Strip Nude For Your Killer

Strip Nude For Your Killer (Andrea Bianchi, 1975)

aka Nude per l’assassino

Set in and around a fashion house in Milan, Andrea Bianchi’s 1975 giallo effort STRIP NUDE FOR YOUR KILLER epitomises exploitation cinema; a film that is so balls-to-the-wall (or should that be bush-to-the-wall?) in terms of it’s depiction of nudity and sex, that it’s surely one of the most salacious and lurid examples of a genre that was pretty sleazy to begin with. That said, Bianchi’s film doesn’t even try and trouble the reputation of some of the best gialli, as the plot literally serves as the dots between each scene of gratuitous sex and nudity; but then again, most viewers aren’t going to be watching a film called STRIP NUDE FOR YOUR KILLER because they’re interested in sating their appetite with an intriguing thriller.. Bianchi’s film seems to have been borne out of the same “twenty words or less” pitches that were made famous by the high concept event pictures of the eighties and early nineties where a film could be summarised by either a title or very, very short sentence. With this in mind, the film delivers wholesale, as many of the beauties that orbit the film’s plot do strip and are indeed killed for your viewing pleasure.

Bianchi sets the tone immediately, with a between-the-legs shot of a young woman lying atop of a gynaecologist’s examination table. When said young woman dies during a botched procedure, the setting shifts to a fashion house in Milan. One by one those that are connected with the business are murdered. A killer clad in crash helmet and motor cycle leathers begins to dispatch photographers and models, seemingly indiscriminately, though in true giallo style, there’s a motivation behind the psycho’s actions. As mentioned earlier, the plot of STRIP NUDE FOR YOUR KILLER is functional at best and it’s the set pieces that are of most interest here. The murders come as thick and fast as the comely beauties that are affiliated with the fashion house. And what beauties they are; because no matter how short Bianchi’s film falls in terms of narrative ingenuity, such shortcomings can be overcome when you’re being subjected to oodles of naked Euro goddesses—headed by the lovely Edwige Fenech–flesh that is on offer here. One can easily forgive Bianchi’s liberal theft from the likes of Mario Bava’s BLOOD AND BLACK LACE–with which it shares its fashion industry setting–and Massimo Dallamano’s WHAT HAVE THEY DONE TO YOUR DAUGHTER, from which it steals the look of it’s killer.

Curiously, there isn’t one male character in the film that’s not portrayed as either a voyeur or some kind of sex pest. Even one of the detectives (one that seems to have raided Inspector Clouseau’s wardrobe) can’t stop himself from staring at the crotch of an interviewee! It’s this type of characterization that adds to the films overall aura of sleaziness and results in a sum of parts that really must be seen to be believed. Because each of the film’s male characters, and even some of the parts inhabited by women, are such lecherous predators, Bianchi manages to inspire a feeling within that viewer that leads them to believe that anything can happen, and frequently does.

Shameless’ new DVD release of the film marks the first time it has been released in the UK. While the quality of the audio/visual presentation is a significant step up from the X-Rated Kult Film release from Germany, the print—presented uncut and in anamorphic 2.35:1–still leaves a lot to be desired when compared to other gialli of similar vintage. Picture quality is solid for the most part through daylight and well-lit interior scenes but there’s a fair amount of grain present in those taking place a night. The English soundtrack is far better than that included on the German disc and does a great job of presenting audible dialogue and Roberto Pisano’s catchy music score. The film’s trailer and previews for other Shameless titles are the only extras.

All in all, this is another solid presentation from Shameless. While both narrative and picture quality leave a lot to be desired, the lashings of bare naked beauties and an overall kitsch appeal should please fans that do not own the film already.

(Paul Alaoui)

 

Ernesto Gastaldi Talks to lovelockandload

Ernesto Gastaldi is a name intrinsically linked to the genesis of Italian cinema during the sixties and seventies. A screenwriter and occasional filmmaker with well over a hundred credits to his name, and a frequent collaborator with stalwarts of cinema such as Sergio Leone, Umberto Lenzi and Sergio Martino, Ernesto’s contribution to the world of Eurocult is extremely significant. In an exclusive lovelockandload interview, Kim August asked Ernesto to shed some light on his involvement in the making of some of Italy’s most exciting genre films.

