If you're not currently preoccupied with the manner in which that horny mummy in the corner is drinking in the seam lines in your girlfriend's bodacious Harley Quinn costume, then what better way to wrap up a solid spine-chilling and satisfying Italo-ween season this year, than to cover one from the undisputed platinum standard in gialli, the 'Italian Hitchcock' himself, Dario Argento, in the form of his recent, glorious return to sadistically violent form, 2001's Non ho sonno aka/ Sleepless, after having mostly floundered in unfamiliar waters of mediocrity with Trauma (1993), The Stendahl Syndrome (1996), and 1998's Phantom of the Opera, in the years following his blood-splashed magnum opus, Opera (1987). Phew...and Gabriel March Grandos thought his sentence was lengthy.
"Esplodere barattoli di marmellata??!! Chi e' il ragazzo saggio!"
Moretti (Von Sydow) is the police detective assigned to the brutal 'Dwarf Murders' (you hear that, Skittles?) investigation in Turin, promising a young motherless boy justice, after the wee lad sees the woman being force fed her own wind instrument, mind you. Moretti follows a trail of paper animal cutouts left at the gore-splattered crime scenes to a nursery rhyme by a local reclusive author of children's books known as 'The Dwarf' ( the rhyme itself was actually written by Dario's rather fetching daughter, Asia, who we all should be well familiar with, by now) who's driven to commit suicide by the allegations, effectively closing the case when the slayings cease afterwards, or so it would seem...
Heyyyy, I found a clarinet in the meat sauce...
Only, seventeen years later, a woman is horrifically snuffed on a train in an identical manner to the past slayings, leading Giacomo (Stefano Dionisi) , who's now grown up enough to face his childhood demons and return to the old neighborhood in Turin from Rome on the suggestion of an old school buddy named Lorenzo (Roberto Zibetti), to seek the assistance of the retired sleuth in solving the latest crimes that include an agonizing wall-smashed facepiece and a beheaded ballerina(!), which have the former detective wondering if his deceased dwarfish adversary was responsible for the original murders in the first place. I'll leave the mind-boggling finale for you to experience for yourselves.
"...we'll return to 'Maroon 5: Behind the Music' after these messages..."
Though Sleepless doesn't quite measure up (most of Von Sydow's supporting cast, and some artificial-looking CG effects come immediately to mind) against the vintage Argento gialli forever carved into the memory of genre lovers worldwide, like Profondo Rosso(1975), it's far and away his best effort in ages, a Halloween treat bucket that's overflowing with enough confectionery goodies like black-gloved psychopath hijinks, genre-friendly red herrings deftly woven around some (seriously) exotic murder set pieces by Stivaletti, the usual bang up score from Goblin perfectly complimenting the maestro's signature lush visuals, to bring the viewer back to those glorious eighties, when stuff like this wore the crown over everything. Three wops....oh, and, uh......Happy Hallowe'en.