If you have some acquaintance with other Fulci films, especially the ones from the so-called "Gates of Hell Trilogy", then you know that eyes are, to say at least, a repetitive motive, from the gore set pieces, like the nail killing in "L'aldilà" (eng: The Beyond), to the many eye close-up shots in the dialogue scenes of "Manhattan Baby". Against this general background, this movie can be regarded as a key film. Here, Fulci is somewhat presenting in a very explicit way the coding of the eyes (and The Eye) in his own cinematic style.
While travelling in Egypt with his mother and his archeologist father, a girl receives an ancient medallion representing an eye (very similar to the Eye of Horus) from a mysterious white-eyed woman that then disappears in the air (literally). Almost at the same time, her father is blinded by the same eye-shaped symbol, only this one is carved in the wall of an underground tomb inside a forbidden pyramid. The family goes back to New York and there the medallion starts to exert its influence, taking control over the girl, triggering supernatural events in the family's apartment and opening a portal to another space-time dimension.
The medallion is the divine Eye (its link with divinity is explicitly mentioned in the film), an access to the world of The Beyond. The blind woman that gives the medallion to the girl has white-veiled eyes, just like the blind young woman with the dog and the main characters at the end of "L'aldilà". We know, from this last movie, what these white eyes can mean in the Fulci code: vision-knowledge of the other side, and the ability to move between that place and this human dimension. But we also have the fragile human eyes (e.g. the eyes of the father) and mundane blindness: the inability to see and to understand.
On a more stylistic level, we have all the already mentioned eye close-up shots during dialogues. The tension, the real intensity is always happening at the level of looks in Fulci and almost never at the level of words. Language is often banal and stereotyped in this film, as in many others by this director. Characters in the worldly sphere also tend to be very one-dimensional: the father is the scientist, the man of reason, the babysitter is the beautiful and lively girl, the parapsychologist is the somewhat sinister and dark man surrounded by antiques and stuffed birds, etc. And then there's that simple and repetitive sax score during many of the urban sequences, an almost vulgar soundtrack that is in violent contrast with the fantastic chaos raised by the medallion. It is Fulci's violent cut between the worlds, the one that seem to disconcert many viewers and that is also violently translated to cinematic form by this director. The cut between an abysmally stereotyped everyday human world, the world of frightened and fragile human eyes and the powerful world of The Eye that lies Beyond.
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