• Kidnap Syndicate

    Kidnap Syndicate

    ★★★★

    Kidnap Syndicate is a simple but brilliantly well made Poliziotteschi that punches well above its weight. The story, which focuses on the kidnapping of two young boys from families at opposite ends of the economy, provides an obvious metaphor for the dichotomy between the rich and poor in society. Specifically how the latter is treated by the former; all false promises and a ruthless mindset that values money above all else. It's on the nose, but very effective. The story…

  • Counselor at Crime

    Counselor at Crime

    ★★★

    Counselor at Crime is Alberto De Martino's Godfather rip off. The film mostly takes place in San Francisco and focuses on a mob boss who decides to grant his godson's wish to leave the family business, which ultimately triggers a gang war. The story is fast paced and mostly interesting, but there's not much attempt to build any of the characters outside of thin caricature imitations of their Mario Puzo counterparts. The film is not the constant action spectacle that…

  • Seduction

    Seduction

    ★★★½

    I suppose Fernando Di Leo's Seduction could be termed the "Italian Lolita" dealing as it does with a similar concept to Vladimir Nabokov's famous novel. The film gets off to a slow start as we watch Giuseppe rekindle his love with his childhood sweetheart Caterina after returning home. Things start to pick up as a relationship develops between Giuseppe and Grazeilla, Caterina's fifteen year old daughter. She is clearly depicted as a child, which makes the seduction all the more…

  • The Boss

    The Boss

    ★★★★½

    Fernando Di Leo capped his loose Milieu trilogy off in style with this slick Mafia flick. The Boss gets off to what has to be one of the greatest openings in Poliziotteschi history, as ice cold Henry Silva blows away a load of gangsters in a porno theatre. What follows is a jostling for control between the remaining gangs. Naturally, the film can't keep up the pace of the opening scene for the duration - but it's still an absorbing…

  • Hotel Fear

    Hotel Fear

    ★★★★

    Slow burning mystery set in a delapidated Italian hotel during World War 2. It's a hard one to classify, but principally Francesco Barilli's film is the story of a young girl left alone and vulnerable following the death of her mother. Every guest in the hotel is a threat, and they are all after one thing. Like the director's first film, The Perfume of the Lady in Black, this one is often lumped in with the Giallo genre despite sharing…

  • Spellbound

    Spellbound

    ★★★

    Spellbound is, in a way, your typical Hitchcock yarn - wrong man on the run out to prove his innocence - except this time its wrapped up in a psychoanalytic dressing. The rather unlikely plot focuses on Dr. Constance Peterson - a psychologist who has her cold heart melted when Dr. Anthony Edwardes arrives at the hospital where she works. Only Edwardes isn't who he says he is - he's an imposter who may have killed the real Edwardes. Dr…

  • The Italian Connection

    The Italian Connection

    ★★★★½

    Fernando Di Leo's follow up to his masterpiece Milano Calibro 9 and second part of his loose "Milieu trilogy" is this thumping gangland thriller, about a small time pimp who finds himself the subject of an international manhunt after being made the fall guy for a load of missing heroin. The scene is set in the first third, before the real focus of the film comes into view. Mario Adorf's pimp is the beating heart of The Italian Connection and…

  • Blood and Black Lace

    Blood and Black Lace

    ★★★★★

    Mario Bava's trailblazing murder mystery, featuring a series of brutal killings bathed in a glorious array of colour and lighting. The fashion house, a place of stylised beauty and performance, provides the perfect setting for this tale of murder and duplicity. Bava accentuates the lurid details - outside of the graphic beauty destroying murders of fashion models; scandal, drugs and blackmail exist in the background, providing motive for the cast of amoral characters. The murder mystery is superbly well paced…

  • Eyes of Crystal

    Eyes of Crystal

    ★★★½

    Eyes of Crystal is a modern update on the Giallo, while taking obvious influence from psychological thrillers such as Seven. The film sets its stall out immediately - introducing the lead detective then rolling on to a taxidermy scene over the opening credits before capping it off with a triple murder set piece. The film has a real dark tone that is carried throughout. Eros Puglielli's direction is slick and stylish, though the film favours the gruesome over the Argento…

  • Loaded Guns

    Loaded Guns

    ★★½

    Fernando Di Leo tries his hand at comedy....and the results are not so good. The film lands somewhere between a send up of the Poliziotteschi films and a seventies sex comedy, without nailing either. Ursula Andress stars as an air hostess who gets embroiled in some gang warfare in Napoli. It starts off interesting enough but the freewheeling plot soon goes off the rails, to the point where the film itself doesn't seem to know what is going on anymore.…

  • Plot of Fear

    Plot of Fear

    ★★★★

    Plot of Fear is certainly an audacious late entry in the Giallo cycle, and "plot" is the operative word! This one is so convoluted it will make your head spin - a tale involving a sex crazed import/export group, murder, tigers, prostitutes, sleazy cartoons.....and there's even time for a diamond smuggling ring. While it's difficult to follow at times, the film is so jam packed with details that there's never really time for it to get boring. We begin with…

  • Footprints

    Footprints

    ★★★½

    Less of a Giallo and more of a slow burning mystery, Footprints on the Moon draws its intrigue from the idea of amnesia and tells the story of a translator (a very good Florinda Bolkan) who has nightmares about Klaus Kinski conducting experiments on the moon. Eventually she is lead to an island named Garma, where apparently she has been before. The central concept of the film sees our lead character trying to work out who she is, what she…