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Malastrana (1971)
Aldo Lado

Aldo Lado
Ruediger von Spiess

Starring – Ingrid Thulin, Jean Sorel, Mario Adorf, Barbara Bach, Fabijan Sovagovic, Jose Quaglio, Relija Basic, Piero Vida, Daniele Dublino, Sven Lasta, Luciano Catenacci, Michaela Martin, Vjenceslav Kapural, Jurgem Drews

Review by The_Void

Good premise, not very well executed,
This Giallo benefits from an absolutely delicious, and really rather terrifying plot. Gregory Moore has just woken up in a morgue. To the world, he is dead. But inside he is still alive. His mind is working but he cannot move; he’s trapped inside his own corpse. We follow him as he tries to remember the events that lead up him being stuck in this situation. This Giallo is very different from most other Giallo’s as it doesn’t feature a black gloved killer, there isn’t a lot of sex and it isn’t as heavy on the style as we’ve come to expect from the sub-genre. This allows it to concentrate on the mystery side more, and present a very eerie atmosphere when we see our hero speaking from ‘beyond the grave’, but then on the other hand; it doesn’t make for very exciting entertainment. The plot also drags, and the middle of the movie slows down to walking pace on a number of occasions. The way it switches between the morgue and the mystery is good, but there’s not enough of the creepiness from the morgue. The mystery isn’t very intriguing either, and because the characters lack any real development, it’s hard to care.

This was Aldo Lado’s directorial debut, and I think that this plot was too good for him to handle. Lado went on to make ‘Who Saw Her Die?’ which was a far more assured piece of work. I hate remakes as much as the next movie fan, but I think this is one that should be considered. If this premise was to get a better director on board, say maybe Dario Argento or even Michele Soavi; it could become a classic of the genre, but it’s safe to say that Lado squandered it. Don’t get me wrong though, this film isn’t a complete waste of time; it’s beautifully shot, and delights in taking the lust Italian landscape, which is very aesthetically pleasing. As mentioned, it’s also very eerie and these things save it. It does suffer from the common problems that Giallo faces, such as bad dubbing, very suspect acting and illogical sequences; but those are staples of the genre so it’s hard to fault the film for it. The film definitely ends on a high, but again it’s ruined by the fact that we don’t care for the characters. If they had some emotional support behind them, the ending would have been executed much better and may even have been rather frightening; but it doesn’t, so it isn’t.

This film is recommended to Giallo fans, but everyone else can stay clear. There are a number of films in the genre that are good enough to be recommended to everyone, regardless of whether or not they’re a fan, such as Fulci’s Don’t Torture a Duckling, most of Argento’s oeuvre, Seven Blood Stained Orchids, Blood and Black Lace and The House With the Laughing Windows, but this one is for fans only.

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A tour through the great and not so great films of the seventies The seventies saw a huge change in styles and genres from the advent of the slasher horror movies like Halloween and the blockbuster summers films started by Jaws. More...

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