Blu Review – Forgotten Gialli Volume 3 (Vinegar Syndrome)

Blu Release – 4.5/5

Director – Armando Crispino (Frankenstein: Italian Style, The Dead Are Alive!)
Starring – Mimsy Farmer (Body Count, The Suspects), Barry Primus (Righteous Kill, The X-Files), and Ray Lovelock (Let Sleeping Corpses Lie, The Last House on the Beach)
Release Date – 1975
Rating – 3/5

Tagline – “It’ll take you…apart”

Over the last six months or so I’ve found myself becoming extremely interested in giallos. I would watch them on occasion but over the last six or so months I’ve been going out of my way to get them. After watching a few back on the later part of last year I decided to go ahead and dig into the first Forgotten Gialli release from Vinegar Syndrome. This soon spiraled into the second volume and now the third. I received the third volume in just a few days ago and couldn’t wait to see what was in store for me. The first film I tossed in was 1975’s Autopsy which was also released as The Victim and Tension.

**Spoiler Alert** The film follows a pathology student working on her thesis when a string of suicides strike Rome, Italy. While investigating the death of a young women she becomes entangled in the search for a supposed killer by her brother, a Catholic priest. The closer she gets to finding the real killer of the fake suicides the closer she gets to danger. **spoiler Alert**

I love the atmosphere and tension in a good giallo. My introduction to giallo, like most Americans, was from the works of Fulci and Argento. I often compare the giallos I watch now to these films that I first watched all those years ago. Autopsy is a bit different. The film is a little more colorful and bright than most of the other giallos I’ve seen but I really enjoyed it. What it lacks in that traditional giallo lighting and atmosphere it more than makes up for in story and characters.

The acting in this one is pretty solid. Mimsy Farmer is fantastic as the student caught in the middle of an unlikely conspiracy involving murder. I really liked her character and how she ranging emotionally. With that being said, there was a few scenes where she overacted which resulted in an unintentionally funny scene. The supporting cast is good but a little inconsistent. Some of the cast is pretty well grounded and well rounded but there is a few scenes where the cast is a little over the top. These overdramatic scenes were funny when it wasn’t meant to be.

The story for this one is a solid whodunit that throws several red herrings at the viewer. It’s not predictable and you keep following each scene trying to figure it out before the killer is actually revealed. I loved the story and character development. Those, along with the pacing, makes for a great giallo flick. The tone of the film may not be typical of those films but the story is very much a giallo.

Finally, the film has plenty of blood and some very disturbing images. The film uses pictures of actual autopsies that some may find too gruesome. Also, the film has some blood and fun practical effects that really enjoyed. Sadly, the deaths are off screen so you bloodhounds will not get to enjoy those. Overall, Autopsy is a fantastic murder mystery that has a great cast and a pretty involving story. It’s not perfect but it is fun especially for a late night watch. The transfer from Vin Syn looks absolutely amazing. I highly recommend it.

Special Features:
Region Free Blu-ray
Newly scanned & restored in 2k from its 35mm original camera negative
Includes both the English and Italian language soundtracks
Archival theatrical introduction with director Armando Crispino
“Editing & Rhythm” – an interview with editor Daniele Alabiso
“The Autopsy Papers” – an interview with Francesco Crispino, film historian & son of director Armando Crispino
“Black Hole Sun” – a featurette on the career of director Armando Crispino
Original theatrical trailer
Alternate Italian titles & credits
Reversible cover artwork
Newly translated English SDH subtitles

The Murder Mansion

Director – Francisco Lara Polop (Exit: Dead End, Perversion)
Starring – Evelyn Stewart (The Psychic, War of the Zombies), Analia Gade (Exorcism’s Daughter, Four Nights of the Full Moon), Lisa Leonardi (All the Colors of the Dark, The Case of the Scorpion’s Tail)
Release Date – 1972
Rating – 3.5/5

Tagline – “Welcome to home bloody home”

When Vinegar Syndrome announced the third volume of their Forgotten Gialli series I started looking them up one by one. The first film, Autopsy, is one I had heard about but I had never had the chance to check it out. However, the second film in the set, The Murder Mansion, really peaked my interest. I absolutely loved all the posters that I found online and it looked extremely interesting. After I watched Autopsy I immediately tossed in The Murder Mansion and was not disappointed.

