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Spasmo (1974)

DVD Cover (Shriek Show)
Genres:
Giallo, Thriller
Director:
Umberto Lenzi Umberto Lenzi
Starring:
Robert Hoffmann Robert Hoffmann
Suzy Kendall Suzy Kendall
Ivan Rassimov Ivan Rassimov
Adolfo Lastretti Adolfo Lastretti
Monica Monet Monica Monet

6.2 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by Christopher
Added: February 04, 2005
Christian and his friend Xenia are walking along the beach when they spot a dead body near the water. When Christian checks if she's really dead, she wakes up and explains that she must have passed out from the heat. While the two of them go to bring Barbara something to drink, shes quickly takes off in her car. The two cross paths with Barbara again later in the day when they come aboard a boat that is holding a party. The owner of the boat, Alex, takes Xenia away while Christian and Barbara can have a talk. They end up back at her motel where she makes him shave his beard off if he plans to get lucky. A man, who is later known as Tatum, breaks into the bathroom and tries to kill Christian. Christian takes control of the fight and ends up killing Tatum.

When Christian explains what just happened, Barbara stops him from calling the police and his brother, then suggests that they leave the motel. Right as they are walking out the door, they are met by Alex. He forces the two to come back to his boat where he tries to convince Barbara to leave the country with him. Christian remembers something that he left in the bathroom at the motel. When he goes to retrieve his item, he finds Tatum missing with a small trace of blood on the floor. On his way back to the boat, he stops at a store to call his older brother, Fritz. After having no luck to get through to him, he returns to his car to find Barbara awaiting him. She ran away from Alex and hitchhiked back to the motel. But when she noticed his car parked at the store, she had the driver let her off there.

Barbara takes him to a place where they can get some rest in safety. It's one of her old friends houses, she's a painter and is away for the time being. They end up having to break into the womans house and eventually get confronted by two of the people that are renting it while the painter is away. Clorinda, a decently young female. And Malcom, an old man that likes to be around the sort of atomsphere that the painter created in her home. The two set up each of them in separate rooms for the night. In the morning, Christian is told by Malcom that Barbara had left into town by herself. When Christian goes to look for her, he hears odd noises coming from his trunk. He pulls over to find Tatum stuffed in the trunk.

While Christian tries to clear his head outside of the vehicle, Tatum hops out of the trunk and puts a gun to his head. This time the gun wasn't filled with blanks. Tatum makes him drive to the top of a cliff and tries to force him to drive off of it. While Tatum is getting out of the car, Christian throws it in reverse and knocks Tatum to the ground. He then runs over his entire body. After killing him, Christian throws him in the car, switches clothes, drenches the car in gasoline, the sends the car off the edge. A car pulls around at the bottom of the cliff that has Barbara with a man that was spying on them in the painters house when they first arrived. The two were there to make sure Christian was dead. With the car in flames, they needed no other proof and took off. Christian follows them to discover an unbelievable plan that has been plotted against him.

By the end of the film, it's found out that Christian has a case of schizophrenia which leads him to kill several people. Fritz hired all of Christian's acquaintances to try and drive him insane to make him check his self into a mental institution. Fritz's plan does work in some aspects, but fails in the end. Through out all of the film, there's plastic mannequins in almost every scene that takes place in the woods. Being hung from a noose, or having a knife stuck in them. It doesn't tell much (until the end) except that they are all coming from Fritz due to him being a dressmaker.

Originally, the film had no blood or nudity. After the film was finished, another director came in and added a few scenes of blood and one breast for a rape scene. The reason for those things not being in the film at first was because Lenzi wanted to take the Giallo genre in a different direction. Everyone expected blood and nudity, so he geared away from it. But kept the little violence. He also wanted to keep it out of the dark, so he shot most of it in the day time. Even when it was shot in the shot, there was an extreme amount of light. Even though I disagree with the little violence and basically no blood, the lighting thought was good and worked out well.

Instead of having the killer, dressed in black and wearing a mask, the killer was unknowledgeable that he was even doing anything due to his condition. Which brings me to the actual story. It's focused completely on Christian and his condition, instead of his murders. Everything Lenzi had in mind seemed to be well thought out, but his creativeness lacked an incredible lot in almost every department. The mannequins being set up in the woods as if they were real people was very clever, but everything else just seemed bland and didn't really give you an edge to think about what's really going on until the last twenty minutes of the film. Lucio Fulci was actually handed this script first, but declined it due to another project he was working on. It would have been amazing to what Fulci could have done with this story.

Final Conclusion: 6/10
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