Four Flies On Grey Velvet (1971)

DVD Cover (Mya Communication)
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Overall Rating 66%
Overall Rating
Ranked #4,032
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Review by Nirrad
Added: January 26, 2010
I'll admit that I'm not a big fan of Italian Cinema. For the longest time I thought it was a complete joke because every movie I watched were nothing but cheap knockoffs of American films. I don't know, maybe I just don't get it. Then one day I read a list of "The Top 10 Scariest Scenes", and a movie called "Suspiria" was on that list. It looked extremely interesting but I had to wait years just to get a chance to watch it, and guess what? I hated it. I was extremely let down and I could not get over by how cheesy it was. I decided to give the film a second chance and I'm glad I did because I finally understood what all the praise was about. Since that day I started to collect more and more Argento movies whether they were good or bad, and also decide to check out a few more Italian horror movies. I liked some and didn't like others, but that's not the point. The point is that I just watched the final installment to Argento's Animal Trilogy, "Four Flies On Grey Velvet."

Roberto Tobias (Micheal Brandon) lives his life as a drummer for a successful band in Italy. During his rehearsals and his errands he is always stalked by a mysterious man in a black overcoat. One day he decides to chase the man down into a local theater. As he approaches, the man in the coat pulls out a knife to defend himself. Roberto tries to take the knife away but accidentally stabs the man killing him. As this is happening there is a person in the rafters with a mask taking pictures of the incident. Over the next few days Roberto receives random phone calls, break ins, and mail with the pictures of him committing the murder. As things start to get worse and worse his wife Nina (Mimsy Farmer) decides to leave town for her own safety leaving Roberto home alone. He decides to ask for help from his friend Godrey (Bud Spencer) to try and figure out who is stalking and toying with him. Along the way people close to Roberto start to get killed as they know the secret, and it is up to Roberto and his (remaining) friends to figure out who the killer is.

This movie was pretty hard to come by as it was unreleased for the longest time. Apparently Paramount owns the rights to the movie in North America and had absolutely no plans to release a DVD. It was just a year ago when a company called Mya Communication bought the rights to the movie and made their own DVD. Apparently the movie was in really bad condition, but they did a great job on the DVD. But as for the movie, I would have to say that I was pretty let down by this one. I waited a while to see this, and I read a lot of good things about it so I expected a lot, especially after Argento's last 2 masterpieces "Cat O' Nice Tails" and "The Bird With The Crystal Plumage." In a nutshell, the movie was OK, but there are some things that almost ruin the movie. My biggest complaint is the killer, especially the motives behind the kills. I have never been so under whelmed by a killer's identity in my life. When it was revealed I thought to myself that they better have a good explanation, and it didn't at all. I just simply couldn't buy it. Sorry Dario. The kills themselves were OK at best. The animal trilogy doesn't really have any gore, and that's perfectly fine if the kill is pulled off well. Unfortunately a lot of the kills here were laughably bad. One scene in particular is similar to the staircase death in "Psycho", but I couldn't help but laugh when Argento put his spin on the shot.

The acting itself wasn't really that great either, but with these movies I usually don't expect that much. Sometimes it's a great job, and sometimes it isn't but it usually doesn't matter to me, unless it's just god awful (Phantom Of The Opera). There are a lot of things I liked about the movie though. I liked the random bits of comedy Dario decided to toss in every now and then. It was just enough that it didn't become goofy, and I actually think I added to the movie. There is also a stalk sequence about half way in that was, for the most part, pulled of pretty well. It had some really great shots and was genuinely scary. Although the build up to it didn't really make sense, but that might be due to poor editing. Finally, the final scene is just brilliant, it was a great way to end to movie and I just loved it.

So in the end "Four Flies" wasn't as good as I hoped it would be. If they had a different killer with a different motive I would easily give this movie a 9 or so. But the killer's true identity is just so lame that I just can't do that. So in the end I would have to give this movie 7/10.
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