There exist two types of gialli, and I'm not referring to the Italian ones versus all the other countries. No, I'm actually talking about two types of plots. Either a giallo handles about a masked psycho-killer with black gloves who savagely butchers people – preferably pretty young models – with sharp objects, or it handles about a convoluted murder conspiracy complete with sexual intrigues, betrayal and triangular relationships. "Death Haunts Monica", a Spanish giallo released when the glory years of the genre were already fading out, belongs in the second category and it also takes an incredibly long time before the murders start occurring. But don't be alarmed too much because the film still provides plenty of entertainment during the first gore-free hour, thanks to interesting character developments, tension building and – of course – copious amounts of 100% gratuitous nudity. The beautiful and rich Monica is married to Federico (played by Jean Sorel who plays an adulterous scumbag in pretty much every movie I've ever seen starring him) and lives a rather dull and monotonous life inside their big luxurious mansion. Federico and his sex- addicted partner Arturo run a successful company, but Federico also has an affair with the sexy model Eva. However, Eva is actually in a lesbian relationship with Federico's secretary Elena, and the both of them want to blackmail him by threatening to inform Monica about her husband unfaithfulness. And as if life isn't difficult enough already for Federico, a sinister ex-convict shows up at his doorstep and threatens to expose a horrible secret from the past. And then, suddenly, poor Monica is attacked in her own house by a violent perpetrator dressed in black
The main problem with "Death Haunts Monica" is a typical one for over-ambitious gialli from unknown and largely inexperienced directors. The plot and suspense keeps on building up towards a climax that can't possibly meet the expectations that were raised during the film. In spite of all the intrigues and the red herrings and the secrecy, the conclusion is rather dumb and multiple essential key-characters are eliminated abruptly. Like several of my fellow reviewers already pointed out, director Ramón Fernandez clearly tried to imitate the French suspense masterpiece "Les Diaboliques", especially during the wannabe sensual sequences where Nadiuska and Karin Schubert are sitting on a bed naked and conspiring against Federico, but the homage doesn't really work. The character of Arturo is amusing (but totally implausible) and the sub plot with the mysterious Diego definitely holds potential but remains too vague. "Death Haunts Monica" is perhaps worth a look in case you're a fellow giallo-lover and have already seen all the more popular Italian classics, but not a movie worth tracing down.