A maniac is killing married women who have been unfaithful, leaving pictures of their sordid affairs at the scene of the crime. Slut-flesh meeting cold steel ensues.
Roberto Bianchi Montero’s much overlooked little giallo owes a lot to Mario Bava’s (Black Sunday, The Whip and the Body
) highly influential Blood and Black Lace,
but what giallo film doesn’t? Montero ups the ante in the form of sex and sleaze. The film opens with the police milling around the crime scene of a butchered fully naked woman littered with pictures of her and her apparent lover with his face scratched out. This sets the stage beautifully for this sleazy opus as very little is left to the imagination as the killer strikes again and again, stabbing the whoring wives of the city’s elite.
The story seems simple enough, but there are many layers in the form of multiple red herrings as well as much food for thought regarding the nature of human relationships, hedonism, and misogyny. Indeed, this is one film that really goes all out when pointing its black-gloved finger at female sexuality. Virtually every woman in the film is whoring around and all the male characters that are slipping the ladies the tubesteak go completely without consequence. The motivation of the killer to obliterate the faces of the men in the compromising photographs is kept a a mystery throughout the film, making it appear that Montero is trying to say that only the women are at fault, being all lascivious tramps. One often gets the impression that the husbands in the film are more concerned with losing face that their wives were cheating on them rather than being distraught over their murders. The film’s twist ending really hammers this point home quite commendably.
Farley Granger (Amuck
, Strangers on a Train
) stars as the troubled Inspector Capuana, who has the daunting task of piecing together the clues leading to the capture of the elusive killer. Joining him are a bevy of European beauties that are just begging to get knife-fucked including: Sylva Koscina (Lisa and the Devil, The Crimes of the Black Cat
), Annabella Incontrera (The Case of the Bloody Iris, Black Belly of the Tarantula
), Femi Benussi (Strip Nude For Your Killer, Hatchet For the Honeymoon
), and Krista Nell (Feast of Satan, The Bloodsucker Leads the Dance
) to name a few. Angela Covello (Torso, Baba Yaga
) is also adorable as the daughter of one of the potential victims.
Bava’s influence knows no bounds in So Sweet, So Dead
the most obvious being the killer as an almost identical countenance to the perpetrator in Blood and Black Lace
. The film boasts some really beautifully filmed locations including an excellently pieced together murder on a beach and another in a private courtyard enveloped in greenery right next to a pool of swans. Such beautiful settings are the perfect contrast to the brutality, quite nicely adding an air of dread to the film.
To up the sleaze factor even further, So Sweet, So Dead was released in the U.S. under the title “Penetration” with hardcore porn footage inserted featuring Harry Reems (Forced Entry, Deep Throat) and Tina Russell (Deep Throat Part II, Is There Sex After Death?). In an overtly bold move, Penetration was advertised as a porno starring Farley Granger until he threatened to sue the distributors for the unauthorized use of his name. The film was subsequently pulled from U.S. distribution but remained available in Europe.
The murders themselves are nice and smutty as the killer takes much delight in showing these whores the error of their ways, so expect plenty of tits and blood in So Sweet, So Dead. Giallo aficionados will also dig on the score by Giorgio Gaslini who also had a hand in scoring scored Dario Argento’s classic Profondo Rosso.
For a lesser known but notably sordid earlier entry in the giallo subgenre, So Sweet, So Dead comes highly recommended to genre and sleaze fans alike. Those not bitten by the giallo bug yet will find plenty to sate their appetites here and will doubtless come back for more.
Official COSDS Nunspank Rating:
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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.