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3.6 out of 5 stars
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3.6 out of 5 stars
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on 14 July 2011
Giallo, a genre noted for it's odd, queasy visuals and abstracted plotting hits a high watermark with Lucio Fulci's (Zombie Flesheaters, The Beyond) early 70s classic A Lizard in A Woman's Skin, which mixes the murder and red herring cliches of the genre with a eye-popping visual style that brings a dose of LSD, high mystery and suspense and a brilliant musical score by Ennio Morricone. In a cult movie style that covers many bases, from near straight Police Procedural Dramas to highly intense horror pictures, Lizard in a Woman's Skin finds it's own unique style.

A Lizard in a Woman's Skin is arguably one of Fulci's strongest films. Tightly plotted and well-paced with a genuinely surprising conclusion, it shows just what Fulci was capable of when he invested sufficient effort in his writing. It's gory, it's thrilling, it's creepy and it's moody. Not only that but it also captures the early 70's psychedelic 'thing' without being cheesy. It's basically a psychological study of a woman who seems deeply troubled but, then again may just be delusional. Until the end, we really have no idea which is the case, but when we find out we're surprised. The plot is genius. Lizard in a Woman's Skin is one of the archetypal bench-posts of Italian horror. Viewing it in this uncut region 2 edition from Optimum is a revelation as well, providing a much brighter and more lush print than the American DVD release.

If you've seen Fulci's straight horror buy this. If you have even a passing interest in cult 70s movie making buy this. One of the directors best and one of the finest in it's genre.
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on 10 May 2010
I had the good fortune to see this version at Frightfest in Glasgow, and although the restoration wasn't quite complete the cut was - and wow was it something! The most complete version available anywhere (more complete than in the previous Shriek Show releases), and all in widescreen! Fantastic. This release includes the Italian and the English audio, and even uses gorgeous original poster artwork on the cover!

An absolute must own for fans of Giallo, fans of Fulci, fans of fantastic film in general!
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Despite a decent cast headed by Florinda Bolkan, Stanley Baker and Leo Genn, A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin is one of the ever inconsistent Lucio Fulci’s misfires, failing to summon up much in the way of atmosphere, eroticism or mystery despite a heady mix of sexualised dreams, insanity, infidelity and murder. Florinda Bolkan is the wealthy wife who is tormented about dreams of lesbian liaisons with her silicone enhanced next door neighbour Anita Strindberg who keeps half the block up with her regular sex and drugs orgies, ultimately dreaming of murdering her – and wouldn’t you know it, she turns up dead in exactly the same way with Bolkan’s fur coat and paper knife conveniently discovered by the body. Despite an open and shut case Baker’s constantly whistling detective is less than convinced because of the lack of a motive while her protective father, Genn’s wealthy and respected lawyer, thinks her husband Jean Sorel has been using her dream journals to set her up.

As a thriller it simply ambles with no urgency and not much interest in throwing in any twists until the last half hour, but it never manages to get much mileage out of the question of whether Bolkan is going mad or not in the meantime. The police investigation is woefully unconvincing: not only does it boast the screen’s least credible police station (it looks like the producers just rented a London apartment and put pictures of policemen on the wall) but Baker has no problem letting the neighbours in to the murder scene to gawp at the corpse. Some of the dialogue is atrocious, made all the worse by having some of the English cast members dubbed as well as the Italian ones. There’s a half decent chase in the last third where Fulci’s direction raises its game but surprisingly little gore for those looking for it, though the restored Blu-ray does include Carlo Rambaldi’s controversial but almost entirely gratuitous effects footage of living vivisected dogs that caused the films so many legal problems when it was mistaken for the real thing. For the most part it just plods along unenthusiastically and rather drearily making less of the elements than it should, making its growing cult reputation really something of a mystery. Fulci certainly made a lot worse, but this is definitely well below the standard of his better efforts like Don’t Torture a Duckling.

