He gets close in the biblical sense with the ambassador's daughter Helen (Dagmar Lassander, The House by the Cemetery, Hatchet for the Honeymoon)and caught up in the blackmail and sheer lunacy of the entire clan. Valentina Cortese (The Girl Who Knew Too Much, The Possessed) really stands out as the mother, who is always smoking long cigarettes and showing up way overdressed for any situation.

This is the kind of movie where every single individual - even the grandmother and daughter - can be the killer. It also has a completely pointless scene where the family cat is decapitated and left in the icebox. There's no real hero here, just a lot of bad people and people who are worse than them. By the end of the film, you'll have an entire living room filled with red herrings, trust me.
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Bezenby5 October 2017
"Your new friend is fast becoming a pain in the arse!"

This is one of the most hilariously ridiculous Giallo I've seen so far, and therefore it's great! It's also the only giallo set in Dublin, so you can see regular Italian actors drinking Guiness and saying "There's been a feckin murder, ya great eedjit".

The film starts off with a woman getting acid thrown in her face and her throat slit rather graphically. We then cut to the Swiss Embassy in Ireland, where her body is discovered in the boot of the ambassador's car. As the killer wore sunglasses during the killing, we also get dramatic soundtracks cues every time a character in this film has a pair of sunglasses!

Luigi Pistilli is the ex-cop hired by regular cops to track down the killer, and even though he's as Roman as you can get, his bushy eyebrows and curly hair do kind of work with his Irish dubbed voice. He gets straight down to investigating by hooking up with the Ambassador's daughter, played by wonky eyed Dagmar Lassander. Her dad is a complete jerk, her mother a drug addict, and her brother played by Werner Pocath in an insane bald get-up that has nothing to do with the plot but looks mental anyway!

Someone seems to be killing off people associated with the Swiss embassy, and next up is a cabaret singer with ties to the ambassador. There also seems to be a gay thing going on with some other guy and the ambassador's butler that involves blackmail, as well as the chauffeur being involved in another, separate blackmail plot. Looks like many people are up for an acid facial/throat slashing!

The daftness of this film is great. Every character at some point starts acting like they want to murder someone, from Luigi putting his hands around Dagmar's throat as if he's going to throw her off a cliff before just kissing her, to Luigi's gran getting pounced on by a gloved killer, only to reveal that it's her granddaughter reminding her to wear her glasses so she can hear better (I'm not making that up).

The chauffeur has an alibi as he was at the "Swasitika Laundry" (not making it up), and Luigi is even a suspect for a few minutes because his gran finds a bloody razor in a cupboard. That's the same scene that involves his cat being stabbed to death and stuffed in the fridge. Then there's the bobsleigh crash that is so crap I was howling with laughter...

We need films like this. Every time someone gets slashed in the throat a gallon of blood comes out. There's boobs everywhere and the Irish accents just add to the surrealism. This is a must watch to be honest if you're into crap films...
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A Dublin-based giallo film.
parry_na2 October 2020
Watching this film begins like a textbook example of why I love gialli so much. Stunning locations, a strident soundtrack (Stelvio Cipriani is the maestro here), shrieking women and bloodiest blood you ever saw. What is lacking here compared to other giallo films, however, is the usually meticulously manicured leading man - thick of moustache, lustrous hair, heavy of eyeliner - possibly because instead of a sundrenched Mediterranean location, events here take place in a chilly, often rain-soaked Dublin. Instead we have cigar chomping Anton Diffring, who may as well have 'villain' tattooed on his forehead, and exotic Dagmar Lassander - and a ubiquitous pair of smoky sunglasses, which always comes accompanied by a glassy sting of doom-laden music.

Despite the change in scenery, this is a typical, striking, solid giallo business as usual: an occasionally muggy storyline, some nasty moments and exotic kills in rooms with high ceilings, a seemingly sluggish police force and sporadic bouts of nudity.

Although the inevitable reveal in the finale was a let-down for me, the surrounding scenes are embellished with a real sense of perverse evil and fast-paced violence typical of the genre. My score is 6 out of 10.
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Great giallo from Riccardo freda..
joshjack-3568026 April 2020
I really liked this one but the first scene where the woman gets acid thrown in her face and her throat slit could of been done better (but it was 1971 when the film was released) . Great actors and good. Plot. And the music from stelvio cipriani couldn't get any better. And the beautiful scenery of Ireland. I highly recommend this giallo.
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Too complex and dispersive, unusual kind of wickedness using acid to injury in an irreversible form is real fresh!!
elo-equipamentos31 March 2020
One the great appeals on Giallo genre comes from their exotic names as such Iguana, Butterfly, Lizard, Scorpion and so on, it brought to this genre to a cult approach, this specific movie Iguana, took place at Dublin Ireland, o bit unusual to start, however a slight complex plot, had several murders along the movie where the killer left some objects trying to misleading the police, wrong move, the audience was enough able to avoid this manipulation, supposedly the killer is between of the main casting, but in this movie he is a secondary character, almost inconspicious, even with strong names as Luigi Pistille, Anton Diffring, Dagmar Lassander and the veteran actress Valentina Cortese the movie tawdry, having a strong graphic violence and gore scenes, has an interesting and unusual kind of wickedness using acid to injury in a irreversible form, in this point the movie is fresh!!


First watch: 2020 / How many: 1 / Source: DVD / Rating: 6.5
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Disappointing effort from Riccardo Freda
lazarillo27 November 2004
A beautiful woman is burned with acid, slashed to death with the razor, and stuffed in the trunk of a car belonging to the Swiss ambassador to Ireland. Sounds like the beginning of an Italian giallo, huh?. This is a pretty disappointing one, however, especially considering it comes from legendary Italian film director Riccardo Freda. The Dublin location is pretty interesting, but all the Irish and Swiss accents turn out to be a nightmare of bad dubbing. And this is one of those rare movies that actually would have benefited greatly from having the gore scenes censored out because they are tasteless, gratuitous, and worst of all, just plain laughable. The hero is an Irish rogue cop (he looks Irish anyway, but judging from the inconsistent dubbing of his voice, he must be part Italian as well). He has a teenage daughter and an elderly mother who fancies herself a latter-day Miss Marple (and I have confess, I've always wanted to see someone do to Miss Marple what the killer here does to her). He also embarks on a highly improbable affair with the ambassador's beautiful daughter (Dagmar Lassander). I haven't personally dated a lot of beautiful Swiss women, but I don't suspect too many of them would invite you upstairs for the night if you said things like: "So, luv, should we get it off on the motorbike or in the bushes?"

The movie contains a lot of nasty violence moving it past the comical tastelessness of gialli like "Strip Nude for your Killer" towards the genuinely unpleasant tastelessness of Fulci's "New York Ripper". The end which manages to combine some very gratuitous teenage nudity with some VERY severe abuse of the elderly might appeal to fans of transgressive cinema, but probably no one else.
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"You have no idea how far I can go"
hwg1957-102-26570416 October 2019
Warning: Spoilers
A giallo set in Ireland is novel at least and Dublin and the surrounding area are beautifully filmed by Silvano Ippoliti and it has a fine music score by Stelvio Cipriani but plot wise it is baffling and the director hasn't been able to draw the story strands together satisfactorily. The revelation of the main killer and their motive is disappointing and at the end in an off hand way one of the murders is attributed to another killer anyway! Why does the killer attack the detective's family? Why are there always dramatic music chords when a pair of sun glasses is shown? Why do both killers use acid? It's all rather confusing.

The acting seems OK but it's hard to evaluate when you watch a dubbed version. Luigi Pistilli just didn't seem right with an Irish accent. But it does have Anton Diffring who is always worth watching. He livened up many a mundane movie with his superior acting.

