17 user 38 critic

Murder Syndrome (1981)

Murder Obsession (original title)
Not Rated | | Horror, Mystery | 24 February 1981 (Italy)
An actor brings his acting pals to the eerie villa where his aging mothers lives. Horrible murders begin to occur as a black-gloved killer stalks the property. One great sequence has a woman stalked by the killer during a thunderstorm.


Riccardo Freda (as Robert Hampton)


Antonio Cesare Corti (screenplay), Antonio Cesare Corti (story) | 4 more credits »




Complete credited cast:
Stefano Patrizi ... Michael
Martine Brochard ... Shirley
Henri Garcin Henri Garcin ... Hans
Laura Gemser ... Beryl
John Richardson ... Oliver
Anita Strindberg ... Glenda
Silvia Dionisio ... Debora


Michael is a successful actor, but he has a scandal in his past: at a tender age he knifed his father to death. He and his girlfriend Deborah go to his mother's for the weekend, and are joined by the director and others from a recent film project. But they are given a rather cool reception by the superstitious housekeeper Oliver. Soon rude things begin happening to some of the guests, and Michael fears a repeat of his nightmare past is in progress. Written by Ed Sutton <esutton@mindspring.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Horror | Mystery


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


[All trivia items for this title are spoilers.] See more »


When Beryl is found dead, she is clearly seen breathing. See more »

Crazy Credits

The closing credits appear on a still photograph of the black magic book used for the black mass. See more »


Featured in Zombiethon (1986) See more »


Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring
Written by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performed by Franco Mannino
See more »

User Reviews

The story to this one is a mess, even by giallo standards.
23 May 2009 | by BA_HarrisonSee all my reviews

Members of the cast and crew of a horror movie take a well-earned break at the family home of actor Michael, whose mother (who has obviously been keeping to a tight exfoliation/moisturising regime, since she looks no older than 40) lives a reclusive life with her creepy manservant Oliver. Whilst relaxing at the house, the group are attacked one-by-one by a leather-gloved killer, and Michael begins to fear that a horrific event from his past—one which he has kept suppressed in his mind for years—has finally returned to haunt him.

Murder Obsession opens in fine style with a gleefully trashy scene in which exploitation babe Laura Gemser has her clothes torn from her body by a mysterious assailant who then proceeds to try and strangle her. However, fans of sleazy giallo movies shouldn't get too excited, for director Ricardo Freda soon disappoints by having the camera pull back to reveal that the woman, Beryl, and her attacker, Michael Stanford (Stefano Patrizi), are actors performing their final scene in a horror flick.

Yes, it's the tired old 'movie within a movie' trick! The rest of this wearisome film is just as clichéd and deceptive in style, with numerous silly red herrings during the dull-as-ditch-water first half (nearly every character seems to own a pair of leather gloves!), mucho nudity throughout, cheesy gore towards the end, and a convoluted, logic-free script that is harder to swallow than a broken glass sandwich. Even a genre great like Argento, whose own work is rarely that cohesive, would struggle to make this inept garbage work, so what chance does Freda have?

Supposedly atmospheric dream sequences are rendered laughable by giant rubber spiders; bats flap on clearly visible wires; Michael's girlfriend (Silvia Dionisio) runs through a foggy forest with her tits out; inept gore effects (an axe in the head and a chainsaw in the throat) look as though they were created by a five year old with modelling clay and papier-maché; dreadful dialogue turns emotional scenes into unintentional moments of comedy; and a desperate attempt at shoehorning black magic and psychic powers into the muddled plot severely backfires.

Take a look if a) you dig bad Italian cinema b) you're a rabid Gemser fan, or c) if you absolutely must see every giallo in existence—but be warned.... it ain't great.

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Release Date:

24 February 1981 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

Murder Syndrome See more »

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Color (Telecolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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