Disappointing as the film is, Mondo Macabro's region-free US Blu-ray offers a good transfer of the longest available version (also available on StudioCanal's UK DVD) and plenty of extras - a half hour making of featurette from 2003 with Bolkan, Sorel, Rambaldi and other members of the cast and crew (along with an audio commentary by its director), a half hour archive interview featurette with Fulci, a critical audio commentary and video appreciation of the film, three trailers, two radio spots and an amusing interview with Tony Adams recalling the difference between working with Richard Burton on Villain (who couldn't be nicer) and Baker on Lizard (who couldn't have made his contempt for the newcomer clearer).
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on 13 September 2010
It may be gorehound heresy to say this, but I think I prefer this early, London-set giallo to the later HP Lovecraft-inspired, gut-busting zombie epics Fulci churned out (spewed out?) during the late 70s and early 80s. Florinda Bolkan, a rare giallo lead actress who's as watchable with her clothes on as off, plays the wife of a rich lawyer whose vivid dreams involving her sexually liberated neighbour eerily come true when the neighbour turns up murdered. Brit acting legend Stanley Baker is the detective assigned to the case which, in best giallo tradition, turns out to be fiendishly complicated...
As interested in story and character as sex and violence (you get that too...), the giallo staples, Lizard's story is involved and actually makes perfect sense when all the plot pieces are finally put together. Fulci fanatics will enjoy spotting the links with his later works, from the spaced out, pale faced hippies stumbling around like extras from the Beyond, to the gore for gore's sake (the infamous vivisected dogs aren't even connected to the mystery), and the, shall we say, slightly 'troubling' attiude to women (a brutal, New York Ripper-style killing is shot in gloating close up...). Fulci displays a very conservative attitude to the counter culture, portraying hippies as drugged crazed wasters who kill with little compunction, but he's not above stealing a few tricks from the new wave directors making a splash at the time, utilising all kinds of subjective camera moves that help the viewer understand the troubled mind set of Bolkan's character. And did Mr Fulci actually drop some acid before shooting those amazing psychedelic dream sequences? The best scene recalls an older master, Hitchcock, and delivers the expected stalk and slash thrills while throwing in the best bat attack I've ever seen as a sort of double whammy of horror for the heroine to cope with. The score by the maestro Morricone is excellent, mixing the staccato jazz rythms and deceptively soothing melodies so effectively utilised by Argento for his 'Animals' trilogy.
The transfer is quite superb, among the best I've seen for a film of this type and vintage. A couple of slghtly lower quality, subtitled scenes have been inserted to give us the most complete version possible, though they're so short I hardly noticed the difference. Italian and English language tracks are available, and I recommend the English track. Stanley -- Zulu -- Baker dubbed into Italian? It's just wrong... Completists will bemoan the lack of extras, but the cheap price still makes this an essential buy.
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on 4 June 2010
Giallo, a genre noted for it's odd, queasy visuals and abstracted plotting hits a high watermark with Lucio Fulci's (Zombie Flesheaters, The Beyond) early 70s classic which mixes the murder and red herring cliches of the genre with an eye-popping visual style that brings a dose of LSD and a lot of seamy sexual perversity to the party. In a cult movie style that covers many bases, from near straight Police Procedural dramas to highly eroticised horror pictures, Lizard in a Woman's Skin finds it's own unique niche.

Fulci himself is well regarded as a creator of hard gore splatter pictures, many of which were banned in the UK in the early 80s, thus insuring the directors infamy. This period from the late 70s to the mid 80s is widely regarded as the filmmakers golden period, in which he churned out blood drenched terror flicks prolifically which were in general of high quality and in the case of The Beyond, highly original and almost works of art. But with the release of Lizard the UK finally gets a small glimpse of the rest of his vast catalogue. From slapstick comedy and westerns to historical romances and vampire comedies, not to mention post-apocalyptic thrillers and Swords 'n' Sandals epics, Fulci's turned his hand to everything, but his Giallo excursions represent an earlier golden era in the late 60s and early 70s, when his films were commercial hits in his native italy (and no doubt, in the Grindhouses of 42nd Street New York) but offered the viewer so much more in terms of camerawork, music (Lizard has a brilliant score by Morricone) and brain scrambling oddity.

If you've seen Fulci's straight horror buy this. If you have even a passing interest in cult 70s movie making buy this. One of the directors best and one of the finest in it's genre.
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on 14 March 2016
At time of release this was the longest version of the film available and in a sparkling bright print. However the release was disappointing in that it is completely devoid of any bonus materials to accompany such an important release. If you have a blu-ray player, go out and buy the release by Mondo Macabro which jam packed with extras and looks A M A Z I N G !!
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on 10 February 2011
While the 'dream' sequences are superbly shot by Fulci and the film is very stylish, I just wasn't blown away by it as I felt there was a real lull in the middle third where nothing really happens, the last third is kicked off by a brilliant church chase scene and nearly drags it to 4 stars but not quite.
It's shot in London and sometimes it feels like you're watching an extreme episode of 'The Sweeney' and the audio options are very odd, you can either have Italian language with subtitles but most of the actors a speaking English so the Italian's been dubbed over at a later date or you can watch the English version which is English dubbed over English.
On the whole I prefered Fulci's 'New York Ripper' and 'House By The Cemetery'.
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on 31 October 2013
I only bought this film, so I could add it to my collection of Stanley baker films. he is the reason to sit through this violent and sordid mess.
I know some customer reviews praise this film but I personally can not see what there is to make this production remotely watchable and I can not imagine what Stanley baker was thinking when he agreed to appear in this! he was a fine actor and capable of varying his acting roles but he should have kept "lizard in a woman's skin" at arms length.
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