Euro-Horror Project: All the Colors of the Dark

(Sergio Martino, 1972) Like Dario Argento, Sergio Martino has a knack for rallying talented production crews and creating visually stunning cinema. All the Colors of the Dark is so well photographed that every frame’s a case study in how to compose a shot. Even the blocking and continuity are good, along with an engrossing score by reliable Bruno Nicolai that segues from mood to mood: Baroque, classical Asian, and go-go, all with a nod to his mentor Morricone. Tack on tension, editing, style, moments of originality amid the Occult Conspiracy formula, and the porcelain-poured faces of Edwige Fenech and George Hilton, and prepare to be mesmerized. In story terms, a woman is harassed by nightmares of her murdered mom and pursued by a man in a trenchcoat — it’s Rosemary’s Baby meets Repulsion. Fenech glows in her second victim-of-satanic-cabal role (post-Case of the Bloody Iris), and Martino plays another round of Woman Wakes Up, Everyone Else in the House is Dead, and the Killer’s Afoot (compare Torso — but he does it so well). It’s not an authentic giallo, but it’s close enough to slide into the genre thanks to director, leads, design, and finale. Oh, and that eye makeup: Fenech (who possesses the charisma of Audrey Hepburn if not her talent) and other 70s sirens prowl through the movie like fabulous haute-couture tigers, gleaming Italian style. We don’t want to look away.  –Ranylt Richildis

Further reading: this great article by Donato Totaro sums it up.

What’s the Euro-Horror Project?

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