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  • This is another prime example of why alternate titles, especially for late 60's and 70's European thrillers, create a lot of confusion and – to some people – even aversion. Not only did Umberto Lenzi direct two films called "Paranoia" in the short span of just two years (moreover starring the same lead actress), but also how do these two titles possibly relate to each other? Paranoia and Orgasm? What the hell is the connection? I can easily imagine that certain types of audiences will pass simply because they fear that the film will just be as incoherent & random as both the titles. And in that case they miss out on another excellent and amazingly stylish euro-crime thriller/giallo by the most versatile filmmaker of Italy! Don't pay any attention to what Roger Ebert wrote in his review (what the hell does he know, right?), as "Paranoia" is a great film with a solid plot, complex characters and a really huge portion of genuine suspense. The adorable cult siren Carroll Baker is very convincing as the timid woman moving into a large & isolated country mansion following her millionaire husband's sudden death in a car accident. Whilst her befriended attorney arranges the further formalities regarding the will, lonely Kathryn falls in love with the handsome and free-spirited Peter. She takes him into the house and his equally free-spirited sister Eva soon joins the couple as well. The cheerful times of parties and unconditional sex rapidly end, as Peter & Eva start to blackmail, torture (physically & emotionally) and drug her. The depiction of Kathryn's agony is truly harsh and uncomfortable to observe, especially because you honestly care for her persona. You're hoping that the tables will soon turn, yet whenever you think Kathryn's rescue is near, her suffering actually grows more intense. Lenzi succeeds in making his film amazingly compelling and even manages to save up some excellent (albeit abrupt) twists for the big finale. They're not particularly plausible but at least they're original and rather dared. "Orgasmo" contains very little violence and explicit sex, especially compared to Umberto Lenzi's later repertoire, but the film relies a great deal on its atmospheric settings and music. The cameras elegantly swift through the wonderful filming locations, guided by suitably sultry songs and instrumental tunes. Our director sometimes does exaggerate a little with his "hallucinating" camera trick and close-up angles, but that's easily forgiven. Carroll Baker is simply terrific and Lou Castel makes a very impressive villain. It's a great movie and I can clearly understand why Lenzi himself counts it among his personal favorites. Highly recommended.
  • Once again we have some disparaging IMDB user comments for a euro-or-otherwise-foreign-source film that does not conform to the user's safe, comforting criteria for narrative structure, sound (in this case the dubbing -- which is actually not bad), or subject matter.

    This film is an extremely entertaining psychological thriller with Carrol Baker excellent as a rich American widow getting away from it all at a secluded Italian villa. Enter smart aleck down on his luck playboy, Lou Castel, who has some golddigging motives behind his slick hipster seduction techniques and has no qualms about how he gets what he wants. He encourages Baker's character's incipient alcoholism and dubious self-esteem, brings in his supposed 'sister' to help drag Baker even further into a maze of sick mind games, drug addiction and group sex, all culminating in a descent into near-madness and self-destructive depravity.

    I won't give away anymore, suffice to say that the film delivers on its swinging sixties, Euro sleaze ambience and psychological suspense thriller credentials in spades. Director Umberto Lenzi's work has been, at best, uneven and he's churned out his share of crap. However, he made some quite good giallos and crime pictures in the sixties and seventies and this is one of them (other good films by Lenzi -- SPASMO, SEVEN BLOODSTAINED ORCHIDS, ASSAULT WITH A DEADLY WEAPON, to name only a few).

    Unfortunately this film is ofen confused with another okay but not-quite-as-good Lenzi film that was also released briefly here in America under the same PARANOIA title (but is more commonly known, especially on video, as A QUIET PLACE TO KILL).
  • This movie is not for everybody. Fans of the director Umberto Lenzi's cannibal films might be disappointed that no one is eaten alive, no women are hung up by their breasts via ridiculous-looking special effects, and no innocent animals were slaughtered in real life for their amusement. Instead you have a clever suspense movie that is well-photographed, well-acted, directed with panache, and, dare I say, even a little bit classy. Others may find actress Carroll Baker a bit on the voluptuous side compared to the poster children for anorexia and bulimia that pass for actresses today (and you may very well be blinded by her tan lines). But this is THE Carroll Baker, for christsake! The sex and nude scenes are pretty are tame by today's standards, but were very risqué for the time. This was a groundbreaking film that helped usher in both the Italian gialli and the free-spirited European sex films of the 70's.

