Judge David Johnson must judge again.
Seriously, he's got to kill again. That's what killers do.
Mondo Macabra, the studio that specializes in lovingly rejuvenating a wide selection of wacky world cinema, returns with this Italian shocker thriller "Giallo" film. Part of this genre marked by cinematic sensationalism, The Killer Must Kill Again comes courtesy of Luigi Cozzi, the protégé of master Giallo filmmaker Dario Argento. Does the movie deliver?
Facts of the Case
A well-to-do businessman named Mainardi (George Hamilton) loves the ladies. There is, however, only one things standing in the way of unbridled womanizing: his wife. So what's a horny old guy to do? And where's a soulless psychopath when you need one? The gods of debauchery must have been smiling on him, because that's just who he meets—a deranged killer.
The nameless killer (Antoine Saint-John) is too busy dropping a car into the river—and disposing of a body—to notice he's being watched. But when Mainardi corners him and threatens blackmail…well, kids, it looks like the killer must kill again.
Mainardi offers the killer a wad of money, plus his silence (on the witnessed crime), if he promises to murder his wife. The killer accepts, and fulfills his obligation. He puts Mainardi's wife's body into the trunk of his car and leaves to clean up the crime scene—but, to his shock, he finds that his car's been stolen by a couple of joy-riders.
The killer boosts a car of his own and pursues the young thieves. And when he catches them, there will hell to pay.
The Killer Must Kill Again is a solid, suspenseful, often shocking Italian import, which Mondo Macabra treats with triple-A respect. As far as sensational sequences and colorful characters go, Cozzi's debut fulfills the necessary requirements on the Giallo checklist.
Antoine Saint-John makes for a fantastic killer. He's eerie-thin and has a face so taut it's as if he was born without enough skin to wrap around his skull, so doctors had to stretch it. The end result is an actor who doesn't need a hint of makeup to look like a psycho. (I hope this didn't affect his personal life.)
This excellent casting, mixed with Cozzi's deliberate pacing generates a tangible feeling of atmospheric dread in the film. For example, the sequence where the killer stalks Mainardi's wife is nerve-wracking. Later, when he confronts the two young car thieves, the suspense is palpable, leading up to the most shocking scene in the film.
The scene is a rape, and though the actual images on-screen aren't graphic, it comes across as extraordinarily vivid. This is thanks to Cozzi's deftness as a director. First, he juxtaposes the rape with a sequence of casual sex (which is graphic); putting these two scenes together, and alternating between titillation and revulsion, really throws the viewer for a loop. Second, his up-close camera work on the victim's and killer's faces are much more disturbing than any graphic nudity that could be shown.
At its heart, The Killer Must Kill Again is a suspense/mystery film with a few sensationalistic moments. Luckily, it's a good suspense/ mystery film, and the plot and the characters (plus a great ending) aren't overwhelmed by the "Giallo"-like shock and awe tendencies.
It also helps to have Mondo Macabra distributing this. This is a great studio, and it proves it again with a really top-notch transfer. I was amazed at how pristine a picture the studio was able wring from the thirty year-old print. The audio suffers a little, with the 2.0 digital mix coming across shallow and tinny. Two tracks are offered: one in the original Italian and one dubbed decently in English. The Italian mix is a bit louder, but I was fine with the English alternative. The third track features the director; an interviewer is used as foil to elicit trivia and anecdotes. The set-up works, and it's an interesting track, particularly when Cozzi reminisces about his experiences with Argento.
Bonus materials include an interview with Cozzi, am interesting feature on the Giallo genre, and a tribute to Dario Argento. All three are interesting additions and do a great job of setting up context for the film. Trailers and an image gallery wrap it up.
Another smooth offering from the folks at Mondo Macabra. Their mantra is to expose you to craziness from all the continents, and they do it with class. The Killer Must Kill Again is a nifty little Italian shock thriller.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Mondo Macabro
• Audio Commentary with Director
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