Sunday, November 27, 2011

Strip Nude for Your Killer (1975)

When it comes to the exploitation and grindhouse movies that horror filmmakers are trying to emulate currently, Italy really was the world leader. Sure, there are some amazing exploitation movies from Indonesia and the US and I'm just now discovering Canadian exploitation, but goddamn did the Italians do it sleazier, bloodier, and nudier than anyone else.

Take, for example, Strip Nude for Your Killer, a movie that ups the gore and nudity way over the usual giallo level. The story begins with a botched abortion leaving a pretty young woman dead and the doctor and an accomplice leaving her body in her home to make it look like an accident. This is followed, after the credits, with said doctor getting stabbed to death by a killer in black leather and a motorcycle helmet, and the black riding gloves that no giallo killer would be without.

Next we’re in a luxury hotel where Carlo, the world’s most obnoxious fashion photographer, played by Castel Nuovo, picks up the gorgeous Lucia (Femi Benussi) from the pool by following her around, taking pictures of her ass, and telling her he can get her in Vogue before screwing her in the sauna. Soon this charmer of a man pulls her into the dreamy, soft-lit 70s world of the Milan fashion industry, where everyone seems to be sleeping together or stabbing each other in the back. Also, there’s a killer in a black motorcycle suit stabbing everyone to death. It's not the old home on the farm to be sure.

Much of the film plays as a soap opera. The editor Giselle (Amanda) is a bitchy lesbian who wants Lucia all to herself. Her husband Maurizio is a fat virgin who tries to seduce the models because she won't sleep with him. The lovely Edwige Fenech plays Madga, a photographer who wants to break into modeling and, improbably, has been unsuccessful so far. The model Patricia, , seems to be in her own world. Someone is trying to blackmail Giselle, Carlo is sleeping with Magda in spite of being ridiculously chauvinistic, even for an Italian flick, and again there's that killer. So high drama here.

Strip Nude for Your Killer is both sleazier than the average giallo and a lot more fun than normal. Whenever the plot starts to drag, a character takes her clothes off; whenever you get tired of the female flesh, someone gets killed in gruesome red tempera paint F/X. The mystery isn't that hard to solve and Fenech pretty much saves the film by being more likable than anyone else, and the horror scenes don't induce much fear. But, the film delivers enough skin, sleaze, and splatter to satisfy.

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