Saturday, July 23, 2011

Seven Dead in the Cat's Eye (1973)

It’s been a long time since I watched a giallo. The last time most of the movies I’ve written about have been Asian (mostly Thai) flicks, but after two days of intense migraine I’ve decided to watch something non-Asian to heal my mind – or at least watching that’s not in low-res VCD quality without subtitles in a language I can’t understand. Up there on the pile of unwatched giallos lay Antonio Margheriti’s Seven Dead in the Cat’s Eye, a movie I owned for a while but it wasn’t until I watched Gainsbourg: Vie héroïque recently I also got reminded of this 1973 giallo.

The story is familiar, Jane Birkin plays a young woman returning to the old family castle only to be met with tension and melodrama. The son in the family, played by handsome Hiram Keller, is said to be “mad” and he has a tame gorilla in cage! Soon people start to die, and in a hysterical fit Jane discovers a rotten body in the basement – who is it and how is the body connected to what’s happening?

I’m aware of Margheriti’s gothic horror films, but for me he’s always gonna be the master of action and adventure with tons of exploding miniatures and cool guys with guns. His gothic flicks have never really interested me, mostly because he seems to have made them because Mario Bava made them and it was trendy. Now, Margheriti always followed the trends – he was a working horse, an excellent gun-for-hire. Nothing bad with that, it only makes my respect for him bigger. Seven Dead in the Cat’s Eye is an interesting mix between giallo and gothic horror.

The story is a bit uneven, and hardly original, but Margheriti has a lot of fun with the fantastic location. Because there’s not much do when it comes to special effects or miniatures, Margheriti goes wacko with the camera and makes every damn scene interesting and fun to watch, even when the dialogue lacks or not much actually is happening. It’s also easy to sense of a twinkle in the eye in the whole production, with only Jane Birkin playing it totally straight. She’s also excellent, and outshines the whole cast of professionals. Ah yes, I will not forget the presence of her fantastic husband at the time, Serge Gainsbourg, who has a minor part as a police detective. He looks and acts like usual – half asleep – but cool as hell!

Gore? Not at all I would say, but it has a couple of very stylish blood splattering-sequences – you know that really RED blood that we all love in the giallos of the seventies! Yummy!


Jesper said...

Great reminder ! I totally forgot this one AND that good ol Serge has a small part!

dfordoom said...

I liked this one too. And I love Margheriti's gothic horror flicks. Ad of course his space operas.

Ninja Dixon said...

Jesper, I think Serge is pretty good in it - but he's more or less himself in it to :D

dfordoom, what's your favorite space opera by him?