Euro-Horror Project: Your Vice Is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key

(Sergio Martino, 1972) Sergio Martino is my favorite giallo director after Argento, and my favorite spaghetti Western director after Leone. The man’s laid some lemons, but when he’s on, he’s a contender. In Your Vice, a misogynistic writer (Luigi Pistilli) loathes all women, but he especially loathes his wife (Anita Strindberg). Despite mistreating her, brutish Oliviero expects Irena to stand by him as he works to clear his name off a list of suspects; someone’s cutting down the local womenfolk as tension clenches at home. The tension doubles when Oliviero’s niece (Edwige Fenech) drops in for a visit and vamps it up in both directions. With a very broad nod to Poe’s The Black Cat, Your Vice crossdresses with the vestments of two genres – Gothic and giallo – and results in a tight horror/drama for lovers of Italian cinematic style. Its dreary atmosphere and its melancholic score by Bruno Nicolai (Morricone’s protege) set it apart, with the help of superior dialog and dubbing. It’s always a joy to watch Martino indulge in camerawork that grabs his nifty 70s interior designs with a perfect frame. It’s also good to see my beloved Fenech — that luminous she — trade in her shuddering victim act for the role of ballsy instigator, all independence and go-go groove. Martino, Fenech, and prolix titles like this one are partly why I have such a weakness for these films. (Also goes by the title Gently Before She Dies.)

What’s the Euro-Horror Project?

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