    The plot of this movie is somewhat similar to the recent film "Swimming Pool". A somewhat older, recently-widowed woman (Baker) is staying alone in an isolated Italian villa owned by her sleazy lawyer when she is seduced by a local gigolo and his "sister". At first, the diabolical pair just get her to loosen up and enjoy life again, but then they start to blackmail her and torture her (and possibly the viewer) by playing the same song over and over again until she starts to go crazy.

    I liked almost everything about the movie (even the strangely catchy song), but the America version has this ridiculous deus ex machina ending-- because, of course, the evil-doers MUST be punished. Maybe if this is ever released on legitimate DVD, someone will dig up the European version (maybe put both on the same DVD like they did with "Delerium"). Oh well, whatever, check it out.
  • This is a real curio. Directed by Umberto Lenzi before he gained notoriety with cannibal movies such as 'Cannibal Ferox', and starring the lovely Carroll Baker ('Andy Warhol's Bad') and Lou Castel (from supertrash classic 'Killer Nun'). Baker plays a recently widowed American expatriate living in Italy who has a fling with young stud Castel. She invites this hipster to move in with her in her luxurious mansion, followed shortly by his free spirit sister. The two corrupt the millionairess with booze, pills and sex, and then things begin to take a sinister and unexpected turn. 'Orgasmo' holds up surprisingly well and keeps your interest until its final shock scene. It may not be perfect but I recommend it to 60s Euro buffs and thriller fans.
  • Yes, I was confused about this film, even though for American release they shared the title with "A Quiet Place to Kill" This flick is worth watching for the late 60's clothes and music. Anyone who knows who the group is singing in the nightclub scene please email me, as I love that song.

    Carroll, looking lovely get tormented by a pair of kinky siblings, or so we think. Actually,, the sex, drugs & orgies are tame by today's standards but the editing still bugs me on this one. Still, a good roll in the mud thanks to a talented cast. I still think the actress who played the housekeeper looks like a bad drag queen, but hey, not everyone is a glamour puss like Carroll!
  • Just a little bit one note, this is such a good performance from Carroll Baker that it deserves a look. Baker is to inherit and there are of course many who wish to interfere, not least two youngsters who invade her mansion. At first they seduce her with sex and psychedelia and then move on to torturing her with much the same to drive her crazy and eventually they hope to suicide. Some of the music begins to drive us mad but the visuals are usually inventive and colourful partially distracting us from very much a two against one struggle. There are a few surprises and from comments made it is clear there is an Italian and American ending, guess which is the more cynical?
  • (Some Spoilers) Tepid Europen thriller that's a bit too much to take especially it's overbearing and monotonous theme song"Fate Had Planned It So" thats played over and over in the movie "Orgasmo" like a broken record driving Kathryn West,Carroll Baker, as well as the audience to the point of a nervous breakdown.

    The plot of "Orgasmo" is anything but original with this boyish grease monkey Peter Donovan, Lou Castle,working his way into widowed American Kathryn West heart home and finally bank account. Peter does this with the help of his sister or is she his step-sister Eva, Cholette Descomber,who shows up later in the movie.

    Eva at first develops a strong liking for Kathryn and gets it on with her in a lesbian relationship with her "brother" Peter later joining them in a weird woman with woman and man manaja trios. Later Kathryn catches Peter and Eva nude and together in bed which makes her finally realize that she being taken by them for a fool and a ride. Kicking the two out of her villa they come back later with a batch of photos of her in bed with both of them to blackmail her.

