review for A Lizard in a Woman's Skin on AllMovie

A Lizard in a Woman's Skin (1971)
by Donald Guarisco review

This intriguing effort from Lucio Fulci's "giallo" period is worthwhile for fans of this oft-psychedelic genre. The storyline enthusiastic piles soap-opera melodramatics, crazy plot twists, red herrings, bad-trip dream sequences and a healthy lashing of skin and blood. Fulci's direction lives up to the story's fever-pitch thriller theatrics with a barrage of baroque visual trickery, using everything from split-screens to colorful optical effects to keep the viewer off-kilter. His pacing lags a bit around the midsection as things slow down into a somewhat more conventional murder-mystery style but this is compensated for by the frequently breathtaking setpieces that punctuate the film: highlights include the unnerving yet erotic dream sequence that kicks off the film and nerve-wracking foot chase through an abandoned church. He also makes great use of an excellent "Euro-cult" cast, including an intense turn from Florinda Bolkan as the troubled heroine and Jean Sorel's mysterious turn as her icy, secretive husband. The payoff for the mystery isn't as slam-bang as one gets in other giallo films -- in fact, the denouement is surprisingly subdued -- but A Lizard In Woman's Skin is a wild ride that offers plenty of bizarre moments that will stay stuck in the viewer's mind.