Monday, 25 May 2015

Lizard in a Woman's Skin (1971)

Optimum Classic DVD in Italian with English subs.

Even from the start credits I know I'm in for a treat. The music, the visuals, and then Florinda Bolkan; I'm overdosing on gorgeousness! A bewildered Bolkan, breathing heavily, runs down a train corridor which then beautifully segues to her still running, but this time down a white corridor filled with naked bodies, fucking. Falling, then running again, this time in darkness, and finally lesbian sex on a Marilyn Monroe style red bed. Fucking hell, this is good!

Bolkan plays Carol Hammond, daughter of a politician, wife of a cheating husband. She and her husband are not sleeping together and because of this sexual frustration she dreams of making love to Julia, her next door neighbour - the only person she can get sexual satisfaction from. Everyone around Carol is having sex, even the old fluorescent woman upstairs is fucking her chauffeur. Then the dreams turn nasty and she kills her dream lover and Carol is the main suspect. But hold on, this is gialli and we can be certain that things are never as simple as they appear.

Bolkan is brilliant as Carol and Fulci uses every trick in the book to highlight her neuroses including some wonderfully wobbly and slightly distorted POV shots.

In Woman in a Lizard's Skin we have art, sexual repression, anticathexis, gore, fetishism, police procedural, dreams as reality (Descartes First Meditation), and red herrings aplenty. Man, this plot twists and turns like a twisty turny thing! And that bat scene - it sure beat the tarantulas in The Beyond!

The film is stunningly shot and edited with judicious use of POV, split screen, wipes, macro zoom shots, wild pans. A great soundtrack that I think I may have to track down on CD, and that cover; a great piece of graphic design. Regarding the audio; it's really weird watching an Italian film set in London with English characters speaking Italian! I think I may try the English dubbed version next time.

I'm a big fan of Fulci's horror films and own four of them but this beats them hands-down. A trippy mindfuck of a psycho-sexual giallo masterpiece.

Original letterboxd review

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