    Kathryn foolishly gives in to their blackmail without as much as a whimper! What could those photos do to her reputation anyway since she's a widow and not cheating on her husband or anyone else? Meanwhile with all this going on Kathryn's lawyer Brion Sanders, Tino Carraro,is trying to tie up all the loose ends in her late husbands holding in probate court which, when finally ironed out, will land her an inheritance of some 200 million dollars.

    Peter and Eva slowly isolate Kathryn by getting rid of her two in-house domestics helpers Teresa and Martino,Lilla Brignone & Franco Pesce,leaving her totally at their mercy. Getting Kathryn hooked on sleeping pills and what seems like and endless stream of J&B whiskey bottles where she later is set up for the final coup De grace with a J&B flask spiked with a bottle of extra-strong sleeping pills.

    It's then at the end of the movie that fate that's been so tragic for poor abused alcoholic and pill addicted Kathryn and so fortunate for Peter and Eva makes a 180 degree and deadly turn in "Orgasmo's" long awaited surprise but very predictable ending.
  • For his third film of 1969, Umberto Lenzi goes for the full groovy sixties vibe with the trippy visuals, free living people who you just want to slap, laid back music and all that crap. It's quite good though, kind of! Caroll Baker is a young widow who is rich beyond her wildest dreams, but has ended up in one of the gigantic mansions that occur in about 95% of Italian films of this era. She's hitting the hooch, but things look up a bit when hunky young Peter Sorel turns up, offering Caroll some free loving and free thinking - just like everyone else of his age and generation. The twats.

    Caroll falls in love with Peter, who manages to get himself invited to the mansion and moves in proper, as does his sister, who likes to give Caroll pills and looks like David Bowie (what's with these actresses looking like David Bowie?). Caroll feels young again, but is it all too good to be true? When Caroll catches Peter in bed with the sister, the answer is 'probably'.

    Yep, it's another low-violence, high suspense giallo with all the trimmings - annoying free love, pills, booze, crap like 'jealousy is all in the mind' - all that stuff. I don't want to reveal what happens mind you but for a film where not much happen it's still quite watchable. Lenzi cranks up the 'trippy' visuals too, some of which don't make sense, but it's probably the best of the three films he made in 1969.

    Except the ending is the EXACT ending of Oasis of Fear! You can't fool me Lenzi!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Umberto Lenzi, come on down! We're looking for you to shock us, to titillate us, to maybe even thrill us a bit. Oh, you're brought Carroll Baker with you! Please! Show us what tale you've crafted!

    Kathryn West (Baker) is a glamorous American widow who has come to Italy weeks after the death of her older wealthy husband. She movies into a huge villa but her life is lonely and boring until Peter shows up. His free spirited ways shake her loose and he soon moves in his sister, Eva. But things aren't what they seem - they aren't brother and sister and the relationship becomes a threesome. But when Kathryn tries to quit them, they keep her prisoner, constantly high on drugs and alcohol as they keep playing the same song over and over until she goes insane and wants to kill herself.

    Caroll Baker started off as a Hollywood sex symbol before retreating to Europe where she'd make Baba Yaga, So Sweet... So Perverse and The Sweet Body of Deborah, amongst others. Eventually, she'd move back to America and become a character actress. As for Lenzi, he'd go on to make Eaten Alive, Cannibal Ferox, Nightmare City and more.

    If you like twists, if you like more twists, if you like your sex scenes filled with acid drenched visuals, then by all means, it's time for you to savor this one. I found my copy on YouTube, so feel free to search there.
  • Umberto Lenzi was undoubtedly responsible for many of the best films that the Giallo sub-genre has to offer. Seven Blood-Stained Orchids and Oasis of Fear are my pick of his filmography, and while Orgasmo is generally well regarded by Giallo fans, I have to say that I didn't find it all that interesting. The film has some notoriety due its title, as Lenzi made another film also called Paranoia and starring Carol Baker in 1969, which has lead to masses of confusion. It is for that reason that I prefer to use the title 'Orgasmo', although 'Paranoia' actually suits the plot and it's themes far better. The film focuses on the upper class, and in particular Catherine West; a woman who has inherited a fortune from the death of her husband. She decides to take refuge at a clandestine mansion in the country. It's not long before a young man named Peter arrives and seduces Catherine, but this leads her to the bottle, which she indulges in often. Peter's sister Eva later arrives at the mansion, and it's not long before the three of them engage in a manage trios, and Catherine soon feels the brunt of the pair's ulterior motives...

