Review

  • Warning: Spoilers
    Viewers who sit down to watch Sergio Bergonzelli's 1970 offering, "In the Folds of the Flesh," expecting some licentious soft-core Eurosleaze may be a tad disappointed. That provocative title, surely fit for some adult fare, rather has as its provenance a quote from Sigmund Freud regarding the effects of experience on the human psyche: "What has been, remains imbedded in the brain, nestled in the folds of the flesh; distorted, it conditions and subconsciously impels." And, as it turns out, although the film does sport the talents of a trio of gorgeous women and some flashes of nudity, those flashes are decidedly de-eroticized, and the picture, although it has been called "one of the most bizarre gialli ever made," strikes this viewer more as a murderous psychological puzzler. In this Italian/Spanish coproduction, beautiful Eleanora Rossi-Drago (who I'd only previously encountered in an early Antonioni film, "Le Amiche") plays the head of a household of three in an ornate villa by the sea. She lives with two others, who we infer must be her son and daughter, although the relationships are not clearly defined and some conduct bordering on incest gives us reason to doubt. Whenever a visitor--be it a cousin, acquaintance or ex-con blackmailer--drops in, he is quickly executed by one of the three, after which Eleanora uses dissolving chemicals to dispose of the corpus. A most unusual household, to be sure, and most of the fun here lies in trying to figure out just what the characters' relationships and motivations might be. My suggestion would be to not even make the attempt, as nobody in the film is what he/she initially appears to be, and each and every character is hiding a secret. Among the assorted bits of weirdness that the film dishes out are a pair of pet vultures, some truly outlandish costumes, unusual camera angles, a disinterment, deaths by cyanide gas, and B&W flashbacks to the Nazi death camps. A repeat viewing of the film is practically mandatory to fully appreciate all its many subtleties and formal brilliance; I for one enjoyed it a lot more the second time around. And hold on to your seats as the film enters its final 20 minutes; this segment contains so many revelations and plot twists that the folds in your own mental flesh may start to unravel!