Saturday, March 24, 2012

Blu-ray Review: STRIP NUDE FOR YOUR KILLER (1975)


Release Date: March 27, 2012
Label: Blue Underground
Region Code: ALL
Duration: 98 Mins
Rating: Not Rated
Audio: DTS-HD Mono English, Italian
Video: 16:9 Widescreen (2.35:1)
Director: Andrea Bianchi
Cast: Edwige Fenech, Nino Castelnuovo, Femi Benussi, Solvi Stubing

Now here's a slab of 70's Euro-sleaze I've been wanting to get my fiendish little fingers on for some time and lucky for us cult cinema fans Blue Underground have laid out a quite attractive Blu-ray edition presenting the stunning Edwige Fenech (The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh) in lovely 1080p, surely the reason the high-definition format was created, no? The title alone tells you that we're in for here, some super-trashy fun that comes to us from none other than the director of the deranged, tit-chomping Italian zombie film Burial Ground (1980) featuring one of the most schlocky and shocking mother-son relationships in cinema history, not to be outdone Strip Nude features one of the oddest film finales you'll ever see.

The film begins with a nifty blue-tinted scenario wherein a model named Evelyn dies of heart-failure during a backroom abortion. The doctor with the help of an unseen accomplice attempts to cover-up the accidental death by returning the corpse to her home where it will appear she died of natural causes in the bathtub but later that night the doc is stabbed repeatedly by an attacker on the doorstep of his home, the killer wearing a skin-tight leather outfit and a motorcycle helmet, it makes for quite a memorable image, very sleek. Turns out the model worked for the Albatross Modelling Agency run by a shrew-lesbian named Giselle (Amanda) and her obese philandering husband Maurizio (Franco Diogene, Midnight Express). We also meet the speedo-loving fashion photographer and his spritely assistant Madga (Edwige Fenech), Carlo (Nino Castelnuovo) is introduced during a really wacky seduction scene wherein he asks the gorgeous ginger Lucia (Femi Benusi, Hatchet for the Honeymoon) to pose for him in a steam-room when she realizes there's no film in the camera, and like you did back in those free-loving 70's they make the best of an awkward situation and get it on, gotta love it.

It's not long before a photographer at the agency is murdered by the same killer dressed in leather and a motorcycle helmet followed by a model and others, it becomes apparent that someone really has it out for the employees of the Albatross agency, in that way it's not not too dissimilar to Mario Bava's Blood and Black Lace (1963) another shocker also featuring a memorably masked marauder terrorizing a fashion house. The film pretty much boils down to Carlo and Madga sleuthing the mystery but can they uncover the killer's identity before it's too late? 

As the title implies the film is quite literally bursting at the seems with depraved sex and violence, perhaps more nudity that any Giallo I can think of, the women of the 70's Italian cinema were world class beauties and it's easy to lose track of the story (what little there was, anyway) while I sat down for a watch, Fenech is a goddess and the camera loves her here just like in every other film.

As a giallo the film falls a bit short but as a prime slice of euro-cheese with copious amounts of nudity it's pretty great stuff, so many corny but awesome moments from Maurizio threatening to knock a bitch upside the head with a vase if she doesn't put out for him followed by a moment of impotence and him crying into the arms of an inflatable lover right before he's butchered. In a wonderful red-herring moment our sauve fashion-photographer Carlo nearly strangles a lover for next to nothing, an abusive lesbian tryst, crazy 70's fashions and some awesomely awful English dubbed dialogue, it's not lacking for entertainment that's for sure.

Blu-ray: Strip Nude for Your Killer is presented in 16:9 widescreen (2.35:1) 1080p sourced from the original uncut and uncensored camera negative. Black levels are strong, colors are pleasing, film grain is intact and fine detail is adequate if not great, overall the image lacks sharpness and is a bit softer than what one would like to see on Blu-ray but I have not seen the DVD of the film and can't comment on improvement of the standard definition versions but it's an attractive transfer sourced from a near flawless print. 

There are both English and Italian DTS-HD Mono audio options with choice of optional English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles. It's definitely mono, that's for sure offering some moderate depth, dialogue, effects and Berto Pisano's unremarkable score come through clear without distortion. 

Special features include the 12 minute on camera video interview Strip Nude For Your Giallo with actress Solvi Stubing and co-writer Massimo Felisatti, a decent listen as Felsatti discusses director Bianchi. We also get two trailers and a poster and stills gallery.

Special Features:
- Strip Nude For Your Giallo - On Camera Interviews with Actress Solvi Stubing and Co-Writer Massimo Felisatti (11:44) 
- International Trailer(3:41)
- Italian Trailer(3:41)
- Poster and Still Gallery

Verdict: The Bird with the Crystal Plumage this is not, it's decidedly lower-tier and less artful but definitely delivers on it's depraved pulpy title, an endlessly entertaining parade of gorgeous flesh and startling murder set-pieces with a few artful flourishes, some decent lensing and a shit-ton of 70's euro-cheese and sleaze, definitely a trashy delight for fans of Giallo and 70's Italian horror cinema, I say this is worth a purchase particularly for you Edwige Fenech fans out there. 3 outta 5