on 28 August 2012
When a young woman named Mara stumbles upon the murder of a pharmacist, she quickly becomes the killer's next target. After a lucky escape in which a neighbour's dog causes the killer to flee from her house, she decides to go and stay with her friend and possible ex-lover, Lukas. Through nothing but sheer coincidence, Mara is next attacked in the underground car park in which Lukas' neighbour, Giovanni Bozzi, seems to have been the intended target. As Lukas begins to investigate, he soon realises that bodies are turning up and they all seem to be connected. Just as Lukas thinks he has it figured out, he finds himself back at square one, with the killer ever closer to completing his task.
All the actors do a good job, the director admitted that he mainly chose his actors because of their look, but made sure they could act as well. Corrado Pani and Paola Tedesco have good chemistry as Lukas and Mara, they both give good performances and bounce of each other nicely. I really enjoyed the look and performances of the supporting cast, especially the thin, pale and balding Bozzi played by Fernando Cerulli. It's masterfully directed by Antonio Bido, he later went on to direct the even better, Bloodstained Shadow. Although the film is heavily inspired by the Dario Argento films that were popular at the time, Bido has a different style to Argento, something he improved upon even further with his next film. This was Bido's directorial debut, and it's as accomplished as any I've seen. The original script was very different to what we ended up with, the script was revised to resemble Argento's films without Bido's knowledge, something which almost caused him to walk away from the film. Showing a braveness that most first time directors wouldn't even dream of, he argued against the changes and they came to a compromise. Bido would make the film from the new script, as long as certain scenes from the older script also made the film. The music in the film is also clearly inspired by Goblin who did the music for Argento's films, the soundtrack is so similar to that of Deep Red that it almost verges on plagiarism. There's no nudity as Bido claims that sex on film is pointless if it doesn't add to the plot, something I'm inclined to agree with. There's not much blood and gore, but there are some really good kill scenes. There's a scene in which a woman has her face forced into a hot stew, and a fantastic death scene with a man in a bath tub with operatic music booming out.
Shameless Screen Entertainment have produced another excellent DVD, and unlike many of their others, this one has quite a few interesting extras. There's a reversible sleeve with one of the film's alternative names, The Cats Victims. There's a commentary track in the form of subtitles, it's got plenty of decent information but has some very long pauses from time to time. Watch Me When I Tell is a twenty minute interview with Antonio Bido, it's subtitled as he speaks Italian but it's very interesting. He seems quite regretful that he only made two gialli, as he didn't really like them at the time but has grown very fond of them over the years. He also explains in the interview why the picture quality isn't as impressive as many of Shameless' other releases, he chose to shoot the film using something called Gevaert colour instead of Kodak. Gevaert gave the colours a more washed out and faded look compared to Kodak, but it continues to lose colour and definition over the years and lost its original quality. So the slightly faded and washed out look has nothing to do with the transfer from Shameless, it was a problem with the original film stock and this is the best the film will ever look, which I thought for the most part was pretty nice anyway. There's a very brief introduction to the film from Bido, a picture gallery, a few trailers for the film and finally as on all their DVDs, trailers for other films released by them.
Watch Me When I Kill/ The Cats Victims is a very solid but unspectacular giallo, that was inspired by but not as good as Dario Argento's early classics. Everything it imitates from Argento and Goblin is done very well, and Bido brings his own class and style to it. I'd be quite surprised if Argento fans found nothing to like about the film, especially the chase sequences, music and bath tub scene. I feel this film is well worth adding to the collection anyway, but the twenty minute interview from Bido made this a must have for me. He seems like a really fun and genuine man, and hopefully one day we'll see him return to the genre in which he already has two very good efforts.
on 9 September 2009
I'm a fan of Argento and have a soft spot for 60s/70s italian movies, but found this to be a bit over-rated so felt I should offer my opinion. First the title has no bearing on the movie whatsoever, and even the alternate title remains unexplained - albeit prior to a couple of kills being made there is a brief glimpse of cat/fox eyes, but why this should be so and what relevance it has to the plot I don't know. Also I found an awful lot of the movie is unnecessary dialogue and set pieces, which serve to lengthen the movie but don't really contribute to the plot. Sadly the hero drives a ford, so no glimpses of exotic italian machinery other than a nice example of period alfa romeo which unfortunately gets trashed in a car park. The plot is finally nicely tied up and the end is satisfying, but there is very little blood or violence throughout the movie and the throat cuts are almost an afetrthought. Overall I wouldn't recommend this - see Tenebrae or Deep Red by Argento for starters.