Sexual frustration is the focus of this Hitchcockian thriller from French director Claude Chabrol. Schoolteacher Hélène (Stéphane Audran) comes to a small Périgord village to begin a new job. She is soon romanced by the local butcher, Popaul (Jean Yanne), but is distracted by her job and memories of a previous ill-fated relationship. A series of brutal murders of young women and a dropped cigarette-lighter raise Hélène's suspicions about her suitor, whose pitiable, depraved compulsions lead to a gruesome conclusion. Audran, who was Chabrol's wife at the time, makes an engaging heroine, and Yanne is simultaneously scary and pathetic as the obsessive butcher.
by Robert Firsching synopsis