It’s rumoured the shooting of THE HORRIBLE SECRET OF DR HICHCOCK was running over schedule. So director Riccardo Freda literally tore out pages of the screenplay to get the film back on track. What was eliminated from the script? And do you feel this act compromised your original concept?

As I’ve told many times, Freda was a genius. He tore out 8 or 9 pages of the script, but not only for schedule problem, but he wanted to cancel a dialogue where there was the explanation of the mystery.

He asked my permission and I laughed “This way all becomes incomprehensible!” Freda smirked, saying “That is exactly what I want!”

In another interview you touched on your involvement in the writing of Sergio Leone’s ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA. From what I understand, it was a film that was long in gestation. Can you elaborate on what you brought to the project?

Not so much because Sergio and the last writers changed a lot. I wrote a big treatment following the novel a little more. Sergio kept my scenes about the adolescence of the little gangsters.

I protested with Sergio when I saw the boy eating the candy because he was FAT! That was wrong! The boy had to be very hungry and slim.

You also collaborated on two of the Italian westerns Leone produced – MY NAME IS NOBODY and A GENIUS TWO PARTNERS AND A DUPE – what was your working relationship with Leone like? Did it differ from those that you had with other filmmakers of the time?

Completely different. I wrote these two scripts at home by night, but every days for months I have to go to Sergio’s home to read the new scenes and discuss them. Frequently Sergio invited directors, journalists, friends and he played in detail the scenes, always beginning from the first one: ” A red sunset. Three men on horses are drawing near and nearer… clop, clop, clop…” to spy the faces of the people: interested? bored? I was probably the less bored, since Sergio was a great storyteller.

During the seventies you were involved in the writing of many of the police thrillers that were popular of the time. Did any of these projects require you to be on set and if so, what are your memories of stars such as Franco Nero, Tomas Milian, Maurizio Merli and Luc Merenda?

Sorry. I was not on set, in those days I had always too much to write. I met these actors, sometime at home, or in the Carlo Ponti’s office , or chez Martino. I have a great memory of Giancarlo Giannini because he made his debut as movie actor in LIBIDO, that was also my debut as director!

In your gialli, Less is more. Less violence, more sex.  Were  you writing for your own tastes, the censors, the audience?

When the first character was Edwige Fenech I have to put on my script almost 3 scenes of shower… Joking aside, I like thrillers with a big emotional involvement and sex is a strong one.

You had a wonderful run with Sergio Martino, gialli, crime, science fiction. What was your working relationship like?

A good friendship lasting even now. Sergio Martino is a very good director, greater than the movies he, too often, had to direct.

What is your favorite screenplay and/or film with Sergio Martino?

MILANO TREMA: LA POLIZIA VUOLE GIUSTIZIA.

Some of my favorite elements in your thrillers revolve around the stalking of the protagonist by the villain(s) (TORSO, THE LONELY, VIOLENT BEACH, ALL THE COLOURS OF THE DARK) –  you’ve mentioned writing 20 gialli in three years you had to constantly push yourself to do something more than the previous film? How difficult was this?

Just a little. I amused myself writing this kind of plot! I also wrote some thriller novels, before becoming a screenwriter.

I won an award in 1957 with a comedy called A COME ASSASSINO (many years after someone made a movie from it). In 1955 I managed to be selected at the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia di Roma because I wrote an amateur movie, a thriller named LA STRADA CHE PORTA LONTANO, very appreciated by the great director Alessandro Blasetti.

Torso foreshadowed many of the slasher films in the late 70s/early 80s. What are your feelings on this?

I didn’t realise it. (That the film had been so influential – Ed)

Which actors do you feel performed your works the best?

