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Oliviero is a burned-out writer, living at his estate near Verona, his dead mother dominating his imagination. He is also a degenerate: sleeps with his maid and his ex-student, hosts Bacchanalia for local hippies, and humiliates his wife Irina in front of strangers. She lives in terror. When a young woman is murdered, police suspect Oliviero. Things get complicated when his young, beautiful, and self-confident niece, Floriana, pays an unexpected visit. A silver-haired stranger observes. More women die, and thoughts of harming Irina give Oliviero new inspiration. What's Floriana's game and who's the observant stranger? Watching all is a black cat named Satan. Written by
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Before I first saw Sergio Martino's masterpiece "Il Tuo vizio è una stanza chiusa e solo io ne ho la chiave" (aka. "Your Vice Is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key") of 1972 my expectations were already high. I already was a great fan of director Martino, whose other Gialli, "The Strange Vice Of Mrs Wardh", "Torso", "The Scorpion's Tail" and "All Colors Of The Dark" were entirely fantastic films, and since this film is a Giallo (loosely) based on the writings of the almighty Edgar Alan Poe, I was sure it would be excellent. Even so, this brilliant gem surpassed my greatest hopes. Not only is "Your Vice Is A Locked Room And Only I Have The Key" a film with an awesome title, and by far Martino's greatest film. This instant personal favorite is an absolutely ingenious and astonishing masterpiece that easily ranks among the finest Gialli ever brought to screen. The beauty of "The Strange Vice Of Mrs. Wardh", the compelling plot of "The Scorpion's Tail", the genuine nastiness of "Torso" or the delightful insanity of "All Colors Of The Night"... - "Your Vice Is A Locked Room..." combines all the great elements of Martino's other films and even improves on them. This film is brilliant in all aspects and an absolute must-see that no lover of Italian Genre-cinema or Horror-fan in general could possibly afford to miss.
Oliviero Rouvigni (played by the great Luigi Pistilli), a burned-out and alcoholic writer, lives in a rural mansion with his beautiful wife Irina (Anita Strindberg), whom he likes to maltreat and publicly humiliate in front of his eccentric friends. After one of their decadent parties, a girl gets brutally butchered in the small nearby town...
I would love to further discuss the compelling plot of this ingenious film, but the film is simply too precious a gem for any Horror fan to spoil even a tiny bit of it. The film has one of the most excellent ensemble casts ever in a Giallo. Luigi Pistilli, doubtlessly one of the greatest character actors in Italian genre-cinema delivers one of his most brilliant performances as the drunken and rude writer. Equally great is Anita Strindberg as his intimidated and submissive wife. None other than the ravishing genre-goddess Edwige Fenech shines in the role of Oliviero's sexy niece Floriana. Fenech is probably the most important siren of 70s Eurocult, and she is once again stunningly beautiful, irresistibly seductive and just plain brilliant in this film, in my opinion the greatest she has ever been part of. Furtermore, the cast includes the always-sinister Ivan Rassimov in a supporting role. All of the aforementioned actors also worked with director Martino on other occasions, and this collaboration gets the best out of all of them. "Your Vice Is A Locked Room And Only I Have The Key" is a film that should appeal to all fans of Italian cult-cinema, be it lovers of the more artistic, or the sleazier kind of films (I tend to like the combination of both best). The film is full of delightful sleaze. The sadomasochistic relationship between Oliviero and Irina is perverted and demented, the female cast members all have a tendency to get naked, and the gruesome murders are genuinely nasty and gory. The film also has a delightfully creepy atmosphere, and is brilliantly photographed. The settings are beautiful and often eerie alike, the mesmerizing score by Bruno Nicolai is sublime and the performances are among the best ever in Italian Horror cinema. The story is fascinating from the first minute and the film is stunningly suspenseful from the beginning to the end. One of the finest examples of Giallo, this film is full of clever, unpredictable twists, and the suspense does not stop for a second. In short: "Your Vice Is A Locked Room And Only I Have The Key" is a masterpiece in all regards, an absolute priority for every Horror fan and lover of Cult-cinema to see, and, without exaggeration, one of the most essential and brilliant Gialli ever made! 10/10!
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