Blue Underground // 1975 // 98 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Appellate Judge Tom Becker // March 23rd, 2012
"Becoming the third corpse would really bust my balls."
During an abortion, a woman goes into cardiac arrest and dies. The doctor phones the man who'd brought her there and gently breaks the news: "Evelyn's had it!"
Since this is all likely taking place before abortion was legalized in Italy ('78), the doctor does the only logical thing: he and the other man take the woman to her apartment, dump her in the bathtub, and turn on the water, reasoning that this would look like a "natural" death.
Bad move, Doc. Evelyn's death has put someone in a crazy place, and suddenly, everyone who knew her is at the merciless mercy of a crazy, leather-clad, helmet-wearing, sharp-object wielding psycho!
And while no one is specifically told to Strip Nude for Your Killer, Evelyn worked for a modeling agency -- the Albatross Agency, for those who like their foreshadowing without the bitter taste of irony -- where -- yowza! -- everyone walks around naked, and sex games are the order of the day.
By the time Strip Nude for Your Killer rolled out in 1975, the Italian giallo wave was in full swing. Much like the slasher glut that the U.S. would experience in the '80s, gialli were being made at an alarming rate, with dozens released in the mid-'70s alone. Giallo films were often sleazy but stylish, though by the end of the decade, with offerings like Play Motel and Giallo in Venice, "stylish" took a big hit while "sleazy" reigned supreme.
Strip Nude for Your Killer is certainly sleazy, but it still retains enough of the genre's stylish elements to keep it from being a completely icky experience. Grubby though it be, it's also a fairly breezy little film, silly enough that you don't dwell on the fates of the characters, with enough simulated sex and goofy kills that you can easily block out the wretched dialogue and barely-there plot.
As the title suggests -- well, demands, actually -- it's all pretty lurid, but since we've been set up to genuflect at the altar sleaze, the folks behind SNfYK set out to give us the bang we expect for our buck. As a result, the luridness actually feels organic; thus, it comes as no surprise that when a nude woman hears someone prowling around her house, before she goes to investigate, she puts on -- high heels! In the Strip Nude fYK universe, that makes sense. When an older gay man is killed, the police find him -- with his pants pulled down! Mind you, he's not been molested in any way, and the pants-pulling didn't happen during the parts of the killing that we saw; nor is it a trademark of the killer (though in fairness, most of the victims already have their pants off). It's simply more gross and depraved to see a dead 60-something gay guy with an exposed butt that's covered with blood, so down go the pants and in goes the shot.
The film's a lot less successful when it actually tries to be about something other than naked people being slaughtered. Strip Nude for Your Killer is a mystery insofar as we don't know who's doing the killing until the end; like many gialli, there's little mystery as to who's not doing the killing. A somewhat slack midsection tries to suggest that some of the main characters might also be suspects, but the film tries to justify these obvious attempts at creating a diversion with herrings so red, they fairly glow. There is a cute motif, though, wherein the killer runs water as a prelude to slaughter (and, in case you miss the significance, flashes back to dead Evelyn in the tub).
While it's not exactly a gem in the giallo ocean, Strip Nude for Your Killer has a few things going for it, chief among them the presence of Edwige Fenech. The beautiful Fenech dressed up a number of classic Italian thrillers, including The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh, The Case of the Bloody Iris, and Your Vice Is a Locked Room...and Only I Have the Key. She doesn't really do a whole lot of acting, but she's great to look at, frequently undressed, and brings the closest approximation of star power that we get, niche though it be. The only other actor of note is Nino Castelnuovo (Rocco and His Brothers), who plays a swingin' photographer in full-on Saturday Night Live-parody style.
The music is solid '70s Euro lounge featuring breathy-voiced women and bits of funk (yes, "funk," and if you don't believe me, just read the subtitles). The dubbing is wretched -- all the men sound like they're voiced by Jay Leno impersonators, and the women seem to have trouble keeping up with the actress's mouth movements. It's pretty garish to look at, though you kind of wish the models were wearing a few more outlandish outfits, and director Andrea Bianchi (Malabimba: The Malicious Whore -- that's a movie he made, not a pejorative) keeps things chugging along at a reasonably smutty and gory pace.
Strip Nude for Your Killer (Blu-ray) comes courtesy of Blue Underground, who also gave us the standard def release a few years ago. As is their wont, BU's release offers a far better technical presentation than the SD without adding any new, meaningful supplements (unless you count a stills gallery and International Trailer as "meaningful"). The holdover supplements from 2005 are an interview with actress Solvi Stubing and writer Massimo Falisatti (who also wrote the superior giallo The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave) called "Strip Nude for Your Giallo," and the original trailer.
Tech-wise, however, this one is miles above the earlier release. The 2.35:1/1080p high-def image is a vast improvement, clean with decent colors and decent depth of field. They've obviously used a different print for this release, sporting the English title during the credits, as opposed to the provocative Nude X l'assassino on the previous release. The framing is a bit different too, with slightly less information at the bottom and right-side of the screen.
Where this Blu-ray really shines -- and might make those with the earlier disc consider an upgrade -- is the audio. The DVD featured only the English dub track and no subtitles. For this release, Blue Underground provides both English and Italian tracks in 1.0 DTS-HD Master Audio, and both sound very good. There are also several subtitle options, including an English dub track that just spells out the English dialogue, a sub track that translates the Italian, as well as French and Spanish. This is a major improvement over the weak Dolby Mono track that was out there in 2005.
Ultimately, it's just an endless parade of dead skeevatz, but isn't that what we look for in our gialli?
Recommended for fans of the genre, with a nod to Blue Underground for its impressive tech upgrade.
Review content copyright © 2012 Tom Becker; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Blue Underground
* 2.35:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
* DTS HD 1.0 Mono (English)
* DTS HD 1.0 Mono (Italian)
Running Time: 98 Minutes
Release Year: 1975
MPAA Rating: Not Rated