Mara Maryl, Giancarlo Giannini, Marcello Mastroianni, Sofia Loren, Alan Collins, Barbara Steele, Giuliano Gemma, Terence Hill, Henry Fonda, Jack Palance, Anthony Quinn and others.

I thought Robert Hoffmann was an excellent choice for the lead biker in your film THE LONELY, VIOLENT BEACH. Your thoughts on Hoffmann and the film?

Oh yes! he was a great choice. That was a very low budget movie, but I like it.

During the course of your career you have been involved with the writing films covering all the staples of popular Italian cinema: peplums, gialli, crime films, science fiction, westerns, etc? Of these, was there a particular genre you were happiest working in?

I’d like to write, and even, direct science fiction, but it was really impossible for decades. I wrote a plot very similar to BACK TO THE FUTURE 20 years before , located in Italy. The protagonist traveled to the past and, during the second world war, when Mussolini was the chief of Italy, met two very poor girls in Naples, two sisters, one of those named Sofia… He told to a friend: “Look at them: one will married the Mussolini’s son! But the real incredibly thing is that that marriage will be very popular because of the other sister, who will become the most great movie star of the world!”

I named the script THE END OF ETERNITY. Nobody gave it the green light!

SECRETS OF A CALL GIRL stands out amongst your work as it transcends genre: while essentially a crime film, it has elements of the sentimental dramas and the erotic movies popular in Italy at the time. What were your motivations when you were writing?

I think… the money! Luciano Martino suggested the story to me. He was the producer.

‘Hands Of Steel’ is considered to be the Italian reaction to James Cameron’s ‘Terminator’. How was the original concept developed, and what are your thoughts on the film’s stars, David Greene and Janet Agren?

I think I never saw this movie. I only wrote a part of the script.

Same question but about 2019: AFTER THE FALL OF NEW YORK, and star Michael Sopkiw.

I like this movie, even if it was a kind of SF not particularly loved by me. The movie had been made because of the big success of ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK. I think Sopkiw was quite good.

Tell us about one of your first films as a director, CIN… CIN… CIANURO!. Why was it that the film received scant distribution to the point that very few people have seen it?

My debut was LIBIDO (1965) starring Mara Maryl, Giancarlo Giannini, Alan Collins and Dominique Boschero. Now this very little movie is a cult movie among fans. I was also co-producer of LIBIDO and this movie has been also the argument of my thesis of my baccalaureat in Economy!

CIN… CIN… CIANURO! was a very brilliant comedy, played very well by Mara Maryl and Brad Harris. Unfortunately the distributor, LUX FILM, went bankrupt.

The making of popular films in Italy was at its most prolific during the sixties and seventies before going into decline in the eighties. What are your thoughts on why this came to be?

TV broadcasting. Mr. Berlusconi had all free public TV frequencies stolen paying a bribe to the former premier Bettino Craxi and started broadcasting three movies a day on “his” three new networks! Not only the movie industry declined , the democracy too…

Do you feel the lack of stories are the undoing of today’s films?

I don’t like very much the new Italian cinema, with rare exception like IL DIVO.  Now the current fashion is to put a boring speaker who tell you a big part of the story and to cut the plot muddling up the scenes. Maybe PULP FICTION has been the first offender.

Given that you have been involved in the writing of well over a hundred different films, which are those that you consider to be seminal or you are the most proud to have been a part of making?

I’m very proud that I has been able to write two hundred scripts (117 of them made into feature films!) having three children playing around and the TV set always on! Joking aside, I like very much LIBIDO starring Mara Maryl and Giancarlo Giannini, LA PUPA DEL GANGSTER starring Sofia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni, I GIORNI DELL’IRA starring Giuliano Gemma and  Lee Van Cleef, IL MIO NOME E’ NESSUNO starring Henry Fonda and Terence Hill, MILANO TREMA starring Luc Merenda and Richard Conte, LA FRUSTA E IL CORPO starring Daliah Lavi and Cristopher Lee, LA BATTAGLIA DI  EL ALAMEIN starring George Hilton, Fredrick Stafford, Robert Hossein, NOTTURNO CON GRIDA, starring Mara Maryl, Gerardo Amato, L’UOVO DEL CUCULO starring Malisa Longo, Vassili Karamesinis, CRIMINE CONTRO CRIMINE starring Marina Giulia Cavalli, Adalberto Maria Merli, Giorgio Albertazzi, Francesco Benigno.

