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Blu Review – Forgotten Gialli: Volume 2 (Vinegar Syndrome)

Blu Release – 4/5

The Girl in Room 2A
Director(s) – William Rose (The Smut Peddler, Rent-A-Girl) and Dick Randall (History of the Erotic Cinema, Frankenstein’s Castle of Freaks)
Starring – Daniela Giordano (Bloody Friday, Your Vice is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key), Angelo Infanti (The Godfather, Savage Breed), and John Scanlon (Midnight Caller, Lovespell)
Release Date – 1974
Rating – 2.5/5

Tagline – “Now you can see it… a bold look at the bizarre world of abnormal sexual behavior”

A few weeks ago I took a few days to watch and review Vinegar Syndrome’s Forgotten Gialli Volume 1. This box set is one I had to have so I ordered it the day they launched it for fear of them selling out. I’m glad I did because that set did, in fact, sell out. Before I got the second in I wanted to review the first one.

I absolutely loved the set and couldn’t wait to dig into this second one. When I opened up the set I went ahead with 1974’s The Girl in Room 2A. The original poster for this one really caught my attention and I couldn’t wait to dig into it.

**Spoiler alert** The film follows a woman who was recently released from prison who secures a room in a boardinghouse. What she doesn’t know is that a cult uses that room to lure in beautiful women that they torture and kill for their sadistic rituals. **Spoiler Alert**

I was so excited to dig into this set and this film but I soon found myself very underwhelmed with this one. The story really pulled me in with what it was about but the execution of the story and the extremely dull scenes made me lose interest in this one fairly early on. This made it a real chore to finish.

The acting in this one is decent but the characters are pretty bland and cliched. I really wanted to like the female lead but her underacting in a lot of the scenes made her an extremely weak lead. The supporting cast is solid but there was several instances where they over-reacted or undersold the scene. They all have some serious acting credits to their name so I know they were more than qualified but they just fell short here.

The story for this one really pulled me in. I’m obsessed with horror films centered around cults. I know giallo’s are a different breed but I was expecting this one to be a little more cult-based than what it was. The mystery aspect is definitely at the front of this one with the cult taking a back seat. The pacing is painfully slow as well. A lot slower than your standard giallo which made it a tough one for me to finish.

Finally, the film doesn’t shy away from the blood but the practical effects are non-existent. The blood is the bright 3M blood, which I love, but those looking for a little more will be disappointed. Overall, The Girl in Room 2A has so much promise but didn’t quite reach it’s potential. If you are binging the box set you can still find some enjoyment out of it but it is the weakest film in the set.

The French Sex Murders
Director – Ferdinando Merighi (His Colt, Himself, His Revenge; Il Sole Tornera)
Starring – Anita Ekberg (Bad Girls, Deadly Trackers), Rosalba Neri (The Arena, No Way Out), and Evelyne Kraft (The Mighty Peking Man, Assassination Attempt)
Release Date – 1972
Rating – 3.5/5

When Vinegar Syndrome announced their Forgotten Gialli Volume Two box set and the contents of it I was pretty fucking pumped. One of the films, The French Sex Murders, was the only film in the set that I had heard about previously thanks to Mondo Macabro who put it out on DVD. I never got the chance to see it but knowing that Mondo released it on DVD and a lot of their fans loved it spoke to me. I couldn’t wait to dig into it and hopefully wash the taste of The Girl in Room 2A out of my mouth.

**Spoiler Alert** After a judge wrongfully convicts a man for killing a prostitute they soon find themselves stuck with a string of murders. The police and a local professor start investigating the murders and uncover that the murderer is closer than they suspect. **Spoiler Alert**

I knew nothing about this film besides what a few genre friends have told me about it. I often see friends share pictures of their DVD on social media talking about it but story wise it was new to me. After hitting play I soon found myself in love with the film. The opening death and onward I was hooked. This is, hands down, the best film in the set. I absolutely loved it.

