Thursday, 19 September 2013



What on Earth was that all about, indeed? Wallowing merrily about in the backwaters of giallo cinema is generally a pleasure but sadly some of the movies that turn up are not of the first rank. They may have the sleaze, perversion, gore and dramatically inappopriate music, but they just don't work in the way that the best of them do. That's true of all genres, of course: you can't get a coconut every time, but with gialli it's still nice to watch them try. This is a prime example: cool title, twisty plot, a view of women that's barely out of the cave and plenty of aberrant sexual horribleness, and it's a full twelve seconds before the first severed head, but as a film it's all over the shop and in some places is horribly misjudged, throwing in incest, rape and paedophilia which sit uncomfortably with the strange, presumably blackly comedic scenes.

In The Folds Of The Flesh (a quotation from Freud) kicks off thirteen years ago, when a young girl apparently decapitated her dad after he'd raped her, and an escaped convict saw her mother burying the body. Now, a free man, he returns to the house to blackmail them. But the body isn't there. Who was actually killed that night, by whom, and why? And then her father turns up....or does he? Matters are complicated by the family habit of bumping off everyone who turns up at the house and disposing of them in an acid bath in the garage. It's only in the last reel that the father, the daughter, the decapitated bloke at the start and the girl in the mental hospital are all revealed as other people entirely, leaving you a little baffled as to exactly who is who, and if a murder did actually take place thirteen years ago, why couldn't they find the corpse when they dug up the whole garden?

The black-and-white flashbacks to the Nazi death chambers feel hugely out of place in a sleazy exploitation romp, and they're narratively unnecessary to boot; the plot is twaddle and none of the characters are ever sane enough to get a handle on. Yet I still like the look and feel of the movie, and I like a measure of weirdness, though this one has too much weirdness for me. Not entirely uninteresting, and worth a look, but it doesn't work. Sadly this is yet another trashy Italian horror that's out of British distribution: there was a VHS release from Redemption but apparently no DVD issue.


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