Interview conducted via email February 2009 by Kim August.

Top Sensation – Early Specs Announced

Posted over on the forum in the TOP SENSATION thread Camera Obscura have let slip about some of the specs for the 2 disc set…

Well, our plan right now is this: we will make a brand-new transfer from the original Italian negative. We can’t tell as of now what scenes it will contain, but probably, if any cuts were made, this footage might also be still in the lab (which was the case with SO SWEET, SO DEAD). We will check this out and try to make the most complete cut out of what’s there in terms of original elements. This will go on the first disc. The second disc will contain what we call the “Frankenstein Version” and will be bastard cut of all the scenes that can’t be found in the Italian version with the Italian version as the basis since it will have the best quality, of course.

So far we could only locate VHS tapes of various other cuts. We would prefer to transfer 16 or 35mm prints of the other cuts but so far we couldn’t dig up ANY. Not even the German version with the crazy additional footage filmed only for that release.

So if you are or know collectors, please help us out with any information you can provide. We try to make the best version possible out of what’s more or less a lost film. It’s our biggest endeavor so far, and we can use all the help we can get. This is a true fan project, and we already got a lot of help behind the scenes, especially from members of this forum. Thanks so much, guys!

…Oh, before I forget, the additional scenes can not only be viewed in the Frankenstein cut, but also separately in a deleted scenes section. So you won’t have to see the movie all over again to watch that footage…

…The first finished extra for THE SEDUCERS (TOP SENSATION) is an animated photo novel just like the one on our SO SWEET, SO DEAD disc.

To read the whole thread head on over to this link

Cinema X Talks to Edwige Fenech

Cinema X Talks to Edwige Fenech

Interview by Luigi Cozzi

This interview was first published in Cinema X (Vol.3 number 3) circa 1970 and re-printed in Cinema X ‘Super-X Special’ No. 4. It is reproduced here as published.

It’s not everyone’s luck to be born on Christmas Eve. But it happened to actress Edwige Fenech. The date which appears on her passport is December 24 th , 1948, and that makes her twenty-two years of age.

Twenty-two gorgeous years, may I add. Edwige Fenech is tall and slender, moves with grace and elegance and exudes class and culture to a remarkable degree. She lives in Rome , where a short time ago she moved.

“It was a talent scout who invited me to Rome ”, Edwige Fenech tells me, speaking Italian easily and correctly in a sweet, melodious French accent. “I took part in a Miss Universe contest as the representative from France and attracted some attention. I was asked to come to Italy to live and try to get somewhere in movies, and I accepted. At this point I’m very happy I came”

Luigi Cozzi: “But hadn’t you already done some work in the French cinema?”

Edwige Fenech: “No. I had just had a few jobs as a photographer’s model and had also done some bits in the theatre. The theatre has always been my passion, and I hoped to be successful at it one day. But the cinema came along instead, and I ended up here… I’m happy about it, however, because a whole new world has opened up to me – much vaster than the theatre. After all, that’s what films are all about, isn’t it?

LC: “Have you been in Italy long?”

EF: “Three years. It’s a very beautiful country – in fact, I would say that Rome is the most beautiful city in the world”

LC: “Where is your family from?”

EF: “I come from Nice, just like my parents. I often go there to visit them, but when I can’t get away, my mother comes down to see me. Mama is often here in Rome with me. She helps me, keeps me company and has a good time, because Rome is a wonderful city”

LC: “What do your parents think of the career you have chosen to follow? You have made ‘For Adults Only’ type pictures for the most part. Wearing just the bear essentials”

EF: “They are happy at the present time and satisfied with what I have been able to do. They know it has been a hard, uphill road for me, and what success I have had has been gotten the hard way. You know, acting with almost all your clothes off doesn’t shorten the road to the top. All actresses take their clothes off nowadays, but only a few get there and stay there. I feel I have arrived, and my mother is very happy about it”

LC: “But don’t you feel embarrassed about getting undressed on the set?”