The acting in this one is solid for the most part but a couple of the scenes were unintentionally funny. The supporting cast would give very forced reactions that reminds me a lot of an adult who would listen to a child tell a story. It was very forced and not genuine at all. Aside from a few instances of this the acting is pretty solid. No one actor/actress stands out but they all work fairly well together. The story for this one throws a few twists at you. At first you think the movie is going to end quick then it pulls out this supernatural vibe before revealing the real killer. I really liked how the story had a lot of ups and downs to keep the viewer paying attention. However, I was not a fan of how the film ended after the killer was revealed. There was no follow up or real conclusion to the film.

Finally, the film has some bloody moments and one of the most ridiculous decapitations ever filmed. The blood is super bright red, which I really enjoy, but the decapitation is so funny. The fake head is pretty piss poor but it adds a few extra laughs to a pretty serious film. Overall, The French Sex Murders is a little cheesy and has a few unintentional laughs but the story really does satisfy the serious giallo fans. This one is well worth your time.

My Dear Killer
Director – Tonino Valerii (Brothers in Blood, Taste of Killing)
Starring – George Hilton (College, Macho Killers), Salvo Randone (Chronicle of a Homicide, Machine Gun McCain), and William Berger (Hercules, Devil Fish)
Release Date – 1972
Rating – 3/5

The Girl in Room 2A, the first film in the set, had me believing that this second giallo box set from Vinegar Syndrome was going to be a bust. However, The French Sex Murders really surprised me and put hope back into the release. As I toss in the third film, My Dear Killer, I quickly see that the set ends on another high note. I had heard some negative things about the film in various horror and collector’s groups but I found myself really enjoying this one.

**Spoiler Alert** The film begins with a man getting decapitated by heavy machinery. The investigator assigned to the case soon finds himself overwhelmed with several different murders designed to look like suicides and all are connected to the disappearance of a little girl. **Spoiler Alert**

I didn’t know what to really expect with this one when I tossed it in. On one hand, I was very disappointed with The Girl in Room 2A, but on the other I was really impressed with The French Sex Murders. My Dear Killer was a solid giallo that really caught my attention. There was a few things I didn’t care about but this was made during a different time where some of these things were considered appropriate. Regardless, I really enjoyed this one. The acting in this one is pretty consistent and fairly well done but the characters blend into the background way too easily. They are cliched and stereotypical of murder mysteries from the time.

The story for this one is a beautifully shot giallo. What fans love about giallo’s is the beautiful cinematography and how the shots are glued with the story. My Dear Killer does just that. The shots are beautiful and work so well with the mystery aspect of the film. With that being said, the story does hit a few dry spells causing the viewer to struggle through a few scenes. However, if you can stick with it you will really enjoy the overall film.

Finally, the film has several death scenes but the effects are far from perfect. In fact, a few of the death scenes will cause some unintentionally laughing. Especially the first death of the film. I loved the scene but it was a little on the funny side. Overall, My Dear Killer is not the best giallo movie I’ve seen but it was fun. I really enjoyed it and I’m glad it was included in the Forgotten Gialli: Volume Two.

Special Features:

The Girl in Room 2A
Region Free Blu-ray
Newly scanned & restored in 2k from its 35mm original negative
Includes both the English and Italian language dubbed soundtracks
Archival interview with actress Daniela Giordano
Audio essay by film historian and critic Rachael Nisbet
Original trailer (sourced from tape)
Promotional still gallery
English subtitles

The French Sex Murders
Region Free Blu-ray
Newly scanned & restored in 2k from its 35mm original negative
Includes both the English and Italian language dubbed soundtracks
Historical commentary track with authors and film historians Kat Ellinger and Samm Deighan
“The Wild, Wild World of Dick Randall” – a featurette on the career of producer Dick Randall
Promotional still gallery
English subtitles

My Dear Killer
Region Free Blu-ray
Newly scanned & restored in 4k from its 35mm original negative
Includes both the original Italian language and the English dubbed version, with the English version being sourced from tape
“Innocence Lost” a brand new video interview with writer Roberto Leoni (40 min)
Archival interview with actor George Hilton and director Tonino Valerii
English subtitles

Written by Blacktooth

(Staff Writer) Lover of all things horror and metal. Also likes boobs and booze.