Strip Nude For Your Killer Review
Do you remember that horse faced guy who ended up married to Julia Roberts? Lyle Lovett was his name, and, apart from giving many of us hope that personality counts for more than looks, he is a musician with a real knack for song titles. "I Married You Because You Looked Like Her", " She's Leaving Me Because She Really Wants To" and "I Loved You Yesterday" are three particular examples of the parodic titles that LL dreamed up for his country and western songs. Sometimes the songs lived up to the title, and sometimes they didn't.
Strip Nude For Your Killer is the perfect title for a giallo, the only possible element of the genre missing is a mention of power tools. The original Italian title is more restrained but only a little, Nude per l'assassino, and the film and its moniker does have quite a lot in common with one of the greatest films in the genre, Mario Bava's Blood and Black Lace aka Sei donne per l'assassino. Both films are set around the glamorous world of fashion where seedy secrets abound under the glitzy surface. Both movies will dispatch beautiful women in ways savage and deliberately aimed to desecrate their beauty.
Technically the films would share many of the same devices too. Brilliant murder set-pieces, superb scores and tense thriller elements that spread the guilt about whilst attempting to go beyond the predictable. In Bava's masterpiece, the guilt is the stench of corruption, of lies, and of the glamorous façades which hide the fact that its characters are as worthwhile as the mannequins the director fixates upon. Visually, Bava's film is a careful and experimental procession of images both opulent and disgusting; through this juxtaposition the director affirms his central theme of inevitable decay. To quote Bill the Bard, Bava finds that "Lilies that fester smell far worse than weeds".
Andrea Bianchi's film comes ten years later and the path of the giallo has become well worn. As a film-maker, Bianchi's works show an admirable desire to dredge moral gutters for inspiration. Burial Ground's sick mother and son, Massacre's disgusting deaths and Malabimba's intense efforts to take the possession movie into dizzying diabolic delights, Bianchi tried to serve up what a jaded audience wanted. The self-censorship of many a film-maker would not apply to him, and zombie films, gialli and hardcore pornography were to be the genres he worked within, often blurring the boundaries between each.
Do not be surprised that Strip Nude for Your Killer does exactly what it says on the tin. Edwige Fenech, strangely cast as a photographer rather than a model, changes her clothes more often than a z-list celeb on a reality program and exchanges saliva and tonsils with fellow snapper Nino Castelnouvo in their regular grappling sessions. Nearly all of the female cast of models follow suit and we are even treated to the male leads' bare buttocks.
Bianchi delivers on the flesh, and he also delivers on the killing where his camera lingers on the aftermath of the leather suited maniac's handiwork. He insists that sexy women are desecrated, men are emasculated, and the ground around their bodies is strewn with ears and organs. Where Bava had offered facial disfigurement, Bianchi's killer offers sexual destruction and transformation of the living from objects of lust into freshly cut meat.
Bianchi also revels in the moral squalor on show. The fatal backstreet abortion, the lewd chat-ups, the sad sight of an obese owner unable to pleasure a live woman and then reverting to his blow up doll, and the basic prostitution of this industry of glamour. His camera is not repelled by what it sees and the film even finishes with the early fumblings of anal sex in order to avoid an unwanted pregnancy, creating a strange moral for a film that begins with an abortion: take it up the bum and you'll avoid the foul consequences of killing a child!
I am less repelled by this misanthropy than many, and perhaps this film is a milestone in the development of the genre moving on from Bava's classic. It shows just where film-makers would go in future years, Bianchi among them, to keep the slash and stalk invigorated. The film's energy can never be questioned in this respect, but I would have to admit that it does not share the technical accomplishments of Valerii's My Dear Killer or the work of Sergio Martino.
There are elements to Bianchi's film that are close to plain bad. The script and plotting are terrible, where other films may just ignore the real world need to involve the Police, Bianchi's keeps mentioning that it would be plain silly to involve them as the bodies pile up. Characters that hate each other one second are shagging the next, and the efforts to cast the guilt and maguffins around reach nonsensical depths.
Some scenes are mounted and delivered well, and other's just aren't. Fenech is asked to stumble around in the supposed dark at one stage when the scene is plainly over lit, and the slow pursuit of her by the killer at another point beggars belief. Still it does work in its own slutty and depraved way, and whilst it is clearly impossible to claim that this is a classic, it serves up the mutilations and eye candy that its title promises.
One of the most perverse of the entries in the genre from a director well attuned to that quality. Sleaze and slaughters await the viewer...
Transfer and Sound
The patrons of Shameless' own forums will have to forgive me for daring to compare this new edition with the previous Blue Underground release. I genuinely support the fact that a film like this has got a release on UK DVD, and I admire Shameless' ongoing efforts to deliver giallo gems, but existing DVD owners need to know if they should upgrade. Screenshots from both discs follow, the BU disc is on top with the new release below:
As you can see, both discs seem to be framed the same and of similar quality. The BU disc has stronger contrast and skin tones seem warmer overall, but both transfers seem to have the same issues with softness and edge enhancement. The colours are generally well balanced on this new release and again the difference between the old and new discs is marginal. One important difference to note is that the abortion sequence which starts the film is presented without the blue filter on this new release, appearing in full colour until the titles roll.
The single English mono dub does very well when I recall the old German disc I had of this film but the dubbing is really poor in places, a fault inherent to the original track. The truly brilliant score comes over with excellent fidelity and the voices are clear if mistimed throughout.
Discs and Special Features
The usual Shameless extras of trailers for the film and their other releases are included, and this new disc starts with the film itself. The trailers include the forthcoming Designated Victim, Oasis of Fear and the reconstructed Baba Yaga which will be a real coup for Shameless once it's released. The BU disc, which Michael reviewed here some time ago(see the side panel), trumps the extras here and is region free as is this new disc.
A strong effort from Shameless of a great title, if only an ordinary film. If you are fan of Fenech's then she rarely looked as beautiful as she does here, and that might be reason enough to dip.
Last updated: 03/05/2018 02:42:30