EF: “Oh, it’s terrible. Especially the first times on the early films… I didn’t know how to behave and I was frightfully ashamed. Then I resigned myself to it, rather I got used to it… after all these are things you have to do in the movies whether you like it or not. The public demands it. Certainly it’s never pleasant to disrobe in front of so many technicians and fellow actors. I always have the feeling, when I get dressed again, that they are still looking at me as if I had nothing on. And I don’t even want to talk about what happens in the theatres where they show my pictures… I went to see MADAME BOVARY again in a first run film theatre, and I turned as red as a beet when I saw myself naked on the screen. Meanwhile the audience began to get noisy and exchange unprintable remarks”

LC: “However, this always happens, in all movies, whenever an actress undresses. Italians as an audience are warm and expressive”

EF: “Yes, but it’s not always like that. That picture (MADAME BOVARY) really upset me, but when I saw the scene with the nude buttocks in SOLDIER BLUE, I noticed that the public remained perfectly calm, wasn’t noisy and made no remarks”

LC: “Well, excuse me, but that’s not a very appropriate example. Candice Bergen didn’t have much to do, erotically speaking, in that scene… if that pair of buttocks was really hers. It was a touch of humour more than anything else, with the wagon jolting along and the couple plastered together like slices of salami… in 500 MILLION HIT ON THE NATIONAL BANK, Ursula Andress is nude from beginning to end, but everything is done with such grace and finesse that the picture has not even been prohibited for minors of fourteen years of age. MADAME BOVARY is, on the other hand, more obvious, laying the emphasis on physical eroticism. When the leading lady emerges topless, I think the explosion on the part of the audience is quite understandable”

“Perhaps”, agrees Edwige Fenech with an embarrassed smile. Just talking about this scene makes her blush spontaneously. “I realise it’s not a good film, but I also know that doing the role helped me a great deal in that it introduced me to the public by exploiting what I had to offer physically. All in all, I owe a lot of my present success to it”

LC: “Will you continue to accept these sex-kitten roles?”

EF: “If possible, no. At least, if the sex sequences are motivated and justified by the demands of the plot and aesthetic considerations, then I would say yes. But I shall say no absolutely to a picture which presents sex for sex’s sake with no other justifications”

LC: “How many pictures have you made so far?”

EF: “Eighteen I believe. Yes, I’m not very satisfied with them, but I must admit they have all been important for getting me before the public and catapulting me up to where I am now. Now I am preparing myself to enter the second stage of my career, and I really would like to make a success with my talent and acting gifts rather than just with my beauty. I’m counting a great deal on a film I’ve just finished making, THE STRANGE VICE OF MRS. WARD, directed by Sergio Martino on the scenario of a thriller by Ernest Gastaldi. I adore suspense films and think this one in particular is very beautiful, full of chills and special effects.

LC: “What films are your favourites?”

EF: “SOLDIER BLUE, CROMWELL and THEY SHOOT HORSES DON’T THEY? Are the first ones which come to my mind. I adore Richard Harris as an actor as well as a man. I think he’s great, magnificent – he makes me dream with my eyes open”

LC: “Leaving the cinema aside for a moment, what are your preferences in life?”

EF: “I lead a tranquil, sheltered life. I have a few friends – boys who go to university – solid citizens. I like music too and almost always listen to pop records – Jimi Hendrix and Otis Redding. However, when I’m alone and sad, I prefer to listen to classical music: it’s more relaxing”

LC: “Do you live alone?”

EF: “I live in an apartment… which I must change, because I’m alone when my mother’s not here. Do you know that thieves have tried to break in here twice? Now I’m looking for a new apartment in a safer area. It’s the only thing to do, don’t you think?”