Friday, October 8, 2010

Strange Killers: What Have You Done to Solange?

Giallo is a very interesting sub-genre.  Like teen vampire films or Nudist Camp films, the genre just suddenly got popular, a shit-ton of films were made and- save for some Argento films- then it vanished.  It was like 'I'd love to stay, but I'm bored- bye!'  During the simultaneous high and only point of the genre's existence, some really good films were made.  Not a lot of them, but there were a few that were note-worthy.  One of them is this film- duh.  The film is also notable for being shot by a man named Joe D'amato.  As the only good thing he really ever did, it's notable!  The plot is notable for being full of murder, but also intrigue and serious emotional development.  Will this movie be worth the wait to review it?  Get out your body-storing bathtub for my review of...
The film begins with a couple out in the park.  They're an odd couple (as opposed to THE odd couple), since one of them is an older man (Fabio Testi) and the girl is in High School.  Italy is a fun place, huh?  While they're out, a schoolgirl is attacked by an unseen figure.  Her death is a very violent one, but it's nothing compared to what happens post-mortem.  The killer decides to stab her in, 'Ladybird Johnson.'  Naturally, this upsets the police- due to both her age and the manner of dismemberment.  This leads to an investigation into the school and all of its workers.  Some trouble comes up when they get too close to the student/teacher relationship that Testi is involved in.  This comes as bad news to his wife, who is also a teacher.  Things don't get any better when another girl is killed by the mysterious assailant.  When the truth about the teacher, he becomes a pretty major suspect.  After all, if he was having an affair, maybe he killed the girls to cover it up.  The wife actually takes the news better than you might expect, choosing to put some blame on herself for 'cooling' towards him and not being 'the same person he married.'  Wow, that's very mature- especially for a woman in a Giallo film.  To his credit, he feels bad about it too.  Of course, none of this stops the killings...
Rather than going into a whole lot of detail, but I will give you ample time to skip the SPOILERS if you so choose.  If not, enjoy the wrap-up.
Given the reason I chose this film, you can probably guess who the killer might be in regards to the cast.  Basically, it comes down to this.  The police discover that all of the dead girls were in a 'clique' (without Scott Hall- thank God) that included someone named Solange.  Where was she though?  As it turns out, the clique's big game was engaging in sex parties with an all-boys campus.  The problem- Solange got knocked up.  To cover their tracks, the girls got an older lady to give her an abortion.  The trauma of this event caused her to go into a vegetative state for a while and, ultimately, degrade into a child-like state.  The dad saw a problem with this and went on a killing spree in order to get revenge.  Obviously, the knife in their 'Lady Gagas' was symbolic of what they did to him.  When caught with the truth, the guy doesn't take it well.  A self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head qualifies, right?  The End.
This movie is...actually good.  I don't know what else I can say, really.  The movie is paced well, has an interesting plot and features good acting.  Despite being a work by Joe D'amato, the cinematography is good too.  It doesn't play with camera angles, do all sorts of tricks or anything like that.  It's simple and effective.  Unlike a lot of these films, the characters actually have decent sides to them.  Well, okay, the girls don't really, but the rest do.  The film makes a point about having the main characters try to reconcile their strained marriage, for crying out loud!  It's kind of a cheat to have the 'third wheel' die, I suppose, but it doesn't feel like a cheat.  Now if they'd had her die in an unrelated incident or something, that would be a different story.  There's not a lot of gore here for a Giallo film, but what you get is effective.  Given the victims and post-mortem attacks, it's an understandable choice.  I guess I could complain about how quickly the film wraps up, but I didn't mind it too much.  Despite me spoiling the ending, I still think that you should check this one out.  It's not that hard to find on DVD, so you have no excuse.
Next up, Blockbuster Trash and Strange Killers collides with a horror film cashing in on a Syfy Channel show.  This will either be great or terrible.  Stay tuned...


  1. Sorry dude had to skim this one and just jump to your thoughts at the end, havent seen it yet but have been dying to for years!

  2. There's no time like the present then.

    Seriously, this is why I put off reviewing the film for so long. Then again, it's one more movie off of the list.