    The central plot undoubtedly has the potential to give way to a great thriller, but it's never totally capitalised on and the tension isn't revved up to a satisfying degree. The film came out before the Giallo boom in the early seventies, and it's not your usual Giallo picture in the sense that sex and blood don't feature often. There are a few sex scenes, however, and the film gained some notoriety upon release for Carol Baker's nude scenes. However, it's clear that atmosphere is more important to the director and the torture sequences in the film are unique in that they focus more on sound and mental torture than the physical kind. Umberto Lenzi's regular heroine Carol Baker gives a satisfying performance and manages to draw the audience into her plight at every opportunity, and her acting certainly one of the film's main highlights. The ending gives way to a rather off-the-cuff twist, which doesn't completely make sense; but does succeed in giving the film some extra shock factor. Overall, Orgasmo is certainly worth checking out for the Giallo fan as it's one of the more highly revered films; and I wish I could have given it a higher rating.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    A decent DVD would no doubt improve this Umberto Lenzi psychological thriller, which is available on the grey market in a terrible pan and scan print. From the look of things, Lenzi actually paid some attention to composition, and he certainly paid attention to colour, as there are some impressive juxtapositions of red and blue throughout the film. As for the story, it ain't great, but Carroll Baker is easy on the eyes as American expat heiress Kathryn West, who falls into the grip of creepy siblings Peter and Eva (Lou Castel and drop dead gorgeous Colette Descombes). The dastardly duo proceed to freak out poor Kathryn in an attempt to inherit her fortune. The trappings of psychedelic cinema are here in full force, there's some super music (just who is the group singing that soul number?), and even some intriguing UK location footage, but it can't quite make up for the rather mundane plot. Regardless, I'll pony up for a DVD should one be forthcoming.
  • "Orgasmo" (called "Paranoia" in the US) is the first Umberto Lenzi movie that I have ever seen, and also the first Carroll Baker movie that I have ever seen. I can understand how it probably was very shocking when it first came out (and even got an X rating), but it's naturally now quite tame - and from what I've read of Lenzi's other movies, this one sounds like the calmest one of all.

    Carroll Baker - looking almost exactly like Elizabeth Montgomery - plays wealthy American widow Kathryn West, who inherits a villa in Italy. While over there, she gets acquainted with young Peter Donovan (Lou Castel) and his sister Eva (Colette Descombes). Sure enough, they turn out not to be what they seem. But some of Carroll Baker's scenes, particularly that one in the shower, are likely to get any teenage boy's hormones going! So, I guess that these shockers from the '60s, '70s and '80s are all about lewdness, but there's nothing wrong with that. This one gives a feeling of swinging London, although it's set in Italy. Pretty neat.

