L'Iguana Dalla Lingua Di Fuoco (1971)

Genres - Thriller  |   Sub-Genres - Giallo  |   Countries - France, Italy, West Germany  |  
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Stylish director Riccardo Freda gave Italy some of its greatest horror films. This gory but preposterous giallo thriller is not one of them, and in fact embarrassed him so much that he had his name removed from the credits, replaced with "Willy Pareto" even in his native land. Luigi Pistilli plays Norton, a police officer who was fired from the force after a suspect whose face he was beating grabbed his gun and splattered his own brains against a wall. This unpleasant sight is shown in close-up on three separate occasions. Norton is helping the police chase a maniac who splashed acidic vitriol in a woman's face, slit her throat, and dumped her in the trunk of the Ambassador's (Anton Diffring) car. Norton is also sleeping with the Ambassador's pretty daughter (Dagmar Lassander), which lets him get past the diplomatic smokescreen to solve the case. As might be expected, Freda fills the film with odd red herrings, like the Ambassador's drug-addled wife (Valentina Cortese), who speaks in French a great deal, a group of caricatured gay men, and a scalpel-wielding doctor (played by Freda himself) who gives the film its one moment of real tension. Aside from that, there's a dead cat in a refrigerator, a nasty wound-stitching scene, a "razor-cam," and a daft old grandmother who gives away the solution to the mystery a scant 36 minutes into the picture. Top this off with some extremely silly and politically incorrect dialogue ("The use of vitriol suggests a woman's hand, or a colored person's. They're experts at such things!"), and this Italian-French-West German co-production results in one of a great director's most blatant misfires. Dominique Boschero co-stars with Werner Pochath and Renato Romano.