Sunday, January 2, 2011

French Sex Murders (1972)

This could probably be one of the trashiest and wackiest giallos ever made, French Sex Murders. It has always been close to my heart and last night I decided to revisit it after quite some time. Everything I remember from it was true: trashy, funny, cheap gore and Anita Ekberg with huge hair, not to mention a bunch of the world’s ugliest men (except for always mega-cool Howard Vernon) and Robert Sacchi, the famous Humphrey Bogart-impersonator in one of the leads.

At Madame Colette’s (Anita Ekberg) massage institute life is a blast. Rich men come there to buy sex from happy young prostitutes. One day the extremely jealous boyfriend Antoine Gottvalles (Pietro Martellanza) visits his girl and hits her brutally and runs away. Moments later she’s found dead, beaten to death by a lamp. Of course everyone suspect Antoine, who after a while is arrested and sentenced to death. He swears that he’s innocent and that he will come back from the grave to take his revenge and find the killer…

And guess what? One by one our fine ensemble of nice people is killed of in gory fashion by a hooded murderer!!!

Now, this movie is lit like a porn movie for most of the time, especially in the scenes at the bordello. The rest of the flick looks quite crappy too, except a few nice shots here and there. It’s like a Eurociné-production but with a lot more money, gore and talent! I really don’t like using the word “trash” with something I like, but FSM is trashy. It’s made to show people naked (including hairy male butts), very cheap gore by Carlo Rambaldi and a few well-known actors earning a quick pay check spending time in Paris. And nothing is wrong with this, it’s still art because it’s made with passion and a sense of self-aware. The actors do the best they could do, obviously had a good time. Best is, as usual, Howard Vernon who gives it all. Damn, that man had a lot of talent! One of the sleaziest talents is Rolf Eden, a German playboy and multimillionaire that plays a big part here. He gives sleaze a name, and generated some headlines a couple of years ago for… well, read it yourself!

They gore is primitive, either just that thick pain we love in these movies, or papier maché heads falling to the ground. Every murder is also repeated in psychedelic colours at least three times! Stuff like this wanna make be go back in time and experience the making of movies like French Sex Murders myself, it seemed so free. Not the Hitler-style kind of filmmaking that they teach the kids in film school nowadays. If you have a camera you can make a movie, fuck the rest!

French Sex Murders is a lot of details, lots of nonsense, but together to be a very entertaining movie. From cameos by producer Dick Randall and an early part from Mike Monty (both IMDB and the cover claims that Gordon Mitchell makes a cameo, but I couldn’t see him), to cheesy special effects, hilarious twists, chases and funky music, this is hardly a well-written serious movie, but it’s one fine piece of exploitation.

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