PASSI DI DANZA SU UNA LAMA DI RASOIO (Death Carries a Cane)
1973 - Dir: Maurizio Pradeaux - Robert Hoffmann (Alberto Morosini), Nieves Navarro (Kitty), George Martin (Inspector Merughi), Anuska Borova (Lidia Arrighi/ Silvia Arrighi), Simón Andreu (Marco), Sal Borgese (Asdrubale Magno), Luciano Rossi (Richard) - Music: Roberto Pregadio
Oh, Italian genre movies and their titles. The original Italian title, Passi di Danza su una Lama di Rasoio, reads as Dance Steps on a Razor Blade. And what to think of the German title, Die Nacht der Rollenden Köpfe (that is: The Night of the Rolling Heads)? In comparison, the title of the international, English language version almost feels insipid : Death Carries a Cane. But note that Death once rode a horse in a spaghetti western. From horse to cane is big step for mankind, but a small step for Mr. Death.
A black-clad serial killer is terrorizing the city of Rome, slicing the throats of his victims with a razor blade. A young woman called Kitty accidently witnesses one of the murders through a telescope; she only catches a glimpse of the killer’s black gloves and black hat and is therefore not able to identify him. Police inspector Merughi has only one clue: the maniac is carrying a cane, so he must be a cripple ... Suspicions fasten on Kitty’s husband, Alberto, a professional photographer with a preference for the macabre. Alberto is limping because he recently sprained his ankle ... Did Alberto or didn’t he?
Passi etc. has an international (but predominantly Spanish) cast and most actors neither look nor behave Italian (and a pimped-up Martin looks more like a gangster than a police captain!), but the director and composer are Italian and with the Roman settings, black gloves and sharp blades the movie has all the visual and atmospheric characteristics of a genuine giallo. The mystery plot and the motivation of the killer might be a bit too typical, but these movies are more about style than about plot, and in sense of style, director Pradeaux does score a few points. The finale is particularly strong, with Navorro being trapped inside a glass house, the killer stalking her, the beams of his flashlight piercing the night like sharp knives.
The movie offers the ususual doses of nudity and blood, but some stock material was inserted to make the graphic killings look more convincing, but the effect is counterproductive; with their different color pattern and definition, the insertions give the slasher scenes an untidy, occasionally cheap look. Both Navarro and the virtually unknown Borova* - in dual role - are gorgeous, so I have no complaints about the nudity.
* According to IMDB this was her only movie appearance