Saturday, June 17, 2006

Frisky in Frisco.

You reckon they could get Brad Pitt for the Charra-wood remake?

I’m repeating myself here, but I need to, to make this point. When it comes to the giallo, popular thinking immediately places Argento-Bava at the top of the pile, in much the same way the punk-think pleb puts the Velvet Underground or Stooges at the top of the musical pile. And sure these are MASSIVE cannons to fill, but like any well developed innerlectyool mind with a capacity beyond that of an inner-city-sharehouse-groopthink tank, there are just as valid, inspiring and FUN works to found outside the gucheral box. In the case of the giallo

The big problem with Fulci’s work is that too much of it is championed for its barf-bag extremist nature such as films ZOMBI2, CITY OF THE LIVING DEAD, THE BEYOND and NEW YORK RIPPER. As a result he has quite a big following amongst genetic-defective grunge-core self-flagellators and people who like watching ‘extreme shit cinema’. Still, Fulci’s cinematic career as a whole, rounds out as one of the most interesting in the Euro-cult world. It was tragedy in his personal life that would effect his work from the 70s on, but it would help create one of the most interesting and mind-bending career paths of any auteur in the modern-cinemah era this side of Roman Polanski. And that’s the big kicker, the fact that Fulci still hasn’t been given the ‘high brow’ kudos as a major European ‘auteur’.

But as in all GREAT ART time is the penultimate judge, and the clock and cultural payback has been very kind to the unsung ‘maestro’. Which leads me to my next ‘non Bava-Argento’ giallo you need to see…

NUMERO QUATRO : ONE ON TOP OF THE OTHER (Una sull'altra, 1969)

Made at the arse-end of the swinging 60s, ‘One on top of the other’ doesn’t play like a ‘by the rules’ giallo. Sure there are black gloves and babes in there, but not much splatter and slashing for all you sick cnuts. In fact it plays more like a rip-off-type noir ala DOUBLE INDEMNITY, albeit with a trippy and swinging 60s edge. Popular Euro leading man Jean Sorrel plays George Demurrier (said De-moori-yay), a rich, but dodgy doctor based in a very frisky-Frisco, who has a nagging asthmatic wife and is having an affair on the side with a sexy photographer called Martha. So one night after a hot shtoop, wife happens to wind up dead, but to complicate matters she has left him a massive insurance payout. So all fingers are pointed in one direction…Then while trying to relax in an insanely fantastic strip joint, he becomes entranced by the mysterious stripper Monica Weston, played by the insanely hot Marisa Mell

(yep DANGER:DIABOLIKS’ partner in crime and quality time!), who just looks a little bit like his ex-wife..

Notice the black glove?

Can George prove his innocence? And who exactly ARE all these hot ladies screwing him and his mind? While it may not be a flat out giallo, Fulci’s ONE ON TOP OF THE OTHER must rate as one of the seminal (literally, figuratively, and maybe physically for some!) ‘Erotic thrillers’ of the mod-era. Tapping into the late swinging-60s vibe, replete with a very burlesque Jazz-score, lotsa sexy-psych visuals and oodles and oodles of - as Joe Bob Briggs would say – garbonzas, ONE OPN TOP OF THE OTHER is top-shelf, classy cult-trash. But it’s Fulci’s clever twisty plot, his usage oh-so-fine visuals including the odd-jump cut, split-screens and some subtle rear-projections, that make this film more than the some of its parts. And despite some of the narky plot holes and clunky expositions, there is no doubt that Fulci was a fine narrative craftsman, especially in the last twenty minutes, where film gets kinda dark, without someone having to vomit up their entrails or get their eyeballs gouged out, or something similarly disgusting. Many Fulci experts rate the giallo he made after this one LIZARD IN A WOMAN’S SKIN – as his best, but I disagree. ONE ON TOP moves better and has a more ridiculous, but no less SATISFYING conclusion, and prolly works better than LIZARD as a whole. In many ways, the film can be seen as a precursor to that very popular American giallo of the 90s’ (also set in San Fran) BASIC INSTINCT, but really, would you rate Sharon Stone anywhere near Marissa Mell?

Soon to be used as an album cover by some shitty nu-punque act.

If you wanna see this film and can’t wait for the Anchor Bay Special Edition that was meant to appear late last year/early this year, you can buy a bootleg from Luminous Film Werks on the Internerd. It’s basically a video copy ported onto a DVD-R. But this film DESERVES the red-carpet treatment pretty soon…

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