Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Lizard in a Woman's Skin

This was an early effort by famed Italian horror director Lucio Fulci. While I’m not as big on him as I am his contemporaries like Mario Bava and Dario Argento, I had heard enough good things about his early gialli that I felt I had to at least try them. Fortunately, his early work seems to have been a bit better and (slightly) more coherent than his later horror movies were.

The plot is about a woman in a high rise apartment (women in gialli always live the high life, you know) who, after describing to her therapist a series of erotic dreams she had had about her loose neighbor, finds that her neighbor was murdered in the exact same way that she had described in her last dream. While this would normally seem a pretty open and shut case, but as her father is the head of the police force, he is determined to discover who might be setting her up, and why. So yes, the plot is somewhat incoherent, as all gialli are, but it is quite entertaining all the same. For one, being a Fulci movie, it doesn’t shy away from violence, and there’s a scene with cut open dogs that’s more gruesome than anything you’ll find in his more famous film Zombie. There’s also a great scene where our heroine is chased through a cathedral and barricades herself in a dark room filled with a vicious army of rubber bats.

There are some pacing problems, as there are in most Fulci films, and the first half of the film, largely taken up by the police investigation, is a tad boring whenever her insane dreams aren’t being shown. The second half is much better, though, and ranks up with the best of his horror films. If you’re not already a giallo fan, this is not going to change your mind, but to genre fans, it won’t disappoint.

Rating: ** ½

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