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Alberto De Martino
Simona Sana is a young pathologist who works in a morgue in Rome, Italy which suddenly gets hit with a wave of violent suicides that are attributed to a summer heat wave. Driven to exhaustion from the intense heat and the long hours worked, Simona struggles to complete her college thesis about natural deaths- when one "suicide" victim is brought into the morgue identified by a young Catholic priest named Paul Lenox as being his sister. He claims she did not commit suicide but was murdered. Simona teams up with Father Lenox to solve the mystery and stay one step ahead of a mysterious killer who now begins to stalk her when she gets a little too close to the truth of the suicides.
"Autopsy", as it's known here in North America, is pretty good of its type, with a solid, intriguing story, one that doesn't get bogged down with twists. It's got some gore going for it, but in truth is never as violent as that American title would indicate. The story is of course fairly sordid, but the level of sleaze is never too high, with doses of female flesh here and there.
Lovely Mimsy Farmer is a pathology student in Rome puzzling over a succession of suicides, partly because she's doing a thesis on natural vs. faked suicides. Could these people really be killing themselves, or is a murderer at work? Simona (Farmer) works with a young race car driver turned priest, Paul Lenox (the under-rated veteran character actor Barry Primus) to determine the truth. One of these deaths was that of Lenox's sister, and he's convinced she had to have been killed by someone else.
This is never too hard to follow, and it's got at least one appreciably unique gimmick going for it: sunspots, it's theorized, could be inducing some sort of mass psychosis in the minds of the victims. The story is populated with entertaining characters, including Simona's father (Carlo Cattaneo), his romantic partner (Angela Goodwin), and Simona's friend Edgar, played by the handsome Ray Lovelock whom fans of foreign horror will recognize from "Let Sleeping Corpses Lie" and "Last House on the Beach".
Enriched by an Ennio Morricone music score that's equal parts beautiful and spooky, "Autopsy" is more straightforward than some Giallo fans may expect, although it still finds the time to feature some truly hideous, hallucinatory imagery. Use of locations is a plus, as are the performances. Mimsy is appealing and believably vulnerable, Primus is appropriately intense, and Lovelock is amusing to watch every time he's on screen. Credit is due to co-writer and director Armando Crispino, who reels us in immediately with a grabber of an opening.
All in all, this is good stuff; it might not be trashy enough for some lovers of the Giallo genre, but it entertains solidly and stays on track up to its grim finish.
Seven out of 10.
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