Thursday, October 3, 2013

"Nelle pieghe della carne" (1970) d/Sergio Bergonzelli

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Tonight we look at an early giallo of Italian/Spanish descent, from the man who would later direct Ajita Wilson and Lina Romay in the hardcore Apocalipsis Sexual (1982), that's heavy on the trippy psychedelia of the era and Freudian lunacy and features performers like Elenora Rossi Drago and Pier Angeli, a year before her tragic suicide. The translated, international title, In The Folds of Flesh, refers to a Freudian quote about the effect of life experience upon the brain, not the body, as some might be misled into believing, and the levels of sex and nudity within are appropriately tamer than one would expect to see in gialli of the period. Don't let that sway you, though, as Bergonzelli more than compensates with incest, rape, murder, outrageous concentration camp flashbacks, vultures, and more bloody mannequin heads than three Herschell Gordon Lewis movies, ferchrissakes. I can't help but think a pre-movie bubbler sesh ( for self-medication purposes only, of course) might act as the perfect compliment for anyone thinking about sitting down to this one, especially if they aren't able to score a ten strip of acid, readily...

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"Hiyata empowers himself by lifting the phallic Beta capsule over his head, and thus becomes an Ultra Man"- Freud (not really)
Just before he's apprehended by the authorities, Pascal (Fernando Sancho) the murderer seemingly witnesses Lucille (Rossi Drago) burying a body behind her sizeable estate as a young boy looks on. Thirteen years later, Lucille has a couple of vultures in cages as pets, and is also mother to Andre (Alfredo Mayo) and Falesse (Angeli), who may or may not have been molested by her own father as a child, causing her to murder her suitors by dagger or sword when their sexual advances trigger her traumatic memories, as Andre peep-toms from a safe distance. Afterwards, Mom grants her the criminal mulligan by disposing of the corpses via acid bath(!), and slagging the bones off to visitors as "Etruscan remains". Yeah, maybe in a technical sense...More heads roll than on the set of a 1981 Ted Nugent video (Intensities in Ten Cities was a good album with a couple of great tracks on it, I don't care what you say) while Andre takes fashion to the eyesore extreme with clothes that'd make Liberace blush.You probably don't want to act on your first impressions of anyone in a giallo, as the twists soon come like Arch Hall, Jr. himself induced them, in a tux with a (wild) guitar and dirt bike down on the beach.

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"Slap me another tab of acid, this Grateful Dead album still sucks, maaan!"
Pascal finally butts back in on the scene, hating on animals (a vulture eats lead and a dog gets C.T.F.O.ed), and raping the women of the household, and while the thought of forced penetration from a slathering, overweight, unkempt Hispanic criminal tortures Lucille, Falesse is strangely cool with it! None-the-less, Lucille does the unwanted house guest in with cyanide capsules in the bath while flashing back to her own black and white childhood, where she waved goodbye to the condemned as they asphyxiated in gas chambers (through improbable large glass shower windows, of course). A man claiming to be Falesse's real father appears, having faked his death, conflicting with the idea that she had beheaded him after molesting her all those years ago, as flashbacks would have you believe. Another flashback (what's one more, at this point?) reveals that it was her mother's lover who had raped her, and that she beheaded, and that the details of that night were purposely kept from her to maintain her sanity. Her sanity? What about the viewer's sanity after bearing witness to this Italo-Spanish soap opera-on-Krokodil? What about it, I ask you.

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"The realism of Flesh's gore disturbed me very deeply."- Nobody
Angeli, who earned a Golden Globe for 'Most Promising Newcomer' a decade earlier, walks around in much the same haze that she would in the laughable American Z-grade monster opus, Octaman, a year later before succumbing to a sleeping pill overdose. Sancho made his name in westerns during the previous decade, and appeared in De Ossorio's 1973 Blind Dead sequel, Return of the Evil Dead. The folks over at Severin have released the English dub of tonight's review in a very acceptable, highly collectible package, should any of this strike you as vaguely appealing (...or even appalling, if that's yer bag. Nobody's judging you here, man.). On the scale, Flesh rates a respectable two biggies, a worthwhile addition to any genre collection. Look for it!

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"Ohhh, help me, Will Robinson! Save meeeeee!"
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