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German ornithologist rents old Villa, in which supposedly has many years no one lived. Walking around the neighborhood, he finds a crumpled foil. Purging them and after listening, he learns the terrible story of this house and its previous inhabitants. Now Professor, unwittingly becomes involved in the terrible events that resulted in a bloody denouement...Written by
Another Giallo that takes the unusual approach of having two simultaneous storylines taking place: One in the present, involving an old professor who rents an abandoned villa from a shifty administrator to take some field recordings like the Hafler Trio and ends up finding some crumpled cassette tape hidden underneath a tree. It's on these tapes that the other story unfolds: that of Erika Blanc in psychotherapy sessions with her doctor regarding why she decided to attempt suicide (a scene we see at the start of the film).
Erika once lived in the huge villa the professor now finds himself in and has a bit of a strange set up going on. She lives with her drunken husband but also seems to continually be playing mind games with her friend Manfredi, including teasing him on her wedding day, rejecting him, slapping him around, and throwing in the odd snog for good measure. It's only later she reveals that Manfredi is her brother! Incest, eh?
Yes - it's one of those "In the Folds Of The Flesh" type films that seem sick to us outsiders but are very common to those rich folks who can afford giant villas in Italy. Be warned, although this film does eventually fit into the giallo mould, it also has leaning towards to the artful too, which means a lot of symbolism, characters looking moody, and staring.
That said, it's still a giallo, as we don't get the full story from the cassettes and the old man suddenly finds himself listening to a cassette made by a past character while he was out in town! The last half an hour is where this film gets going, with a sudden outburst of bloody violence and a grim ending we've all come to expect at this point. You've got to be in the mood for a film of this pace, however, but luckily, I was. The beautiful (once again!) giallo cinematography certainly helps.
Peter Lee Lawrence stands out here as Manfredi. Up until this I thought he was just some kind of Germanic bland spaghetti western actor, but there you go.
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