A Lizard in a Woman's Skin

A Lizard in a Woman's Skin ★★★★

Lucio Fulci's elegant Giallo comes steeped in psycho-matter, signalling the guillotine to snap psychedelia's neck in half and leave a glamourous corpse on the floor.

Florinda Bolkan stars as a woman haunted by surreal dreams, these anxious vignettes that swim through her psyche and show her subconscious desires to make love to her debaucherous neighbour, Julie Doror (Anita Strindberg).
This hedonistic hippy neighbour is soon stabbed to death, with every detail matching Bolkan's dreams verbatim, leading Bolkan to fall into complete paranoia as she'd been recounting her nightly visions to her psychiatrist. Soon enough the police find out and take her into custody and it's up to a whistling detective and Bolkan's lawyer father to wade through the accumulating cerebral angst of this knotty Giallo to figure out who really murdered this woman. A revelation slithers out of the grass and sheds its corrupted skin.

This one is hard not to fall deeply in love with: the beautiful Florinda Balkan in all her stunning outfits acting up a storm, the legitimately riveting mystery unravelling like it's bouncing down a staircase, and all that Ennio Morricone (and Bruno Nicolai directed) nightmare jazz spilling into the dream sequences and chase scenes, rendering me catatonic from those shifting basslines.
What electrifies this Giallo the most though is the sprinkles of demonic rust straight from the Gates of Hell. Showered throughout, we see a gnarly flying swan, eviscerated dogs in a lab, and maniacal bats swarming to attack. All the surreal touches here are just exquisite and imbue what would've been a solid-but-a-tad-dry mystery with legitimate terror and ethereal adrenaline.

Just a few glaring plot holes keep me from giving this a higher rating, otherwise this is an absolute gem that proves Fulci had a gallon of nightmare fuel in his pocket from day one. Recommended.

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