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  So Sweet, So Dead Psychos before hoes
Year: 1972
Director: Roberto Bianchi Montero
Stars: Farley Granger, Sylva Koscina, Silvano Tranquilli, Annabella Incontrera, Chris Avram, Femi Benussi, Krista Nell, Angela Covello, Fabrizio Moresco, Andrea Scotti, Irene Pollmer, Luciano Rossi, Ivano Staccioli, Nino Foti, Jessica Dublin
Genre: Horror, Sex, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  4 (from 1 vote)
Review: World-weary policeman Inspector Capuana (Farley Granger) studies the naked and bloody corpse of a beautiful young woman. Further research reveals the victim was cheating on her husband, a wealthy and important man. Naturally neither Capuana nor forensics expert Professor Casali (Chris Avram) suspect the cuckolded spouse is the killer. That would be ridiculous. However, as more glamorous women fall victim to the regulation giallo-attired maniac in the mask and black leather trenchcoat, it becomes clear the killer is out to punish unfaithful wives. Naturally he visits no harm whatsoever on their lovers because killing adulterous men would be ridiculous. Confiding in his own loving, kindhearted spouse (Sylva Koscina), Inspector Capuana's suspicions fall on a creepy mortician but the killings continue. And none of the husbands around town seem all that bothered. Probably because they are all sleeping around too but no-one's picking them off.

Giallo fans can learn to grudgingly tolerate a certain level of misogyny in Italian horror-thrillers but few films seethe with as much contempt for the fair sex as Rivelazioni di un maniaco sessuale al capo della squadra mobile. Released in English as So Sweet, So Dead or under the hilariously lurid alternate title The Slasher is a Sex Maniac the film runs with the shamelessly blunt message that wanton women deserve to die in violent agony. Led by imported Hollywood star Farley Granger, who went from working with Alfred Hitchcock and Luchino Visconti to junk like this, a stellar cast of giallo regulars and Euro lovelies camp it up, disrobe then die in the most perfunctory manner possible. Gorgeous schlock starlets Femi Benussi, Susan Scott, Annabella Incontrera (for once not playing a slinky lesbian) and Krista Nell bare all for some steamy sex scenes before being are brutally chastized for the dubious pleasure of the target audience. Prolific hack Roberto Bianchi Montero brings next to no style to proceedings. He presents the murders in prosaic, suspense-free fashion save the odd poetic use of slow-motion.

Nevertheless the film treads an uncomfortably fine line between high camp and sheer nastiness. Judging from the flagrantly misogynistic tone Montero, who co-wrote the script, was working out some issues. There is not a single faithful wife in the entire film. All the husbands are abusive assholes or else smugly upfront about their own indiscretions which leaves the women's infidelity understandable if far from admirable. Yet the film shares a gloating self-righteous tone in common with the killer who, as the Inspector observes, refrains from harming the greasy lotharios out there seducing married women. He reserves his anger exclusively for the adulterous women whom the film draws as shallow, neurotic and sex-starved whores. Eventually in a risible, if undeniably clever twist, Montero drives his point home as the killer uses Capuana's domestic paranoia to his own psychotic advantage.

One is tempted to theorize Brian De Palma saw this lesser effort at some point. Not only does the scene with Annabella Incontrera knifed to death aboard a train resemble a murder in Dressed to Kill (1980) but there follows a similar subplot where the victim's daughter, cute teenager Bettina (Angela Covello, appealing if underused) sees the masked maniac murder Susan Scott. Although Bettina confides in her boyfriend Piero (Fabrizio Moresco) for some unknown reason this plot goes absolutely nowhere, save for the scene where our would-be Nancy Drew shares an elevator with – gasp! - a man in a black trenchcoat. Along with the moment the creepy bleached blonde mortician hides straight razor this overplayed sequence practically screams 'red herring'! Perhaps it is just as well Bettina and Piero make an early exit. Montero crudely caricatures his teen characters as slogan-spouting lefties: all idealism with no common sense. Ridiculous flower power dialogue abounds as when two groovy kids wonder why the killer does not make love not war. Then conclude "love only exists for those of our age." Oh please. Eventually Capuana hatches a plan to expose the maniac that is decidedly half-baked yet somehow works leading to a truly twisted and unsavoury finale.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

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