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3.6 out of 5 stars8
3.6 out of 5 stars
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on 13 April 2014
Its great to see this hard to find movie available on DVD, but it didn't really provide a lot of thrills or tension to me. The story tells of a rich heiress named Joanna who is confined to a wheelchair due to a traumatic childhood injury. She spends her life developing various upper-body sporting skills like archery and fencing, and finds romance with her sports therapist, but it seems like her past is coming back to haunt her in the shape of hallucinations and various murders going on around her.

Now, my first thought as I watched the start of the film was anger at Shameless giving away the fact that her boyfriend (David Warbeck) is the killer by plastering this all over the sleeve of the DVD, which really isn't necessary and is a very selfish decision to use this plot twist to enhance their marketing. Way to go, Shameless!! I am sure their defence will be that the film gives away this fact in the first 30 minutes, but yeah, those 30 minutes prior to that twist are effectively ruined, as the story is doing it's best to set up red herrings like Joanna's pouty assistant Ruth, who appears to have romantic designs on Joanna herself! All for nothing.

Anyway, so once we see the unveiling of Warbeck's intentions, the film keeps going for another hour, and I will say that things do pick up as Joanna becomes more and more terrorised by his evil scheme. The last 20 minutes of the movie are well staged, as Joanna literally fights for her life without the ability to walk, but just her sporting strength to help her survive. There are several acts of violence in the story but for anyone hoping for Italian style giallo-splatter, you're not going to get it here. The special effects are very poor, all we get is a lot of the old theatrical fake knives and razors which squirt blood when pressed against skin, and it really looks rubbish. On the plus side, David Warbeck does get to bash someone's brains out with a heavy church artefact, which looks painful, and there's a brief shot of scissors spearing someone's hand. I know it sounds perverse to rate the amount of violence, but let's face it, this is what the film is peddling, so it should be doing it well.

Although the performances are all fair, the English dub does not help. Christina Nagy does well in the pivotal role of Joanna but her dubbed voice diminishes the veracity of all of her scenes of peril. She does seem to be speaking English (as does Warbeck), but the post-shoot dubbing still makes a mess of her performance. The other sad thing is that the film has not aged well fashion wise, and it's a real shame that Joanna spends the last 20 minutes of the film (the only part which has any tension) wearing a hideous outfit with a massive collar that makes her look like she's dressed as a clown.

All in all, this is not a rediscovered gem, but just a passable thriller. There are other lost Italian shockers out there that could have a much bigger impact if released on DVD (Giallo A Venezia, Nero Veneziano to name two), so here's hoping Shameless can carry on looking. Just keep your mouths shut about putting plot spoilers on the cover next time eh?
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on 1 November 2015
Bad cinema just doesn't get any better. Long unavailable Giallo starring tragically doomed to die young David Warbeck as the baddie. High quality film and sound track and if you ain't squeamish you'll relish it.
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on 15 January 2014
If you love your Italian exploitation movies, you've got to have this film in your collection!

David Warbeck, best known for The Beyond, Panic, Ratman and a few other cult Italian movies, stars in this excellent giallo. Despite being fairly unknown and made in the mid-80s when the giallo genre was arguably fading, Formula For A Murder is definitely among some of the finest. The score is superb (although it does steal some music from New York Ripper!) and the cinematography and editing is exactly what you'd expect from the best giallos - eerie, creepy and very European.

Everything a giallo fan will like is in here - style, the music, creepy dolls, twisted priests, memorable kills,a disabled victim (what is it with Italian horrors and victims being blind or wheelchair bound?!). Warbeck is the cherry on the yellow cake!

This is the first time the film has been released on DVD and it looks superb, since it's been newly remastered. Also included is a reversible cover, an audio commentary from the DOP of the film and a very cool yellow raincoat that's included with the DVD (limited amount).

Highly recommend this one to all gialli fans - old and new to the genre.
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on 25 February 2014
Thank you Shameless for this great Release. Sound and Picture is perfect, also the Audio-Track in German sound ok....Looking forward into the future ;)
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on 30 July 2014
First time its been released and hailed a classic giallo - unfortunately I found it quite boring.
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on 10 February 2015
excellent dvd very pleased
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on 3 April 2014
Good little horror PIC,great to see David Warbeck as a psycho ,not a bad lil movie if you like that kinda thing,nice little plastic Mac comes with it too,
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on 10 May 2014
A real let down this movie was. The movie was D.O.A. I didn't watch all of it I turned it off.
11 comment0 of 5 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse