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I thought I'd kick the new year off with another movie marathon. I thought it was time to check out a few old school mystery flicks. Som...

Saturday, October 28, 2023

Spasmo (1974)

I thought I mix things up a bit here for the marathon with some Giallo goodness from director Umberto Lenzi. This movie finds a man named Christian walking on the beach with a lady when they see what they think is a body. Turns out the woman was just sleeping. Her name is Barbara and Christian becomes obsessed with her. He tracks her down to a yacht party where the pair hit it off. Just as things are going well and he is about to bed her a man breaks into the place and threatens him with a gun. Well not wanting to be denied there is a fight, and the intruder is shot. Here is where things get weird.

They don’t report this to the police. Instead, they head out to a house that belongs to Barbara’s artistic friend. They don’t know that it has been leased to a weird pair who befriend them. Oh, and the dead guy isn’t dead, at least not right away. We also get a subplot about Christian and his brother, who runs their father’s company. He is the black sheep of the family. If that weren’t enough there is also a killer running around killing women. I can’t say much more without giving away spoilers and I don’t want to do that. 

This is an entertaining movie that had me confused, in a good way. There is clearly something going on and while we don’t know right away how all the characters connect, they eventually do give the audience a satisfying ending. I had several guesses as to what was going on and I have to say that I was very wrong. When we do finally see it, then things become clear. Things that were clearly happening under our noses. This is the kind of movie that is fun to watch a second time to see all the spots where they hinted at the big twist. If found the story engaging and a fun watch. 

The cast is solid with Robert Hoffman, who I remember from Eyes Behind the Stars which I really enjoyed. Ivan Rassimov who was in some other killer Gialli like All the Colors of the Dark has a smaller role as Christian’s brother Ivan. I wish we got more of his creepy self in this flick. But what is the best bit of casting was the lovely Suzy Kendall playing the female lead Barbara. She did a lot of cool flicks with my favorite being either Torso or The Bird with the Crystal Plumage. Both of which I should get around to reviewing for the site. I mention all of this because Lenzi assembled a hell of a cast for Spasmo and that only makes the already solid movie even better. 

The kills in this movie aren’t all that explicit or honestly that great. This is tame compared to many other Gialli. We also only get five deaths in the movie. But each of them is impactful and move the story along. So, they serve their purpose. Spasmo isn’t about shocking you with violence but instead sucking you in to the plot and getting you to care about the characters. That it does very well. If you are looking for a bloody Giallo to watch then maybe Bay of Blood or one of Argento’s flicks are more up your alley. 

I really liked this movie. If what I’ve mentioned above hasn’t convinced you to watch Spasmo then how about an original score from the master Ennio Morricone! Seriously this movie had one hell of a creative crew both in front of as well as behind the camera. I highly recommend it and think that this is a great place for someone new to the genre to start. 

© Copyright 2023 John Shatzer

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