Absurdly convoluted thriller with an insane amount of twists(..the rug gets pulled out from under you so many times you'll suffer a skull fracture)regarding a family of misfits, a troubled mother and her equally warped son and daughter. Lucille(Eleonora Rossi Drago)is burying the body of her husband supposedly while an escaped convict, Pascal(Fernando Sancho)is being sought after by the authorities. Pascal catches her in the act and is caught, but will return with an idea of blackmail. Falesse(Pier Angeli)is a deeply psychologically damaged young woman who believes she decapitated her father, after he had raped her. We watch a series of men stop off at the villa where these three live, attempting to seduce and ravage Falesse as her brother achingly watches from afar, trying to stop the act before it escalates. Those men all fall victim to Falesse who always hearkens back to that decapitation of her "father" before stabbing a back with a dagger or lopping off the head of another with a sword. Once Pascal arrives, the film spends the center section devoted to his terrorizing the trio, ordering them around with a gun waving at them, demanding for blackmail money, forcing the son to dig up the surrounding area for the remains of the decapitated father. We watch as Lucille concocts a scheme to end Pascal's interference in their lives(..in a bizarre turn of events, Falesse actually is drawn to Pascal, a foul, blubbery brute who rapes both her and Lucille). When Pascal is dealt with(..his departure is inspired by a startling episode that occurred to Lucille in a Nazi concentration camp as she watched her family suffocate in the gas chamber), yet another man, claiming to be Andre, the actual father of Lucille's children, returns, throwing their lives in turmoil. This is when we learn of a third child named Esther, and a beautiful blonde patient in an asylum whose relationship to this family is of great importance to the truth regarding the opening scene's decapitation and burial.
I firmly realize that this film will have many viewers rolling their eyes in disbelief at the events that unravel, a bevy of lies weaved by Lucille, and her constituted effort to deceive over the years is hard to process fully. After a while, I almost threw my hands up at the non-stop revelations which just kept coming..it's incredible that a screenplay could feature so many twists and turns. You read others describing the movie as sleazy, but, in actuality, there's more suggestion than actual action on screen. Such as Pascal's molestation of Lucille and Falesse or the obvious, brother-sister, incest in the family over the years. Kudos to director/co-writer Sergio Bergonzelli's editor,Donatella Baglivo, who had the overwhelming task of establishing the complicated developing story as it unfolds. I mean one wonders how in the world an editor could piece together a film that throws everything at the viewer but the kitchen sink before the screen fades to black. Sergio Bergonzelli parades a number of fake decapitated heads for the viewers over the course of the film. Quite a demented little movie that will cause a lot of head-scratching and aggravation, but I enjoyed it's audacity to throw out all the stops in order to bewilder and surprise. As expected such a film with a lot of material, and so little actual violence or depravity on screen, IN THE FOLDS OF THE FLESH will bore and alienate many who watch it. I didn't think this was a traditional giallo, and wouldn't really consider it one, for the exception of the convoluted story and general bizarre behavior of the characters. The film, before it starts, actually quotes Freud..he'd have quite a challenge with the trio of oddballs in this film.
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