on 14 November 2012
Inside a Scottish castle, a man has just been slashed to death with a razor and thrown down a staircase deep inside the bowels of the castle. He's been left there to rot, and his flesh is eaten away by rats, all this is watched by a ginger cat. Soon after, the young and beautiful Corringa arrives, having recently been expelled from the convent school she was at. She soon meets up with her mother, Alicia, and her aunt Mary, before being introduced to Suzanne who's a French teacher. She's there to teach to Lord James MacGrieff, who is the owner of the castle and Corringa's cousin. Corringa hasn't seen James in a very long time and Suzanne gives off the impression that he's somewhat unstable, possibly even mentally ill. Later that night, Corringa, Suzanne, Alicia, Mary, Father Robertson, Dr. Franz and a few other guests are enjoying dinner when James bursts into the room, "welcome to my home, I don't remember inviting any of you". After the scene at dinner, everybody goes to bed. During the night, Corringa's mother is smothered to death in her bed, and from the black gloves it would appear to be the same person that killed the man at the start of the film. Over the following days, more people are murdered and the cat seems to always be there. Could the killer be James who really is mad? Perhaps it's Dr. Franz who is sleeping with Mary AND Suzanne, it could possibly even be Mary who seems to be in financial trouble and is getting more desperate by the day. Why are people being killed and what does it have to do with the cat? There's even some nonsense about vampires and a potential murderous gorilla.
Jane Birkin was an enticing and likeable lead as Corringa, but I can honestly say that this is the only film I've seen her in, I really do need to watch Blow-Up. Hiram Keller is pretty good as Lord James MacGrieff, he's very intense and had the perfect face for the role. German actor Anton Diffring played Dr. Franz, French superstar Serge Gainsbourg stars as a Police Inspector who's investigating the murders, and Italian actor Venantino Venantini stars as Father Robertson. Venantini will be a familiar face to fans of Italian horror, he played Mr. Ross in City of the Living Dead, the man who pushes Giovanni Lombardo Radice's head on to the drill. He played Sgt. Ross in Umberto Lenzi's Cannibal Ferox and Juan Cardoso in Alfonso Brescia's ridiculous but fun, The Beast In Space. It's directed by Antonio Margheriti, a director whose most successful period was probably in the '60s with numerous excellent gothic horror films like The Castle of Death and Castle of Blood. It's hardly surprising that during the giallo boom in the '70s, Margheriti chose to make his a gothic giallo set in a castle. Seven Deaths in the Cat's Eye is still probably the most gothic giallo I've ever seen, and it was probably his best attempt at the genre. Margheriti also directed the 1980 classic, Cannibal Apocalypse, which was the first Margheriti film I ever saw. The music from Italian legend and two time Academy award nominee, Riz Ortolani, is excellent, the cinematography by Carlo Carlini is also very good. There's a little nudity and blood, but it's a film that prefers to use the creepy castle and actors to build atmosphere. The castle itself plays a big part in the film, secret passages, plenty of dark rooms and corridors, the crypt outside and of course, the cat, whose appearance almost always confirms your imminent death.
It's another wonderful looking transfer from Blue Underground, the colours and detail are fantastic. The sound for the most part is also great, the dialogue is crisp and the music plays a large part of the film. There's one extra on the disc which is a an eight minute featurette called Muder He Wrote - An interview with co-writer Giovanni Simonelli. That actually lasts about five minutes and the last few minutes of it is Antonio Margheriti explaining the reason why he chose to release most of his films under the pseudonym of Anthony M. Dawson. It's dubbed into English but most of the actors were speaking in English anyway, and there's no subtitles. Seven Deaths is a very good gothic giallo that deserves to be seen by all fans of the genre, and despite it being a genre that often had strange things going on, this is one of the strangest out there. It probably didn't need the vampire or gorilla parts in the film as it's only ever hinted at, but it's still a great little movie and one of Antonio Margheriti's best.
on 26 February 2011
This is not your usual 70s giallo-it's set in an atmospheric Scottish gothic castle where a strange family are being knocked off one by one by an unknown killer-Jane Birkin is the sexy lead who returns from a convent school to her family's ancestral caastle when the killings start happening-there are secret passages,swirling mists,a family crypt, bats, rats and of course the cat of the title who seems to be around when every murder takes place-there's also a killer gorilla!If you would like a sadistic killer story mixed with a gothic hammer horror-this is for you-very enjoyable & you won't guess who the killer is! The print is very good.