Director – Lucio Fulci (The Beyond, City of the Living Dead)
Starring – Jean Sorel (The Day of the Jackal, The Great Kidnapping), Marisa Mell (Ring of Darkness, Devil’s Ransom), and Elsa Martinelli (Madigan’s Millions, The Pleasure Pit)
Release Date – 1969
Rating – 3.5/5
Blu Release – 4/5
Tagline – “What’s the most incredible thing a woman ever did for $1,000,000?”
Italian director Lucio Fulci had a very interesting career. Many modern genre fans know him for his Italian horror films but Fulci began directing movies almost 30 years before he became a horror legend. At one point he was known for his spaghetti westerns before moving on to erotic and sexploitation films. Once the giallo craze swept Italy he jumped on board and became on of the most iconic horror directors of all time.
Most companies scramble to release or rerelease his horror films on new formats because fans can’t get enough. Very few companies even bother to visit Fulci’s work pre-giallo but recently Mondo Macabro released the 1969 sleazy mystery Perversion Story aka One on Top of the Other. I had never seen this film and was lucky enough to get a copy in for review. Thanks Mondo!
**Spoiler Alert**The film follows Dr. George Dumurrier who is married to Susan (Mell). Susan suffers from severe asthma but George is dedicated to his work and saving the clinic he works for so he is often away for business. George has secretly been having an affair behind Susan’s back and while away with his mistress in Vegas he gets a call that Susan has died. A month later he receives word that she had taken out a large insurance policy on herself right before dying. This prompts the police to investigate her death and they discover she was poisoned.
Now George is the prime suspect in the murder and he is convicted of the crime. While on deathrow his brother spills the beans to George about how Susan is still alive and set him up all while having an affair on George with him. George’s brother and Susan leave for France before George is sent to the gas chamber and moments before he is sentenced to death a jealous lover of Susan’s finds her in France and kills her revealing to the world who she really was. **Spoiler Alert**
I rarely venture into the non-horror Fulci films. Not because I don’t want to but because its rare that I come across one. Fulci was a phenomenal filmmaker and Perversion Story is yet another example of why he was the best at his craft and enjoyed a career that spanned 50 years. This movie was very compelling and really had me guessing.
The acting in this one is great. Marisa Mell is the real star. She takes on two different roles with two different personalities. She does a fantastic job with both. She was perfectly cast for this role. She is very convincing as the sick Susan and as the sexy Monica. I also enjoyed Jean Sorel’s performance. His performance went through a wide range of emotion and was fantastic. The supporting cast is also fantastic. The characters are very enjoyable and this film has an amazing cast.
The story for this one is very entertaining and holds the viewer’s attention very well. The movie makes you think you are in for a sleazy good time but you are actually about to dive deep into a murder mystery that keeps you guessing as to who the real killer is. There was a few times I rolled my eyes at a few of the more predictable moments but the real killer reveal did hit. I really enjoyed the story and how Fulci approached it.
Finally, if you want blood you wont find it here. We have a fucking fantastic rotting corpse and a few gunshot wounds but that’s the extent of the practical effects. Overall, Perversion Story was a damn entertaining murder mystery that will keep any viewer glued to the screen. This is a fantastic Fulci film that any fan will want to add to their collection.
HD transfer from original negative.
Full extended European version.
Interview with star Jean Sorel.
Interview with star Elsa Martinelli.
Interview with writer Stephen Thrower.
Original artwork by Justin Coffee.
English/Italian language choice.
Mondo Macabro previews.