Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Killer is still Among Us (1986)

I'll admit that I'm fascinated by real crime, but I'm not just interested in the normal fuck-ups. I want something extra. Il Mostro di Firenze, or The Monster of Florence, is one of my "favorites". Maybe THE favorite if I should bring up serial killer-cases. Between 1968 and 1985 the killer shot and mutilated 16 victims. The first two in 1968 was no mystery, but is connected the others because of the same weapon was used. The murders of the two men in 1983 was probably a mistake from the killer (he thought one of the was a woman), and even if a man later was sentenced for being the serial killer no one really believes that. No evidence at all, nothing. Nada. In 1986 no less than two movies based on the case was produced, and The Killer is still Among Us is the most interesting one.

Here we follow an young female psychology student who lives in Florence and decides to write her final tesis about the murders. We follow her for a year or two in her life, while the murders continue around her. She's fascinated by the cultures around the killer and the suspects, for example the weird sub-cultures that deals with spying on loving couples or spying on the people who spies at loving couples! There's an example in the movie when the voyeurs is using high-tech equipment to record a couple in a car, and everything is based on fact! Believe it or not.

Part of the movie is a classic giallo with some very graphic gore and a couple of thrilling sequences of terror. But the rest is a social-realistic drama, though quite colorful because it's in Italy in the eighties! A lot of the story centers around the student and her new boyfriend, a doctor, and of course this means a lot of red herrings that he's the killer - but not only him, most men in this script has something strange and perverted going on in the background. The violence (which is not that plenty) is really nasty, up there with New York Ripper. And also very well made.

What fascinates me even more is that the murder-sequences is exactly like the real thing. From where the victims are shot and stabbed, to small details how one of the victims faces is covered with a lid from an old paintbucket. It's as close to the real thing as the police and media could come. This is probably because of Mario Spezi, who still is the leading expert on the case - to that degree that he was arrested himself many years later for being involved. He was released as a free man of course, but it's a sign how crappy the investigation was.

The Killer is still Among Us is a damn fine true crime-movie that mixes correct fact with thrilling fiction. I recommend you to read Douglas Preston's excellent book about the case (it was written together with Mario Spezi), The Monster of Florence, and then watch the movie to really understand the mythology around the case.


David A. Zuzelo said...

Thanks for the review Fred, I've not seen this with any English and know very little about the case. I'm going to pick up that book.
Also, I've never seen artwork for the movie-awesome!!

Ninja Dixon said...

Get the book, you won't regret it David!