This thing called giallo: attractive women under threat, knives in the darkness, a killer amongst us and men behaving weirdly… some kind of sexy style always with a mean sense of humour as eager to add to the unease as the fake blood. It’s not dreary that’s for sure and Edwige Fenech is in it too – those huge brown eyes accentuated by short-cropped hair proving far more alluring than the acres of more obvious on display.
Directed by Andrea Bianchi from a story co-written with frequent collaborator Massimo Felisatti, Strip Nude for Your Killer is a knowing take on the by now well-established genre. It’s a bit like an Agatha Christie who dunnit only with nudity and far more leather-clad killers on motorcycles. The cast are less gentile as well with the exception of Edwige’s photographer’s assistant Magda.
But, in this case, I don’t think the title fits the film as, mild spoiler, it’s not really about consensual sex before murder…
Soon after the doctor responsible for the death is murdered on the steps of his practice by an assailant in motor biker gear – two down and we’re only just started.
|Lucia pursued by Carlo at the pool|
The action shifts to the Albatross Modelling Studio where Carlo works with his girlfriend Magda (I know - he’s cheating on Edwige Fenech - what an idiot!) and a host of lovely models including long-cool blonde Patrizia (Swedish star Solvi Stubing) and the equally long hot platinum-flicked Doris (Erna Schurer – one of the films best actors).
|At the shoot|
|Carlo and Magda share a joke...|
After they have gone the leather-clad killer breaks into the studio and pulls out a shot of a group of people from the files… a hit list?
|The workers at the studio|
Time for the police to get involved and the next day the Commissioner (Lucio Como) interrupts a photo shoot to interview the main players. They’re all taken to the station where he attempts to get some answers whilst, creepily, one of the middle-aged cops stares at every inch of Lucia – a comment on the watching audience perhaps?
|Lucia tires of the male gaze|
Now things are getting messy but cometh the hour cometh the wannabe detective couple – Magda and Carlo try to piece the evidence together after they learn of the murder in the following day’s papers: something familiar about the earring found in Lucia’s hand…
|On the case|
Maurizio tries to seduce Doris by playing the economic and sympathy card even after she expresses a preference for his missus and the dangers such a transgression might involve. But Maurizio can’t deliver and ends up carrying through his inflatable doll after Doris has left – OK we get the point.
The Commissioner sees a pattern as do we… clearly almost no one gets out of this film alive but the question remains as to whom?
Not that Doris, Lucia and their fellow victims deserve to die but… we don’t really get to know them. Nor do we really get to know the killer who even after they are revealed, remains a mystery.
|Edwige Fenech's best features are, actually, her eyes...|
The conventions of the giallo feature were originally set out by director Mario Bava in the early sixties with titles such as The Girl Who Knew too Much (1963) and Blood and Black Lace (1964) which added more sex and specific violence to the Italian thriller genre. Darlo Argento’s The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (1970) took things to a new level and set the tone for a decade of even greater suspense, sex and violence.
Strip Nude for Your Killer plays with these themes without being entirely convincing and perhaps its sense of humour is the downfall as if it is laughing too hard at its self-awareness and trying to shock too hard right up to the – literal – end joke.
Available from Amazon, parental guidance advised…