Sunday, May 23, 2010

Lizard In a Woman's Skin (1971)

Horror fans need not know who Lucio Fulci is. A director who dabbled in all kinds of different film genres (Western, Crime, Comedy, Musicals), he is mostly known for his contributions to the horror genre, especially in the late 70's and early 80's. Films such as "Zombi 2", City of the Living Dead" and "The Beyond" have become staples in the genre, mixing choking atmosphere with outrageous and innovative gore, nonsensical plots and brilliant suspense scenes into something that was all together surreal and terrifying. Yet some forget that the director dabbled in the genre films prior to these blood drenched favorites. One of them was his psychedelic 1971 Giallo film "Lizard In a Woman's Skin."

A rich woman named Carol (Florinda Bolkin) has been having some strange dreams in which she participates in some lesbian sex with her next door neighbor. Thing is, one of those dreams ends with her murdering said neighbor. While all the evidence points to her, she is convinced that she must find out who really committed the crime, all while trying to figure out what is real and what is not.

There are a few problems with "Lizard In a Woman's Skin." The conclusion can be seen a mile away, it wraps up a little too neatly for my tastes and some scenes tend to drag on a bit. Other than that, it's a fine entry in the sub-genre of Giallo films, with an intriguing mystery that keeps the viewer invested. Throughout the movie, neat little curve-balls are thrown to keep the viewer guessing, and Fulci thankfully manages to explain them in a way that doesn't over emphasize plot points. Plus, the thing is suspenseful and creepy as hell, with some fine set pieces, including a nail biting scene involving Carol and someone who may or may not be the killer.

That out of the way, those hoping for another Fulci splatter flick will be a bit disappointed, as there is little in the way of gore. Sure, there's a few stabbings and a little blood, but nothing too shocking. There is an abundant amount of nudity and drug tinged visuals though, as well as an excellent score by the one and only Ennio Morricone that compliments the psychedelic atmosphere.

It may not be 100% perfect, but "Lizard In a Woman's Skin" is a druggy, decadent treat that's a must see for fans of Italian Horror. Check it out if you want to see what Fulci was capable of before he indulged himself in splatter and gore.

Rating: 8.5/10

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