Delitti E Profumi (1989)

Genres - Mystery  |   Run Time - 98 min.  |   Countries - Italy  |  
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Italian filmmaker Vittorio De Sisti, previously a second unit director on the seminal giallo Chi l'ha Vista Morire, and accomplished giallo screenwriter Franco Ferrini bite the hand that feeds them in this mildly amusing genre parody. From the film's opening sequence, in which a subjective camera menacing a group of shoppers turns out to be more interested in pinching their behinds than killing them, the film's silly tone indicates a desire to do to the giallo film what Student Bodies did to the slasher film. Jerry Cala stars as Eddie, a hapless private detective hired by the local mall to investigate a series of gruesome murders in which women wearing a certain type of perfume go up in flames when they get near heat. In a nod to Tenebre and innumerable other gialli, the deaths are tied to a long-ago incident in which a frequently taunted young girl was terribly scarred by chemicals in an accident on the beach. At one point, a woman bursts into flames in full bridal attire, and the violent set pieces are well-staged by De Sisti and nicely shot by cinematographer Beppe Maccari, notably the startling immolation of platinum-blonde Eva Grimaldi while teasing her boyfriend in his car's headlight beams. Ferrini and co-writers Oreste De Fornari and Francesco Massaro are obviously familiar with the genre, and pepper the screenplay with various references sure to cause smiles of knowing recognition in giallo devotees. There are also some nice performances by Umberto Smailia (as the obligatory dedicated police inspector), Simonetta Gianfelici, and Marina Viro, but the film stumbles because of a fundamental paradox; the giallo film relies on several elements -- outrageous plotting, graphic violence, a certain visual style -- all of which are incompatible with this sort of parody.