Monday, 7 April 2014
Formula for a Murder (1985).
Shameless Screen Entertainment bring this little seen Giallo from 1985 to the UK, and I for one couldn't be happier. While many say the Giallo film was in decline around the second half of the eighties (I beg to differ, because around this time, such films as Soavi's Stagefright, Argento's Opera and even Deodato's Phantom of Death were released), Formula for a Murder offers up the goods and creates one enjoyable ride for fans of operatic murder set pieces, suspense filled staking, mystery and bloodshed, traits that are all typical of the Giallo genre.
Joanna (Christina Nagy), a disabled but wealthy heiress is going to be married to her sports coach Craig (played by the always excellent David Warbeck). Joanna went through a trauma as a child involving a priest and a doll, and although she has managed to block this out, when two priests at a local church are brutally murdered, she begins to have dreams and hallucinations of bloodied dolls and mysterious characters. Craig is also informed by Joanna's doctor that she also has a heart condition that could bring on a heart attack if she was to be reminded of her childhood trauma. It seems as if someone is trying to separate Joanna from her wealth, but who could it be, and will they succeed?
There is a difference between this and most Giallo movies, and that is that the movie reveals who is committing the murders, and why, early on. That isn't to say that there aren't twists and turns thrown at the viewer, because there are. It's just a shame that the film reveals so much so early, but in all honesty, it doesn't hurt the film much at all.
The murders are typically bloodthirsty, and the stalking scenes are particularly enjoyable. It is usually these type of scenes that make or break a Giallo (along with the logic used throughout) and while some of the plot twists don't make any sense whatsoever, the moments of violence and suspense are amped up to sometimes over the top levels, along with beautiful photography and great performances from the leads, making for an enjoyable film.
The only thing that really hurts the film is the score. For a Giallo film, it is incredibly cheesy, and also manages to include a piece of music from Fulci's The New York Ripper, which made me shake my head in disbelief. Some may find this fun, but for some reason, I found it irritating.
David Warbeck certainly steals the show, and clearly seems to relish his role in every respect. He also dons a yellow rain mac for what is probably the most memorable scene of the entire movie, but to find out what that is, you are going to have to watch it for yourselves.
This is the first time this movie has been released on DVD, and is another incredible release from Shameless Screen Entertainment. Anyone with even a passing interest in Italian cinema needs to take a look at this rarely seen but pleasing giallo movie.
You can order Formula for a Murder from Amazon.co.uk by clicking HERE.