169) Strip Nude for Your Killer (1975) Dir: Andrea Bianchi Date Released (DVD): October 2005 Date Seen: June 7th, 2009 Rating: 3.25/5
Andrea Bianchi's Strip Nude for Your Killer is a cut above the gialli I've seen because of the pretense of aesthetic intelligence it supplies to its gratuitous nudity, violence, camp, etc. Like Dario Argento before him, Bianchi is a self-conscious "artist" that swipes liberally from Hitchcock but unlike Argento, he does so with a sly sense of humor--as a reversal of the shower scene in Psycho, the leather-clad killer in one scene waits on the inside of the bathtub. He's also competent enough to evocatively make use of the camera so that it seems like it could be a stand-in for the killer without actually turning it into a cheesy first-person POV (though it was mannered, I was under the mistaken impression that the killer was the camera in the scene where Edwige Frenech is attacked and would leap on top of her at any moment).
Thematically, Bianchi, who also wrote the story Massimo Fellisati's screenplay is based on, even provides several strong hints that the models are merely performing so as to get ahead in the exploitative field of modeling. The killer is avenging the accidental death of a model who died during an abortion by slaying the founders of the Albatross Modeling Agency, who are all grotesque, over-sexed monsters (the worst is Maurizio, a fat slob that clutches a blow-up doll like a security blanket after he absconds from the agency with and is unable to, ahem, perform).
This is hardly revolutionary in a picture where one model proudly shows off that Bianchi was indeed able to get away with a goodly amount of full-frontal female nudity, but as I said, in a giallo, the most misogynistic of horror subgenres, that's kind of an intriguing contradiction. I mean, we are talking about a movie where the killer's motives are haphazardly explained during a scene where the protagonist, who in this case stands in for the director (Carlo Bianchi is his name, natch), teases his model/photographer girlfriend (Frenech) with the possibility that he might do her in the butt. Hardly forward-thinking, I know, but then again, I doubt anyone watching a film called Strip Nude for Your Killer is watching it as their first giallo and hence expects more than just a modicum of brains and a good serving of atmosphere to go with their blood, boobs and kitsch. In that sense, Bianchi delivers.