Andrew reviews the forthcoming Arrow Video Giallo boxed set.
|We were recently given|
a copy of this set
Death Walks on High Heels (1971)
|Look into my scary eyes!!!!|
Fans of the sexy Giallo thriller and newcomers to this kind of underground exploitation women-in-peril chiller are invited to give Death Walks on High Heels a closer look than the generic poster image of a woman being stabbed in the throat suggests. Yes we've seen this kind of Giallo done to death over the years, with De Palma's Dressed to Kill arguably being the creme-de-la-creme of the crop. Still, I had a blast watching this chunk of 1970s European sexploitation which displayed more visual flair, sensual pleasures and enough twists and turns in the story to make it worth your while. If nothing else, Death Walks on High Heels shows off the many talents of the luscious Nieves Navarro who with her husband Ercoli have delivered a beautiful and stylish Giallo classic to be cherished for years to come. Modern audiences may be a tad put off by the film's soundtrack which stinks to high heaven of Grindhouse sleaze. But, those keenly aware of the film's Grindhouse trappings are in for some sexy thriller fun with more than a few tricks up its sleeve.
Death Walks at Midnight (1972)
The second collaborative Giallo effort between husband and director Ercoli and wife/central star Navarro is decidedly less reliant on sexuality with greater emphasis on psychedelic surrealism and a heightened style. A variation on the same woman-in-peril scream queen chase movie laid out with Death Walks on High Heels, the loose companion piece Death Walks at Midnight once again stars Navarro as a damsel in distress under relentless pursuit by a ruthless killer. The premise this time around throws a funky whodunit investigative twist into the mix by having Navarro play a fashion model (a step up from stripping) who submits to an experimental drug named HDS as part of a journalistic endeavor. Upon ingesting the hallucinogen with her candid reactions documented for tabloid sensationalism, Navarro experiences a vision of a woman being murdered by an assailant with a spiked iron fist. Unclear as to whether or not it was past, present or premonitory, Navarro soon finds herself being pursued by her envisioned attacker although to mess with the audience's perception, neither she nor we are entirely sure what is real or imagined during scenes of the iron fisted man breaking down doors and seemingly around the corner at her every turn.
Nooooo!!!!! I hate ICP!!!!!
Easily the superior of the two and far more stylized, Death Walks at Midnight is a solid Giallo thriller whose convoluted murder mystery narrative builds towards an explosive climax which more than makes up for the film's lack of skin cavorting about in the first film. Both movies bear their fair share of twists and turns, but High Heels tends to disappoint when compared to the knock-around drag-out show down ending the movie. Fans of the rich color schema of High Heels will be somewhat disappointed by the more sober approach to Midnight despite having many bizarre dream sequences. Fans of the Giallo genre will be more than satisfied with the package and Navarro was quite the scream queen sex goddess in her day which is more than enough reason to give both features comprising Death Walks Twice a try. Closer to the unfinished business ghost stories akin to Stir of Echoes and the recently released Restoration than Brian De Palma despite many of his trademark motifs in both pictures, Death Walks at Midnight is best known for presenting Navarro this time around as a spunky yet still sexy heroine doing all she can to piece together clues to her mysterious vision before death comes knocking at her door.
- Andrew Kotwicki