Watch Me When I Kill (aka The Cat With The Jade Eyes/The Cat's Victims) Review
The FilmAntonio Bido's thrillers, perhaps unfairly, have gained a reputation for riding on the coat tails of more famous directors, principally Dario Argento. The Bloodstained Shadow includes elements that you might link to Aldo Lado's Who Saw Her Die and Lucio Fulci's Don't Torture a Duckling, and it is hard to sit through Bido's début without being constantly reminded of Dario Argento.
The plot of Watch Me When I Kill revolves around sound. The central character played by Corrado Pani is some kind of sound engineer/music producer, and the mystery that he pursues is one offered up by aural clues. His girlfriend gets him embroiled in a series of murders as she is present at the first one and mistakes the voice of the killer for that of the first victim. His next door neighbour further involves him in the plot by coming to him with a series of threatening tapes featuring aural collages that are sent by the murderer.
There is also some similarity in the use of the Padua sequence to Argento's finest film. In Argento's film, David Hemmings had to enter an old house and at one point narrowly avoided a falling pane of glass, and Pani has the same experience here. In terms of story, the mystery of Profondo Rosso is a secret of the past and the killer plays sounds, in that case a nursery rhyme, to scare his victims before he strikes, and, well, the same elements appear here.
Watch Me When I Kill may use Argento's legacy extensively but, when compared with the great director, Bido's work has not survived the test of time anywhere near as well. Profondo Rosso is over 30 minutes longer, but the film never drags like Bido's début does and the murders and shocking images from both illustrate which director is the true artist. Bido's killings are nasty but sometimes unintentionally comic, and the supposed tension to build to the moment of death is not always convincing. His killer seems to dawdle en route and the bathtub murder, which is the best killing in the film, is too long and lacks the drive of Verdi's accompanying music.
Transfer and SoundThe director says that his choice to film on Gevaert color is the reason why existing prints of the film are so soft and degraded, and that explains why a lot of the previous DVD releases have been so poor. This Shameless presentation is probably an improvement on existing releases but it is still far from flawless. The opening 30 minutes seemed to me the weakest in terms of visual quality and there is evidence of edge enhancement, uncertain brightness levels and some aliasing during this section. Then quality improves for some quite lovely sequences within the films middle third with slight deterioration during the final part. The print has a fair few imperfections and detail away from the focus of the camera is often very soft. This is though a lot better than I remember my old VCI disc being.
Discs and Special FeaturesThe recent emphasis that Shameless have placed on extras is continued here with a pleasing collection of trailers, titles sequences and an interview. Bido protests his innocence to the charge of ripping off Argento, and he is so likeable, humble and enthusiastic here that it's hard to believe him a cinematic thief. He also introduces the film before the main feature plays.
The American and international versions of the film yield different trailers and completely different title sequences. The American versions are shorter and play up the slash and stalk angle to sell the film.
The film is also accompanied by the fact track courtesy of the Wilson Brothers which will be useful to those unfamiliar with the film or the genre. The traditional Shameless trailer reel completes the package.
SummaryI believe this is an improvement on existing DVD releases but the video quality is not A1. The film is not that remarkable but it is an amiable distraction if you enjoy the genre.
6 out of 10
6 out of 10
6 out of 10
6 out of 10