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Monday, November 26, 2018

The Weekend Murders (1970)

Here we have an Italian movie that is trying to be an English murder mystery in the vein of Agatha Christie while still having some elements of comedy in it. Well even a hardcore Horror guy like me needs to watch something different once in a while and this seems to be a good choice. At least I hope so.

Things start off with a strange group of characters going golfing. The lady golfer hits her ball into a sand trap and while trying to chip out of it her swing exposes the hand of a dead woman! Here the movie rewinds to a couple days earlier. The characters, including a bumbling police sergeant named Thorpe, are attending the reading of a will. The patriarch of the family has died and left his entire estate to his American niece. The scheming immediately starts as everyone tries to jockey for position. It is even suggested that since she doesn’t have a will that all the money would be split evenly if something happened to her.

Shots are taken, and bodies start to pile up. All of this confuses the inspector sent by Scotland Yard. Luckily for him and everyone but the killer, Thorpe might not be as dumb as he seemed. Or maybe he really is, but also has some sort of idiot savant crime solving thing going on. Regardless he does finally figure out who the murderer is and what the motives are and just in the nick of time too!

There are a lot of things that I like about The Weekend Murders. You have the inexplicably weird character of Georgie that is basically a man child that has been traumatized by his overbearing mother. This leads to several very strange scenes and some of the best comedy bits in the Weekend Murders. That also brings me to the fact that the movie balances the comedy and mystery pretty well. There are some funny moments here right alongside the bodies which shouldn’t work but do. Though I must warn you that I’m a fan of the quirky Euro vibe that comes with these odd Italian flicks. I’ve had such a healthy dose of Giallos and Horror flicks that this is old hat for me. I have a feeling that this might be a bit off putting to those not initiated in the ways of cult cinema from Seventies Europe.

Some other things that I noticed are how the musical cues don’t always fit the scene. They are oddly cheerful when bodies are dropping but this somehow works perfectly with the goofy vibe that The Weekend Murders is trying to create. I also dug how the camera would zoom in again and again to catch the reaction of the characters to the latest shocking detail or death. This is a staple of Italian cinema, at least the Giallos that I think influenced this movie. It was fun to see it on display here.

Really my only complaint about this one is that it seems a bit long. It feels like the movie could have lost ten minutes and been fine. Some of the mischief that Georgie, the man child mentioned earlier, could have been cut without hurting the movie at all. This is a minor complaint because I enjoyed The Weekend Murders and am going to recommend it.


© Copyright 2018 John Shatzer

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