Monday, November 23, 2015

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

Director - Sergio Martino (Torso)
Starring - Edwige Fenech (Strip Nude for the Killer), Anita Strindberg (The Case of the Scorpion Tales), and Luigi Pistilli (A Bay of Blood)
Release Date - 1972
Genre - Horror
Format - BluRay (Personal Collection) (Screener)

Rating (out of 5):
     Italian horror is a hit or miss sub-genre among horror fans.  Some love them all while other pick them apart and enjoy certain aspects.  Personally, I tend to think that I like them all but I typically avoid giallos because they bore the shit out of me when most feel like a murder mystery and not a horror flick.  Most are beautifully shot and offer up some spectacular imagery.  A decent amount of these beautifully crafted horror films typically gave the viewer buckets of blood and gore but not all of them.  One such horror film was 1972's Your Vice is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key.  This was a film that I never knew about until Arrow released the Black Cats box set.  The film was another take on the Edgar Allen Poe story The Black Cat.  Arrow was kind enough to hook me up with a review copy of the set.  Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to check it out!
    The film follows a writer who lives in a very old mansion with his wife and their black cat amply named Satan.  The writer, Oliviero (Pistilli), is a drunk and very abusive towards his wife and often has an affair with one of his former students.  One day she turns up dead and they suspect that Oliviero's wife, Irina (Strindberg), is the one responsible.  Soon, their black maid is found dead not long after wearing Oliviero's mother's dreass.  Oliviero starts to suspect Irna for the murders and turns to physically abusing his wife.  Not long after this Oliviero's niece Floriana (Fenech) arrives.  Oliviero starts seducing her and soon Floriana and Irina hatch a plan to get Oliviero which results in Irina stabbing Oliviero.  Floriana agrees to keep their secret and asks for the family jewelry.  Irina agrees and then hatches out yet another plan with the killer of the first two murders to get Floriana.  The police arrive to investigate and soon finds the cat whining behind the walls in the cellar...
        I was a little upset after watching The Black Cat from one of my favorite filmmakers, Lucio Fucli.  The film had the Fulci style but lacked the gore that I have grown to love and admire from the godfather of gore.  When I tossed in Your Vice is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key, I was hoping this one would bring the carnage but it did not.  The film has that Italian horror style but lacked the gore I was expecting.  The acting in this one is easily the best out of the set.  The cast works very well together and create some very genuine characters that feel so real.  Luigi Pistilli is a man you love to hate and his character is easy to despise.  That is what the film calls for and he delivers on that perfectly.  Anita Strindberg is brilliant.  She is able to channel that battered woman character perfectly before switching it up to a clever little lady who is able to manipulate everyone around her.  Also, Edwige Fenech is amazing.  She is sexy, seductive, and deceiving.  This is a role she is known for and I believe that is because she was born to play those type of characters.  The story for this one is a very layered take on the Edgar Allen Poe tale.  The film ends like the iconic story but delivers a very unique spin that almost feels like a crime drama and not a horror flick.  This works well on so many levels just a bit of a let down on the horror front.  Finally, the film has a few on screen kills but they are very lackluster.  The film has decent practical effects but do not apply any originality to the kills themselves to make them memorable.  Overall, Your Vice is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key is a solid Italian murder mystery with a great cast and an amazing take on The Black Cat but does not feel like a horror film.  I recommend it just keep in mind that it does not feel like a horror flick.

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