    I must be one of the only people on Earth who's seen an Umberto Lenzi movie but hasn't seen "The Passion of the Christ".
  • Apparently, Umberto Lenzi's Orgasmo was x-rated in 1969 – probably for the haircut of actor Lou Castel, who looks like a 15-year-old crossbreed of British binge drinking ex-midfielder Paul Gascoigne and a village nutjob. Of course, million dollar MILF Carroll Baker falls immediately for Lou's magic libido set – a very likely story –, and after exactly fifteen minutes you get proof that The Great Lenzi couldn't direct his way out of a darn shower. The rest is something of an unhealthy concoction of Desperate Housewife meets the Teens from Hell (Looney Lou soon being accompanied by a semi-sapphic babe from France), trimmed with an excruciatingly pushy Riviera soundtrack by Piero Umiliani, ridiculous Pornmaster Flesh dialogue ("Yess! Yess! Dirty me!"), unmotivated zooms and other nauseating gimmicks aplenty. Assistente alla regia was future celebrated French A list director Bertrand Tavernier (Coup de torchon), usually a raconteur par excellence when it comes to talking about movies. As for Orgasmo, he has remained silent for almost fifty years.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Baker is true to form as another tortured victim-heroine, Catherine West, widow of a wealthy race car driver vacationing in an Italian Villa while her lawyer settles the affairs of his estate. Enters a handsome young man with car trouble and his stepsister, both driven to seduce her. Yet, more is in their plans than sex. First blackmail, then captive holding, then planting a frog in her plate for dinner, all to drive her suicidal. But, wait! Her lawyer helped plan it all along to cheat her out of the inheritance and he delivers the final murder blow. Those were the days of the drive-in triple features, and it played at the Sunset last after "Slasher Saw II." (or movies like it.) VHS contains more erotic scenes than the Italian language DVD. Just to confuse things more about all the non-English versions of this film, the Italian film also contains some nudity that was cut from VHS, but has shorter scenes.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I'm surprised to read in another post that this film is mentioned in CB's autobiography. When she doesn't mention "andy Warhol's "bad"" and at least she didn't have to flash her boobs and buns in that one.

    very early 70s late 60s story of psychopathic "youngsters" who turn on then torment then terminate Carroll baker. it really gets tedious but the scene in which she says she makes herself want to vomit and reads the ither two for being even more nauseating (rightly) is a kind of mini classic.

    so you wait and wait for the thing to turn out and. . . at one point it looks as though there is hope for Carroll but. . . you get a little 70s skin and fashions and a nice house to look at but after 45 minutes it's all redundant and not funny enough not so bad its good enough or anything enough. CB is beautiful though, the bad girl Eva is beautiful. The other guy, well at least he's not Michael Caine, but he's only really attractive cause he's pure evil and proud. still can't get over CB doing an "Art film" (nudies! that's all they are!!!)

    I suppose it gets points for it's demoralizing ending until that is revoked in a coda that follows, bringing on the credits. Honesly though I would have liked to see CB vanquishing these two evil youngsters with their Patricia Clarkson smiles.
  • It's tempting to look at this movie and think: What on earth is Carroll Baker doing in this piece of junk? (One becomes a lot less judgmental after reading Baker's autobiography and finding out this film came along at a time when Baker was in somewhat dire financial straits.)

    It's still a piece of junk. "Paranoia" is a nasty, amateurish, inept thriller that tries hard to be sexy, but is more embarrassing than erotic. I don't know how it plays in Italian, but the (partly dubbed) English dialogue is as ghastly as the direction (somebody take away Umberto Lenzi's zoom lens!). There is one intriguing, identity-blurring moment when Baker playfully dons a dark wig that makes her look so much like co-star Colette Descombes, it's spooky. (Yes, of course it's a rip-off of "L'Avventura," but in this film, you take whatever you can get.) The movie's ending is beneath "Contempt."

    (Interestingly, Baker in her memoirs mistakenly identifies her character as a divorcée instead of a widow, and never mentions the movie by name, either by its American title, "Paranoia," or its oh-so-charming Italian appellation, "Orgasmo.")
  • moonspinner5512 April 2017
    Carroll Baker plays a recently-widowed American artist, sick of New York City and recuperating at a plush Italian villa, who invites a hunky young man with car trouble to spend the night in her abode. How Baker, a respected member of the Actors Studio, ended up in a poorly-dubbed, Euro-trash sex opus (originally rated X, and known overseas as "Orgasmo"!) is anybody's guess. This was actually the first in a series of sordid tales Baker would make in Europe with director Umberto Lenzi (followed by "So Sweet... So Perverse", also in 1969, "A Quiet Place to Kill" in 1970--also released as "Paranoia", much to everyone's confusion--and "Knife of Ice" in 1972). It's a hedonistic, kinky affair with an unpleasant twist ending, although Baker, looking like a cross between Tuesday Weld and Gena Rowlands, certainly dives into the dirty doings with aplomb. ** from ****