Richard Speck, notorious for more than being name dropped as one of Divine's celebrity blow jobs in Female Trouble (1974), was also a U.S. merchant marine-turned-mass murderer when he slipped into a dormitory for nurses in Chicago on a July night in 1966, and spent the evening torturing, raping, and murdering eight young student nurses ("It just wasn't their night," he'd later chuckle) while on an alcohol and drug fueled bender, leading to a famous electric chair death sentence, eventually reduced to a twelve hundred year bed at Stateville Prison, where the unrepentant killer grew breasts, often boasted of his crimes, and spent his days blowing coke and fellow inmates until his black heart finally quit at age forty-nine. Tonight's review is just one of several cinematic dramatizations of this legendary scar-faced creep (Your humble narrator is a scar-faced goon, know the diff, Cliff), this one from French-Canadian director Denis Heroux, who'd give us the killer cat anthology, The Uncanny, the following year, chose the war-torn streets of Belfast at the height of it's political unrest as the backdrop for this rarely-seen exploitation dittie.
"No Brady has ever planted a car bomb, Marcia, and you can be darn sure that no Brady ever will. Pardon my language, Alice..."
We see an awful lot of Richard Sp...uhh, Cain Adamson (Matthieu Carriere), a Vietnam Vet drifting his way back home to the States, aimlessly wandering the streets of Belfast amid spray-painted I.R.A. slogans and patrols of British soldiers, where the psychological burden of an abusive upbringing, the horrors of war, an unfaithful wife, lack of funds, etc, etc, take an irreparable toll on the man's fragile grip on sanity, finally leading him to break into a nearby building rented out to some student nurses with intent to burgle, or so he'd lead the terrified young women to believe, just before he convinces them to tie themselves up in one of the bedrooms, from which he calmly leads them, one by one, to a fate of degradation, sexual assault, and violent death. Just like he promised he wasn't gonna do! Joke's on you, girls. You showed kindness and trust to a transient sociopathic Robert Reed lookalike with a "Born for Hell" tattoo and an inborn hatred for women. That's never a smart move in a movie like this...
Not to detract from the horrific murder or anything, but check out that woolly lap-mammoth.
As predicted, things rapidly go Andy Milligan for our heroines. One aspiring care-giver gets the wind choked out of her, and another gets stabbed, while a third takes the knife from Adamson and fatally shanks herself in front of his eyes, rather than submit to his imposed sexual fancy, which doesn't happen to exclude outing a pair of closeted lesbians in a forced horizontal pair-up that ends in...anybody? If you quick-witted readers at home said "violent, humiliating death", give yourselves... one of those puffy re-released Ugly Stickers (not "Charlie" though, he's my fave, and you'll have to work a lot harder to snag him, I don't mind tellin' ya), I dunno. Believing he's exhausted himself of potential rape/murder victims, and having confessed his incestuous relationship with his sister along the way, along with various other little-known personal tidbits that I'm sure these chicks appreciated hearing about just before being brutally murdered, and famously forgetting "the one under the bed", our reverse-feminist opens his wrist in the end, only to be denied closure by the authorities.
"...but I haaaaate salmon without a couscous side."
Among the unlucky nurses are Carol Laure, who you'll recall from the wild Sweet Movie, and Ely Galleani, an Italian actress who's worked with everyone from Fulci to D'Amato.I scored the C & F Services bare bones disc for a couple of bucks used at an FYE a while back, and it seems like a pretty fair trade to my best assessment, as I don't foresee any sudden mad collector urges to upgrade to a hardbox or mediabook release ever happening. If you're looking for a cheap fix of grainy ( bordering on downright murky in spots) blood, tits (thankfully not Dickie's), woofin' seventies-tastic bush, and enough uncomfortable-looking misogynist torture and rape to make Krug Stilo step away for a momentary reflective stoagie of penance, then this one might just whet your appetite, briefly. On the scale, Naked scores a deuce, as the closest portrayal I've personally seen to the actual crimes themselves. Worth a look.