Euroshock! I don't know what it is about Italian genre films and numbers, but those 8-bit plumbers sure do love to count, don't they? Calm yourselves; I'm part-Italian. I'm just saying. Four Flies on Grey Velvet, Seven Blood-Stained Orchids, Seven Notes in Black (a.k.a. The Psychic)...and then you have today's subject, 1973's Seven Deaths in the Cat's Eye. As you might have fathomed, it's an illicit giallo. Almost every character is culpable, but there are dotty, off-center measures taken to give this spaghetti slasher its own method of functioning, as it were. It's weird shit. Why don't we analyze this weird shit and try to determine if it helps or hinders Seven Deaths?
On the surface, the plot appears to be orderly. There is a killer killing people. Beneath the surface, this is a giallo itching to chip away at the confines of Italian horror filmmaking. A high-minded tenet, but the screenplay botches the spot (wrestling vernacular; I'm convinced I can make it a popular turn of phrase). Perimetric story details are so goddamn goofy, I can't imagine how the team of producers at the bottom of this sideshow ever expected it to be taken seriously. Maybe they didn't. Our heroine is visiting her family at their castle, and her cousin casually reveals to her that he has caged (you might as well say indentured) a circus orangutan. Also, he wants to fuck her. The cousin, not the ape.
The ape subplot is militantly useless. My guess is that the totally-not-a-guy-in-a-suit is supposed to be a suspect, but we know without a shadow of a doubt that the offender is human. Help? Hinder? Both. It's fucking ludicrous, but it has z-grade appeal. Hey, there's a cat. I'm trying to cross all of the "freaky feline" flicks off of my list. I'm getting close! Seven Deaths positions a tabby (?) at the scene of each crime. What does that mean? Is the pussy unhallowed? Oracular? Is it just a dumb dick coincidence? Well, the movie didn't tell me, so I don't know. I'm going with "hinder" on that one, as it adds absolutely nothing to the feature presentation.
I'm shitting on the celluloid, but I actually had fun with Seven Deaths in the Cat's Eye. I've done a masterfully poor job of interspersing positive comments, haven't I? Look, this is my first review. Ease up. The gothic atmosphere is refreshing, and there are several sweet exterior shots. Props to director Antonio Margheriti (credited here as David DeCoteau - I mean, Anthony Dawson). He had a firm grip on spooky stuff, as opposed to whatever the fuck The Snow Devils was. I'm eager to watch more of his analects, especially Castle of Blood. At any rate, I was entertained throughout. Despite ubiquitous flaws, I wanted to see how this puppy ended. Robert Z'Dar says, "I bet the killer did it. The son of a bitch."
Posted by Dom Coccaro at 8:04 PM