Newest Reviews
Mountain Men, The
Best Before Death
John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum
Non-Stop New York
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood
Alita: Battle Angel
We the Animals
Ibiza Undead
Wings of Eagles, The
Body Parts
Shock of the Future, The
High Life
High Noon
Comes a Horseman
Scandal in Paris, A
Fight, The
Pink Jungle, The
Double Date
Mind of Mr. Soames, The
Long Shot
Sherlock Holmes
Amazing Grace
Monitors, The
Memory: The Origins of Alien
Mesa of Lost Women
Banana Splits Movie, The
In Fabric
Sisters Brothers, The
Flamingo Kid, The
Queen, The
Avengers: Endgame
Vanishing Act
Newest Articles
Stallone's 80s Action Alpha and Omega: Nighthawks and Lock Up
Python Prehistory: At Last the 1948 Show and Do Not Adjust Your Set on DVD
You Could Grow to Love This Place: Local Hero on Blu-ray
Anglo-American: Joseph Losey Blu-ray Double Bill - The Criminal and The Go-Between
Marvel's Least Loved and Most Loved: Fantastic 4 vs Avengers: Endgame
Battle of the Skeksis: The Dark Crystal Now and Then
American Madness: Sam Fuller's Shock Corridor and The Naked Kiss on Blu-ray
Flight of the Navigator and the 80s Futurekids
Trains and Training: The British Transport Films Collection Volume 13 on DVD
Holiday from Hell: In Bruges on Blu-ray
The Comedy Stylings of Kurt Russell: Used Cars and Captain Ron
Robot Rocked: The Avengers Cybernauts Trilogy on Blu-ray
Hammer's Bloodthirsty Bad Girls 1970: Lust for a Vampire and Countess Dracula
Hammer to Fall: Kiss Me Deadly on Blu-ray
Home of the Grave: The House That Dripped Blood and Asylum on Blu-ray
  So Sweet... So Perverse Naughty NeighboursBuy this film here.
Year: 1968
Director: Umberto Lenzi
Stars: Carroll Baker, Jean-Louis Trintignant, Erika Blanc, Horst Frank, Helga Liné, Ermelinda De Felice, Giovanni Di Benedetto, Irio Fantini, Dario Michaelis, Renato Pinciroli, Beryl Cunningham
Genre: Horror, Sex, Thriller
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Wealthy socialite Jean Reynaud (Jean-Louis Trintignant) leads a jet-setting lifestyle. Stuck in a dull marriage to his beautiful but frigid wife Danielle (Erika Blanc), he alleviates his boredom by sleeping with friends like the sexy but married Helene (Helga Liné). One day Jean hears a woman being assaulted in the apartment above where he encounters Nicole (Carroll Baker). Intrigued by the beautiful American woman, Jean discovers she is trapped in a sadomasochistic relationship with a brute named Klaus (Horst Frank). Inevitably Jean and Nicole have an affair whereupon he tries to help her escape her abusive boyfriend so they can start a new life together. But then various secrets come to light and the couple find themselves being stalked.

Mario Bava pioneered the Italian horror-thriller sub-genre known as the giallo. Dario Argento remains its quintessential auteur. Yet for a while in the mid-to-late Sixties the director who arguably set the standard was Umberto Lenzi with his string of glossy, kinky vehicles for glamorous Hollywood ex-pat Carroll Baker. Paranoia, duplicity and labyrinthine murder conspiracies were the ingredients in films like, er, Paranoia (1968) (originally titled: Orgasmo!), A Quiet Place to Kill (1970) (originally titled: Paranoia!), Knife of Ice (1972) and So Sweet... So Perverse (Cosi Dolce... Cosi Perversa is the cooler-sounding Italian title). Their stories typically involve plotters scheming to drive Baker insane with sundry sexual shenanigans sandwiched in-between. Later directors like Lucio Fulci with Perversion Story (1969) a.k.a. One on Top of the Other and A Lizard in a Woman's Skin (1971) and particularly Sergio Martino with his run of thriller vehicles for Edwige Fenech took this formula and ran with it. The Martino connection is no surprise given So Sweet... So Perverse is based on a story by his brother Luciano Martino, who also produced, and scripted by the prolific Ernesto Gastaldi who penned many of the Fenech gialli.

With its seriously glossy cinematography, lush production values and chic fashions modelled by the impeccably stylish cast, So Sweet... So Perverse stands as a sharp reminder of how polished an Umberto Lenzi production could be before his career devolved into squalid trash like Cannibal Ferox (1981). Here he indulges in coloured gels and other psychedelic flourishes to tart up another derivative if nonetheless sinfully entertaining variation on Les Diaboliques (1955). As often with Gastaldi the mind-bending puzzle box of a plot does not stand up to cold hard logic but packs plenty of compelling surprises that still manage to thrill and indeed titillate. On the latter front the film presents Carroll Baker looking lovelier than ever as do her co-stars. Lenzi unsubtly introduces Erika Blanc's Danielle admiring her own breasts in the bedroom mirror and don't get me started on the sublime Helga Liné.

Images of jet-setting hedonism and sun-drenched Mediterranean hang-outs add another seductive layer to the film, shrewdly undercut by Gastaldi's arch anti-bourgeois observations. Even so certain aspects do stray into camp such as the scene at a swinger's party where a 'with it' black stripper (Beryl Cunningham) goads the staid socialites into shaking loose. The film cleverly shows characters done in by their own self-serving philosophies ("A man who knows what he wants is better of without a conscience", believes Jean while Nicole expounds: "You've got to grab ahold of life because it won't last") though Gastaldi's clear lack of empathy for his thrill-seeking protagonists often renders his social satire strictly one-sided. Both Baker and especially Trintignant tread a fine line between embodying their jaded characters or simply coasting along. The best performance comes from the underrated Blanc as the repressed socialite who goes from neglected to manipulated then ultimately cracks under the weight of remorse. The skill in the construction of So Sweet... So Perverse evident from the way the film begins by focusing on one trapped protagonist and ends with another. Music by Riz Ortolani including a memorable lounge ballad called 'Why?' that later resurfaced in Lenzi's Seven Bloodstained Orchids (1972).

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam


This review has been viewed 960 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film


Umberto Lenzi  (1931 - 2017)

Prolific, workmanlike Italian director and writer who dabbled in most genres throughout his 40 year career. Started work as a film critic before making his directing debut in 1961 with the sea-faring adventure flick Queen of the Seas. The two decades years saw Lenzi churn out westerns, historical dramas, Bond-esquespy yarns and giallo thrillers among others.

It was his 1972 proto-cannibal film Deep River Savages that led to the best known phase of his career, with notorious gore-epics Cannibal Ferox and Eaten Alive and zombie shlocker Nightmare City quickly becoming favourites amongst fans of spaghetti splatter. Continued to plug away in the horror genre before retiring in 1996.

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart

Recent Visitors
Andrew Pragasam
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
  Derrick Smith


Last Updated: