5 donne per l'assassino (1974)

Genres - Thriller  |   Sub-Genres - Giallo  |   Countries - France , Italy   |  
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Fifteen years before achieving cult status with the ludicrous giallo thriller Arabella, l'Angela Nero, director Stelvio Massi explored the genre in this far more conventional (though uncharacteristically misogynistic and gruesome) Italian-French co-production. Francis Matthews stars as Giorgio Pisani, a reporter who comes home from an overseas assignment to find his baby in the hospital and his wife dead. The baby isn't his, Giorgio learns from his doctor friend Lydia Franzi (Pascale Rivault), as he is quite sterile. Giorgio and Lydia soon become lovers, and she narrowly escapes the brutal hands of the murderer (or murderers) who claims several other victims in shockingly violent fashion. Vincenzo Mannino and Gianfranco Clerici, who co-wrote the screenplay with Roberto Gianviti, place the focus on distinctly sexual violence, with the same graphic breast and genital mutilation which would make their collaboration on Lucio Fulci's 1982 giallo Lo Squartatore di New York among the most notoriously excessive films of the genre. The presentation of the murders is more muted here, as Massi and cinematographer Sergio Rubini attempt to make this thriller more stylish than gory. Giorgio Gaslini (Profondo Rosso) composed the score, and the cast includesRenato Rossini (aka Howard Ross), Carla Mancini, Lorenzo Piani, and a young Ilona Staller, who would later became Italy's most famous adult film star under the name "Cicciolina," as well as winning a seat in the Italian Parliament. Available versions run between 89 and 95 minutes.