Directed by Riccardo Freda [Other horror films: I vampiri (1957), Caltiki il mostro immortale (1959), Maciste all’inferno (1962), L’orribile segreto del Dr. Hichcock (1962), Lo spettro (1963), L’iguana dalla lingua di fuoco (1971), Estratto dagli archivi segreti della polizia di una capitale europea (1972)]
For a late entry into the giallo subgenre, Murder Obsession isn’t terrible. It’s just not that great.
When it pops up, the gore is decently solid. A good throat-slitting with a chainsaw was the stand-out scene, but there’s a few others strewn about within the last thirty minutes or so. As always, the multitude of suspects made it a bit more fun, but to be honest, the conclusion was generally pretty meh.
Which is the biggest concern with this movie. Oh, the meandering plot and sluggish pacing didn’t help, nor the fact that the first murder doesn’t take place until an hour has gone by, but the ending isn’t that satisfactory. I do like how we got two different possible chains of events, told by two different characters, but it was moderately obvious which one was the one that really happened. Lastly, one of those dream sequences went on far too long – I don’t think we need a ten-minute dream (complete with one of the fakest-looking spiders in the history of cinema) when three minutes would have sufficed.
Stefano Patrizi made for an interesting lead character, what with his uncertainty over his past actions. His character was actually sort of a dick a lot of the time, but like I said, that makes him a bit more interesting. John Richardson (who has been in a quite a few horror films, such as Black Sunday, Frankenstein ’80, Torso, Eyeball, and Nine Guests for a Crime) had a great screen presence, though his character didn’t end up doing that much for me. Silvia Dionisio does moderately well, but past the halfway point of the film, she doesn’t appear that much. Finally, Anita Strindberg was generic through a lot of the film, but really picked up her performance toward the end.
Directed by Riccardo Freda (who was behind 1963’s Lo spettro, a favorite of mine, along with a few other 70’s horror flicks), Murder Obsession lacked some of the mystery I’d have preferred for a giallo. There was no shortage of suspects, but like I said, it was somewhat obvious where it was going. Not a bad film, but for a giallo, this doesn’t really stand out much.