Years before Lucio Fulci stained celluloid with his infamous gore fests he made a much more coherent and reality based giallo craftily entitled “A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin”. Lucio Fulci had been working for years in the Italian film industry before Lizard, dabbling in nearly every genre from western to comedy. Although this wasn’t his first thriller it was most certainty one that would demand attention. Lizard has done just that and, thanks to Mondo Macabro’s newly remastered Blu-ray release, it is bound to garner even more.
In a world of intersecting ideologies taking place under the same roof, Carol, (Florinda Bolkan, Don’t Torture a Ducking, Flavia The Heretic), is the daughter of a wealthy and influential man. She begins having strange dreams that are pointed out by her psychologist to be repressed lesbian urges. One night, Carol’s sexually liberated neighbor (Anita Strindberg, Your Vice is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key) is murdered violently in Carol’s dreams. The next day we realize that it has indeed happened. We are plunged into a world of deceit and confusion where things seem obvious at first but, as more players and clues are unraveled, the waters are muddied and the truth is blurred. It is up to our Police Inspector Corvin (Stanley Baker, Zulu) to solve the case.
“A Lizard in A Women’s Skin” is a very progressive film for its day, containing ample nudity with brief full frontal and some surprisingly realistic special effects, some done by Carlo Rambaldi (E.T., Possession). Lizard is well rounded in all facets but stands out in its camera work; using lovely locations and an undeniable Italian style with split screens, POV, and wonderful framing in its wide angles showing us great scope. Lizard’s performances, for the most part, are well done even with the English dubbing. Be warned, however, the Italian dubbed track adds different layers to the story. The script does purposely mislead and is occasionally a tad bit sloppy but the plot manages to be coherent and is unfolded in an interestingly enough fashion to be a winner. Polish this all off with a wonderfully haunting track by Ennio Morricone and you have yourself a very solid entry in the giallo genre.
As for extras on the release I do not think an audience could rightfully ask for more. A truly interesting piece was a 30 minute interview with Lucio Fulci conducted in 1994, two years before his death. The Godfather of Gore seemed to open up quite a bit and, as a viewer, I felt I learned more about the man than any other piece of media I have come in contact with. Ported over from Shriek Show is the documentary made in 2003 which features interviews with the cast and crew. Any Euro horror film release wouldn’t be complete without Stephen Thrower being involved and the 30 minutes we are given from him is interesting, informative, and well put together, as his work always is. The audio commentary on the release is just as informative, covering the film’s locations and bit players with so much gusto that a college course on Lizard would offer less. Rounding out the release are trailers, an alternate opening, and an interview with a day player. If you are a fan of well-made giallos, Fulci, and/or Italian cinema then I would suggest picking Mondo Macabro’s release of A Lizard in A Woman’s Skin up.