Monday, January 5, 2009


Welcome to the debut of the 100 Rare and Obscure Horror Films You Should See Before You Die, or HROHFYSSBYD for short. As mentioned before, these are all done in alphabetical order, so that nobody gets their feelings hurt, and so we begin with an appropriately unknown giallo, Amuck.

Amuck (Alla ricerca del piacere) is one of those films that functions with more of a premise than a plot, and as such it finds itself developing a weird kind of mood as it lingers on moments far beyond what a more plot-intensive film would entail. Barbara Bouchet stars as Greta, a secretary that goes undercover at a mansion to try to discover what has happened to her friend that disappeared there the year before. The bulk of the film is taken up by her growing odd relationship with the two homeowner, Richard and Eleanora (Farley Granger and Rosalba Neri), as she is captivated by them even as she uncovers evidence that one or both of them might have been involved in killing her friend.

There are two main things worth noting about the film. One is that the two leading women are just amazingly attractive. Furthermore, in the grand Italian tradition, roughly two minutes after Greta moves into the mansion, Eleanora seduces her, giving us a fine lesbian sex scene to get the movie started right. Seriously, they start making out almost immediately after they first meet each other, and good on both of them for it. This film keeps the nudity going for the duration of the film, which (to me at least) more than makes up for the film’s big flaw.

That flaw, as you may have already figured out, is that not enough really happens in the film. It does a pretty good job at building mood, but it would have been a better film had a good ten or fifteen minutes have been trimmed from it. Indeed, with such a small cast (only five or six notable characters), two of which are potential villains, there’s not all that much that can happen fright-wise before the climax. Writer-director Silvio Amadio seems to have realized this, though, and dealt with it in the most sensible manner possible: by having Greta fall into some quicksand while duck hunting about halfway through the film. What can I say, not all gialli can be made by Argento or Fulci.

One final note: I had planned on including trailers of each film in the HROHFYSSBYD collection, and yet all I was able to find on Youtube was part of the film’s score. Further proof of the rarity and brilliance of this film! Enjoy!

Rating: ***

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