The film had potential but the iguana with the tongue of fire turned out to be a damp squib.
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Violent and reasonably entertaining giallo
Leofwine_draca4 August 2016
Warning: Spoilers
An entertainingly trashy giallo movie from Riccardo Freda, hiding under a pseudonym here for some reason or other. I knew of Freda's involvement before I watched this and as such was left feeling slightly disappointed, because it displays none of the trademark style he brought to the likes of such Italian gothics as THE TERRIBLE SECRET OF DR HICHCOCK. Instead the direction is passable, only springing into life in a couple of places and being run-of-the-mill for the rest of the time. THE IGUANA WITH THE TONGUE OF FIRE has very much a typical plot for the genre, packed with clues (the sunglasses crop up repeatedly), tons of red herrings, shifty characters, and an undercurrent of sex.

The unorthodox cop Norton, as played by Luigi Pistilli, is a brooding and haunted middle-aged man who keeps repeating his wife's suicide over and over in his mind. This makes for an unconventional leading man, usually a role played by a young handsome bloke in the Jean Sorel mode, but Pistilli shines in the part and gives a multi-layered performance (at least as far as the poor dubbed-in Irish accent will let him). Dagmar Lassander provides plenty of Italian glamour as the love interest Helen, and of course is required to shed her clothing as is the norm for the genre. Anton Diffring is always welcome and gives a typically icy turn as the Swiss ambassador whilst there's an early appearance from Werner Pochath, sadly underused here as Diffring's son.

The brief action sequences are top-notch and include a three-man fight in a drawing room which leaves the place wrecked, and an atmospheric chase through the dark streets of Dublin as a woman finds herself menaced by the mystery killer. The Dublin location makes a nice change from the norm although the silly over-the-top accents do become a bit grating and unconvincing after a while. This is definitely one of the gorier gialli that I've watched, in which the killer's modus operandi is to throw acid in his (usually beautiful) victim's face and then slash their throat with a straight razor, allowing for Fulci-style torrents of pumping blood. There's also a good shock sequence involving the body of a decapitated cat found in a fridge! THE IGUANA WITH THE TONGUE OF FIRE also has a really nasty conclusion, which I won't go into except to say it's incredibly violent. A fitting end, really, to what is very much a fun evening's entertainment for the giallo fan.
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Poor Example of The Giallo Genre
Destro5116 August 2001
With a great title along the lines of the films comprising Dario Argento's Animal Trilogy I was expecting a much better movie but was very dissapointed. In fact, the title and its explanation are probably the best things in L'Iguana dalla lingua di fuoco. This movie is very incoherent (of course, that doesn't always detract from a giallo) and more importantly, lacks the suspense and style usually associated with the genre. There's not much in this movie to keep one's interest (I fell asleep towards the end and when I woke up about half an hour later my tape had rewound completely and, no joke, had ejected itself from the VCR. Just some sort of subtle hint I guess). However, there are some positive aspects to the film. There is a decent amount of gore and fairly interesting characters. Then there is the camp value that L'Iguana dalla lingua di fuoco boasts (One of the film's main red herrings is the pair of dark sunglasses that the killer, as well as every citizen of Dublin, wears). Overall, this is a below average giallo but if not taken seriously, it can still be a fun viewing.
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Could have been worse, should have been better
jangu16 May 2001
I was rather disappointed by this effort from Freda, who's visual style I have always admired. "Iguana" is by comparison to many of his other movies rather clumsily assembled and Freda is not very sure in his timing of the shock-effects. There are compensations: a thrilling chase on a bridge, above-average performances, nice Dublin locations and a surprisingly nasty conclusion that involves a crazed killer beating up an old woman and torturing a semi-nude 16 year old!

However, these compensations are not enough to make it a worthwhile movie, even for fans of the giallo genre.

The plot is uninteresting and rather muddled, the score and cinematography sub-standard (for a film directed by super-stylist Riccardo Freda, I mean) and what is this hilarious obsession with sun-glasses!!!

According to rumor Riccard Freda wasn't too happy with "Iguana" himself and used the pseudonym "Willy Pareto" in the credits. It's not that it's a bad movie, it's just that it should have been so much better considering everyone involved.
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