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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
Even though Edwige Fenech gets top billing, she doesn't appear until 32 minutes into the film. See more »
Medium and long shots of the motorbike race indicate the race is taking place in completely overcast weather, but close-up shots of Floriana and other spectators show them bathed in bright sunlight. See more »
Even by gialli standards this movie is pretty off-the-wall, but it is also, strangely enough, probably the most faithful adaption of the Edgar Allen Poe story "The Black Cat" that I have ever seen. There is a bit of a gender role reversal where it is the wife who is tormented by the black cat (named "Satan") which is the cherished pet of her cruel, alcoholic husband. The mother-obsessed husband takes out his writer's block on his long-suffering spouse and may be responsible for a string of serial killings. Thrown into the mix is a black maid who seems to only be in the movie so the sleazy characters can make a lot of racist, offensive comments about her--oh yeah, and also so she can get naked. And speaking of getting naked, Edwige Fenech also shows up as the husband's sexy, conniving niece and demonstrates once again her extreme aversion to wearing clothes. In between nude scenes, however, Fenech really seems to be doing some acting this time, and she plays against type here as a villain rather than a victim. She seduces both her uncle AND her aunt, and pretty much everyone else in the movie (with the possible exception of "Satan" the cat).
Not that this is a good movie. It has an idiotic subplot where Fenech has an affair with a goofy-looking motorcross racer for no apparent reason other than to pad the running length with some racing footage that would do a lot better in a sports video than in a giallo. The movie also isn't nearly as well directed as some of Sergio Martino's other gialli like "Torso" or "All the Colors of Darkness" (also with Fenech). And Martino-regular Ivan Rassimov is tragically wasted in a perfunctory role. Still even a bad Martino-Fenech giallo is not without its charms. And if you're an Edgar Allen Poe fan, you'll especially enjoy this one.
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