After the Fall of Good Taste

It is 20 years after a devastating nuclear war between the Pan-American Confederacy and the Euracs, an alliance of European, African and Asian forces. Massive contamination from radiation has largely sterilised humanity; no new human beings have been born for 20 years. The Euracs have occupied Noo Yoik and are scouring it for survivors, on whom they conduct intensely painful and invasive medical tests in the hope of finding anyone capable of producing children.

Meanwhile, the defeated Pan-American Confederacy has regrouped in Alaska (or an amusingly poor model thereof), where their leaders have discovered through old census records the existence of a woman in New York who could viably become pregnant. (How records largely compiled before the downfall of civilisation that caused mass sterilisation can indicate this is, shall we say, one of several plot points which are glossed over due to not making a lick of sense. (It actually makes sense in the end, but it seems like Parsifal is caused an awful lot of problems by the fact that the Confederacy leaders don’t bother giving full details to him.)

Parsifal (Michael Sopkiw), a badass road warrior who has a troubled history with the Confederation, is recruited by them to go on a mission into Eurac-occupied New York to retrieve the woman in question, so her eggs can be surgically harvested and used to make a viable new population on a colony mission to Alpha Centauri. Along the way he’ll have to tangle not only with various local ragamuffins and Eurac soldiers, but also the animalistic gang led by Big Ape (George Eastman), who dress in old-timey costumes and for some reason include a bunch of Neanderthal-types and full-blown Planet of the Apes-esque talking apes.

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The Strange Movie of Mr Martino

This article was originally published on Ferretbrain. I’ve backdated it to its original Ferretbrain publication date but it may have been edited and amended since its original appearance.

Mrs. Wardh (Edwige Fenech) – Julie to her friends – doesn’t really have that strange a vice by modern standards – just a bit of a submissive and masochistic streak. But it’s the 1970s, and people are less clued-in about such things – and standards of consent and ethics in the community of the sexually adventurous are much less developed than they are today. Take, for instance, Jean (Ivan Rassimov) – her former lover whose sadistic streak ultimately went too far for her comfort. To get away from him, she married Neil Wardh (Alberto de Mendoza), the US ambassador to Austria.

When Julie and Neil return after an extended recall to the States, they find Vienna in the grip of terror – for a serial killer has been preying on local sex workers, using a straight razor to slash them terribly. Julie finds herself bored, and takes to attending wild parties thrown by her sexually liberated friend Carol (Cristina Airoldi). It’s at one of those parties that she meets George Corro (George Hilton), a hitherto-unknown cousin of Carol from Australia who recently discovered the family connection thanks to an inheritance – but she’s also spotted again by Jean. As Julie enters into an extramarital affair with George, she finds herself stalked by Jean, who like a classical abuser tries to persuade her that nobody but him can truly please her. (As one of his notes dramatically states, “your vice is a locked room and only I have the key” – a phrase so dramatic that our director, Sergio Martino, would later re-use it as the title of one of his later collaborations with Fenech.)

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Quoth the Kitty, “Nevermeow”

This article was originally published on Ferretbrain. I’ve backdated it to its original Ferretbrain publication date but it may have been edited and amended since its original appearance.

Italian horror is a deep well, and several different companies have done well dredging it. Leading the pack in the UK market is Arrow Video, whose blu-ray releases of various classics of the field are generally excellent restorations of movies who sometimes haven’t been preserved all that well.

One of their oddest concepts for a bundle release of late is Edgar Allen Poe’s Black Cats, bringing together two movies – 1972’s Your Vice Is a Locked Door and Only I Have the Key and 1981’s The Black Cat – whose only common feature is that they purported to be riffs on the Poe story, despite not really being that similar at all. Having reviewed a decidedy smoochypaws-relevant giallo yesterday, now’s the perfect time to take a look at these.

Your Vice is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key

Oliviero (Luigi Pistilli) is a wealthy novelist who lives in a big villa. He likes to relax by inviting over the libertine biker hippies who live in a nearby commune for drunken parties which degenerate into him waffling about his dead mother, sexually and racially abusing his maid Brenda (Angela La Vorgna), humiliating and bullying his wife Irina (Anita Strindberg), and then watching as the hippies get their ritualistic freak on.

In short, he is a deeply unpleasant human being who dishes out violence and rape on the women in his home whenever he has a mind to. Things only get more unpleasant and tense when Oliviero and Irina find themselves caught up in a series of murders; first Fausta (Dianiela Giordano), a former student and current lover of Oliviero’s, is murdered at a time she was supposedly keeping an appointment with him, and when the police come asking questions Irina covers for Oliviero by saying he was home even when he wasn’t (he insists he was just delayed due to a flat tire). Then Brenda ends up killed inside the home itself – Oliviero swears to Irina that he didn’t do it, but also insists that they can’t take the matter to the police because they won’t believe he’s innocent, and forces her to help him bury Brenda in the cellar.

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