Follia Omicida (Murder Obsession) (Riccardo Freda, 1981)

posted in: Duane, Review | 0
murder obsession poster1
Michael, a successful actor, travels back to his childhood home for a weekend with his girlfriend and a smattering of people from the movie he is working on. When people start dying, Michael is suspect due to his past of having stabbed his father to death (c’mon, give the guy a break!), and the fact that he tends to zone out in these weird psychotic trances. Could Michael be behind the attacks, or is something more sinister afoot?

I expected a fair bit more from Riccardo Freda, who was purportedly a mentor to the legendary Mario Bava. This being his last completed film (according to IMDB he was actually fired from his last film – Revenge of the Musketeers) might be tantamount to his getting on in years as a director but he was responsible for some pretty decent stuff (The Iguana with the Tongue of Fire and I Vampiri most notably) during a career that spanned four decades.

This isn’t a bad film by any stretch of the imagination but it is pretty flawed. It starts out with a bang with a very sleazy and violent attack on a woman, the assailant tearing her clothes off as he seemingly mounts her and chokes the life out of her. Alas this is nowhere near indicative of the film we are about to watch. As our prerequisite group of victims gathers at Michael’s mother’s creepy mansion the film has a very strange tone to it – not exactly creepy, just unsettling. Included in said group is exploitation veteran Laura Gemser (Emanuelle in America, The Alcove, and an assload of other stuff) although it is odd to see her in a film that doesn’t completely revolve around her – she’s mere cannon fodder in this.
Choking sluts: a giallo staple.
So anyway, Michael’s mother is a sickly shut-in who lives with her Igor-esque man-servant Oliver (played by a very stoic John Richardson (Black Sunday, Torso)) and is quite obviously a nutjob. Soon the guests start getting bumped off one by one in fairly predictable fashion. Some of the murders are fairly inventive – albeit not original – and the effects range from awesome to “wtf I can’t figure out if it’s supposed to have really happened or not because it looked so fake”. This coupled with the guests having these bizarre dreams involving black masses, one of the worst fake spiders this side of Nude For Satan, and scenes of bondage all while “Ode to Joy” is fumbled through on a piano  makes the film drag a bit and ups the confusion factor a lot.

Follia Omicida
is also plenty sleazy… this is an Italian production after all. All but one of the ladies in the film goes topless at some point (Gemser of course goes full monty… I swear I’ve seen that woman more often naked than not). So we have naked Eurosluts, gore (including a really nice chainsaw to the throat), an odd incestuous overtone between Michael and his mother, and a Giallo style plot (complete with the requisite black gloved assailant) that one can pretty much figure out right from the start before they start throwing in all these other bits and pieces in order to make it a “twist” that ends up being a nonsensical mess and feels tacked on as an afterthought.
Problems aside, Follia Omicida is still a solid film that will entertain fans of the genre(s), even though you’ll most likely be thinking “WTF?” at the end.  

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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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