**Spoiler Alert** The film follows several people who find themselves unable to travel at night with a thick fog rolls in. They all find themselves at an old mansion where a young woman lives alone. She welcomes them in and tells them a story about the history of the mansion and how the locals years ago believed that the inhabits were vampires. As the night rolls on they go to their own rooms and one by one they fall victim to something supernatural presence roaming the home. **Spoiler Alert**

I’ve enjoyed the previous Forgotten Gialli releases for the most part but there was some of the films I liked more than others. With that being said, I believe that The Murder Manson was probably my favorite out of all the releases so far. I loved the sets, the atmosphere, and the characters. It really was a solid giallo.

The acting in this one is pretty solid. The characters are painfully generic with nothing memorable brought to the screen. However, the story has just enough to it to hold your attention. The cast does their best with what they had but you will not remember the characters over the story.

The story for this one is a fun mystery fueled haunted house type film that keeps you guessing who the killer is…or what they are. It really is a giallo through and through which is mostly a murder mystery with style. I really enjoyed the story and how it all ended. I was not expecting the reveals and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Finally, the film has several deaths. We get plenty of blood but the practical effects are pretty laughable. If the kills were a little more memorable then this film would be among the best. Overall, The Murder Mansion isn’t going to make the top of anyone’s giallo list but I really enjoyed this one. The blu looks fantastic as well from Vin Syn. A solid entry in the Forgotten Gialli series.

Special Features:
Region Free Blu-ray
Newly scanned & restored in 4k from its 35mm original camera negative
Includes the original Spanish language soundtrack with new English translations, as well as the English and Italian language dubs (Italian dub is not translated)
“Lady of the Mansion” – an interview with actress Ida Galli aka Evelyn Stewart
Reversible cover artwork
Newly translated English SDH subtitles for the original Spanish soundtrack

Crazy Desires of a Murderer
Director – Filippo Walter Ratti (Night of the Damned, Mondo Erotico)
Starring – Corrado Gaipa (The Godfather, Marco Polo), Roberto Zattini, and Isabelle Marchall (The Terror with Cross-Eyes, The Crimes of the Black Cat)
Release Date – 1977
Rating – 2/5

As I work my way through the third volume of the Forgotten Gialli box set from Vinegar Syndrome I’ve found myself having a lot of fun with these films. Autopsy was a fantastic giallo and The Murder Mansion really surprised me. I absolutely loved it. This left the third and final film in the set which is the 1977 giallo Crazy Desires of a Murderer. I was riding a wave into this one. The other two were fantastic films and I had high hopes for CDoaM but this one would let me down. It is, by far, the weakest film in the collection.

**Spoiler Alert** The film follows a young woman who brings her friends with her to her father’s home. Her father is wheelchair bound and reluctant to have visitors. Also in the home is her brother who is a recluse with a knack for taxidermy. When her friends start turning up dead some dark secrets are revealed by each of the guests. **Spoiler Alert**

I was pretty pumped when I tossed this one in and by the 30 minute mark I found myself drifting off to sleep. In fact, I had to turn it off and restarted it the following day in hopes I could appreciate it a little more when I was well rested. Sadly, I did not. The film was extremely boring and lackluster. The acting in this one is the only redeeming quality in the film. The characters are entertaining and the cast does a wonderful job bringing them to life. As the film progresses you see some of the character change to fit the story. The cast does a wonderful job at making these changes show.

The story for this one is a giallo paint by numbers. However, this doesn’t make this one enjoyable. The scenes are drawn out and the dialogue is completely too drab and dull. I found myself struggling through most of these scenes. Finally, the film has some blood and practical effects but they are nothing that really stands out or that entertaining. The kills try to be gruesome but they just fall short. Overall, Crazy Desires of a Murderer looks great on blu bit is not that enjoyable. This is the week link in the set but the transfer from Vin Syn looks fantastic.

Special Features:
Region Free Blu-ray
Newly scanned & restored in 4k from its 35mm original camera negative
“Crazy Memories of an Actor” – an interview with actor Giuseppe Colombo
Reversible cover artwork
Newly translated English SDH subtitles

Written by Blacktooth

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

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