24 January 2018 | Bezenby
More triky bizness for Baker
Notable actors: Carroll Baker! Jean Sorel!
I'm required by law to explain that the alternative title for this film is Paranoia, but that is the real title of Lenzi's other Giallo, Orgazmo, and that there's another Umberto Lenzi film called An Ideal Place to Kill too. Also, at least four Umberto Lenzi gialli star Carroll Baker, and additionally they are all generally of the 'bunch of people scheming against each other' plots rather than 'someone carving up Euro-babes' variety. Got that?
*Absolute silence from the rest of the Universe*
Right. This one starts off with Carroll Baker as a racing car driver who has some sort of brain fart while driving and ends up in hospital. Once discharged, she finds that she's been invited to the big fancy house of ex-husband/complete jerk playboy shag machine Jean Sorel, who previously mooched all of her money. Being a character in a film, she doesn't just throw the invite in the bin, but instead immediately packs her bags and drives off there.
Once there, Carroll realises that Jean has remarried an extremely rich lady who owns oil fields. It also turns out that this lady is the one who sent the invite - but for what reason? To play footsie with her under the table while Jean is doing the same thing? This lady, Constance, wants to be Carroll's new special friend, but is it for the usual giallo reasons (i.e slow motion lesbian sex scene)? Much discussion of how men are bastards ensues.
It's hard to write about these films without revealing the entire plot, and the twists are the highlights of the film, so let's be as vague as possible. There may or may not be a murder halfway through the film but a tremendous amount of obstacles suddenly present themselves that the killer (or killers) that they have to surmount to avoid being caught (that's if they murdered anyone, which they might have). Someone with a film camera may or may not have unwittingly filmed the murder which possibly leads to a hypothetical scene where everyone involved has to watch the film, plus there might even be the sudden appearance of someone else later in the film to throw a spanner in the works. Or perhaps not.
What I will reveal is that Umberto Lenzi further cements his position as the top animal killer of Italian cinema by having a scene set at a pigeon shooting club. It isn't enough that the guy would go out of his way to kill animals in his cannibal films, but here's a giallo that racks up a few pigeon deaths for the sake of a film. LEEENNNNZZZIIIII!!!!!
Just like his other late sixties Gialli, Lenzi has the whole film look amazing, keeps the camera angles fresh, but reigns in the psychedelics. He does include the old 'dancing in the club' scene that's a favourite from this particular era, including a band who wouldn't have looked out of place in the early nineties!
Slow to start, but as usual Lenzi proves he can tell the same story, with the same actors, a different way, and have everything and everyone look like an ad for a holiday villa.
And that's it - that's all the Carroll Baker gialli watched too, with the exception of some obscure psuedo-giallo called The Body from 1974. Carroll would later go on to star as the pushy mother of the bad guy in Big Arnie's Kindergarten Cop!