There is a deep vein of cynicism running through the center of Lucio Fulci’s Don’t Torture a Duckling (aka Non Si Sevizia un Paperino). The same can be said for the vast majority of the man’s work. His filmography is littered with the bodies of people snuffed out in manners most gruesome.
As with his previous film, Miraglia takes the modern setting integral to the spirit of gialli and dresses it up in a bit of old-fashioned Gothic spookiness by, once again, setting a portion of it in a moody Gothic estate full of dark secret passages and dungeon chambers.
Sergio Sollima didn’t direct very many films. His career is split fairly evenly between theatrical and televised fare. Devil in the Brain is not what anyone would consider a technically outstanding movie, but it is solid in its craftsmanship.
With her oversized, anime girl eyes, flitting, hummingbird like movements, and immovable mass of helmet-like hair, Vijaya Lalitha is a perfect human centerpiece for Doss’s cartoon world of over the top action and histrionics.
In fairness, there does seem to be a genuine attempt to create an actual film here. Take the word “attempt” literally in this case. Moments of suspense and dread, though presented with apparent sincerity, are nonetheless clumsily presented few and far between.
With Eye in the Labyrinth, Caiano demonstrates a sure hand in orchestrating his players, staging the action in striking tableaux, and allowing his creative muscles to stretch.
Creating an emotional attachment to the characters and a sympathetic reaction to the violence against them isn’t a giallo priority. Who Saw Her Die? is the rare giallo that attempts and succeeds this, thanks to a committed performance by former James Bond, George Lazenby.
When it comes to truly loathsome characters in a giallo, few can match Giuliano Carnimeo’s The Case of the Bloody Iris, a film in which pretty much everyone is hateful, stupid, or more often, hateful and stupid.
All the Colors of the Dark works within the confines of the giallo, but it takes the genre further afield than had previously been explored, resulting in a dizzying psychedelic combination of straight-forward stalker/murder mystery, hallucinogenic psycho-sexual exploration, and straight up occult/devil worship horror.
It was common for Italian exploitation films to be graced with a soundtrack that was much better than the film surrounding it. Such is the case with Bruno Nicolai’s score for The Case of the Bloody Iris.
Morricone’s score is like a children’s church choir gone horribly, disturbingly awry. As accompaniment to a film that stalks the foggy labyrinths of Venice, you couldn’t ask for a more perfectly haunting and off-kilter collection of songs.
Despite Morricone’s much deserved reputation, it’s probably Bruno Nicolai who deserves to be crowned king of the giallo soundtrack. He wrote quite a few. Most of them are very good. Many of them are great. All the Colors of the Dark is the best.