Amuck (aka Alla Ricerca Del Piacere) (Silvio Amadio, 1972)

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A woman takes a live-in job as replacement for a writer’s secretary on an island near Venice, her predecessor having vanished without a trace. Unbeknownst to her eccentric employer and his slutty wife, their new hireling was a very good acquaintance of the missing girl and is unable to mind her own business. Will she uncover the mystery behind her friend’s disappearance and possible murder? How many times will they drug and molest her before she smartens up?
COSDS-Amuck00003Both heralded as one of the greatest Giallo films available and lauded as a pointless sex film with a lame thriller element as an afterthought, I wasn’t sure what to think of Silvio Amadio’s (Smile Before Death) Amuck going in. It turns out it’s neither of those things, but meets somewhere in the middle.
When Greta (the very lovely Barbara Bouchet [Don’t Torture a Duckling, The Red Queen Kills Seven Times]) arrives at her new vocation everything seems business as usual until she discovers that the couple aren’t quite what they seem. After drugging & having their way with her on a couple of occasions including a creepy impromptu sex party, this is clearly more than she bargained for. When Richard (Farley Granger [So Sweet, So Dead; Something is Crawling in the Dark]) begins to reveal vague details about the disappearance of the missing girl (and incidentally Greta’s former friend/lover) under the guise of a new work of fiction, Greta becomes concerned and starts poking about – much to the chagrin of him and his wife Eleanora (the equally lovely Rosalba Neri [Slaughter Hotel, Lady Frankenstein]). Soon she is embroiled in a mystery that involves a retarded giant, debauchery, lesbian sex, rape and murder.
Sounds awesome, right? It has its moments, but the film takes way too long to get anywhere and the fact that the story isn’t all that intriguing nor is it even close to approaching a Giallo in terms of scope, character development or even visual stimulation, Amuck tends to run anything but. At times we are treated to the two captivating ladies in question getting it on, the sex party with the giant retard gone horribly wrong is quite entertaining and there are plenty of interesting locations and things to look at. None of this however makes up for the dull meanderings of Greta, the pointless dialogue as the plot inches along, or the film’s lack of potency.  
COSDS-Amuck00013Also worthy of a mention is the soundtrack which is excellent and ranks right up there with the likes of Vampyros Lesbos; “Piacere Sequence” by Teo Usuelli (that is looped repeatedly through a couple key scenes) will be instantly recognizable to many genre fans, having appeared in The Big Lebowski as well as the brilliant Beat at Cinecitta soundtrack compilations.
To date there hasn’t been a decent DVD release as yet, all releases have been poorly cropped to 1.33:1; the film’s native aspect ratio being 2.35:1 makes this fairly problematic, as many scenes have actors cut in half or completely off screen. As mediocre a film as this is, it is sorely lacking the proper treatment even just for sake of posterity coupled with the film’s somewhat legendary status.
Amuck will certainly sate one’s appetite for sleaze, but those seeking an intelligent thriller or a clever Giallo would best spend their time elsewhere.
Official COSDS Nunspank rating:
A prime example on how you can totally fuck up a film by cropping it to full screen.

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Duane co-founded The Church of Splatter-Day Saints in 2005. When not immersed in film he's enjoying good whiskey, smoking meat in the backyard or thinking about sluts. He makes a damn fine habanero fire sauce.

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