Saturday, July 28, 2012
Plot of Fear (1976)
Long time since I watched a giallo, but finally - after a week of Jess Franco - I found the time, early this morning, to sit down and watch Paolo Cavara's very interesting Plot of Fear. My plan was to get my hands on it quiet a while ago when Tom Skerritt visited Stockholm, but I never found it and kinda forgot about it - until yesterday when a the nice DVD from Raro suddenly stared at me from the shelves of a second hand store here in Stockholm. It's mine, I thought and grabbed it faster than The Dark Knight Rises is a fiasco! The only movie by Cavara I've seen before this one is Black Belly of the Tarantula, one of the best giallis ever made. So how could he top that? With making one of the most original and off-beat giallis I've seen.
Michele Placido (more famous from the Italian TV-series La Piovra) is the sexually liberal and slightly odd Inspector Gaspare Lomenzo, a young cop who's know in charge of the investigation of The Fauna Club-murders. One by one the members of this little private sex-club is killed in very various ways and it's impossible to find any clue to who the killer is. Like all good giallis everything is connected to art, and this time to the very macabre (I've read it myself as a child) German children book Der Struwwelpeter, with the killer leaving one drawing from the book at each murder site. Somehow a young woman, Jeanne (Corinne Cléry), knows more than she wants to say - and it doesn't help that Lomenzo falls in love with her, which could be a very bad idea...
That sounds quite ordinary, yeah? Well, it's not. Plot of Fear is an oddity, mostly because it spend so much time just showing us the life's these wonderful characters. It's like Fellini made a low-key, violent, crime movie! Even the smallest part is well-defined and funny, or tragic, and there's a lot of personality in each and every extra in the background. Cavara didn't only create an interesting murder mystery here, but also a colourful gallery of destinies. But fear not, it also has a generous amount of murders - some of them bloody - and a couple of twists and turns.
The flashbacks to the Fauna Club is the best and could be something from a Tinto Brass film. In one interesting sequence they sit and watch an production of the Italian animator Gibba (aka Francesco Maurizio Guido), a very vulgar and sexual detailed cartoon that looks like a mix between sci-fi and fantasy - what can the title be? Let me know if you have any clue! The leader of the Fauna Club is played by John Steiner, an excellent actor doing yet another of his classical sleazebags. What a guy!
Tom Skerritt has a very small part (I wonder how he ended up in this film?) and Eli Wallach a bigger and more interesting part, as a mysterious private detective who some of the Fauna Club-members contact when they realize they might get killed. But I would say that this is Michele Placido and Corinne Cléry's movie, because they rule in every scene they're in.