Director: Massimo Dallamano
Starring: Stephanie Beacham, Ivan Rassimov, Patricia Hayes / Richard Johnson, Joanna Cassidy, Ida Galli
Runtime: 94 mins / 88 mins
Reviewed by Guy Adams
A pair of movies from director Massimo Dallamano, a somewhat unsung film-maker of many fine Italian exploitation (Pastaploitation?) pictures during the seventies. Director of photography for, amongst many others, Sergio Leoneâ€™s wonderous A Fistful of Dollars and For a Few Dollars More, Dallamano went on to be a director of twelve movies before his untimely death in 1976. Working across a mix of genres, horror to spaghetti western, police thriller to erotica, Dallamano could always be relied upon to bring class to the proceedings and, unsurprisingly, a great eye for scene composition.
The first of these two releases, Super Bitch (or Blue Movie Black Mail, or Mafia Junction or the, frankly unwieldy original title Si PuÃ² Essere PiÃ¹ Bastardi Dell’ispettore Cliff? which Google tells me means It May Be More Bastards Inspector Cliff?) is an Italian crime picture that seems to have gone out of its way to appeal to my twisted psyche. We open with prune-faced Eternal Gran, Patrica Hayes introduced as a Mafia boss. Yes. Within ten minutes sheâ€™s driving like a lunatic indulging in a car chase to the death and Iâ€™m checking the room for hidden cameras. Shortly after, Michael Sheard has his brains blown out on the inside of his newspaper and Stephanie Beacham turns up and takes all her clothes off. I am not entirely sure but I may well be the reincarnation of Dallamano, because all this pleased me beyond words.
The filmâ€™s nonsense. Utterly, utterly bonkers, (Bad Patâ€™s sons like to sing Mariachi tunes while beating people up for Godâ€™s sake) but thatâ€™s rather its appeal. I challenge anyone to watch this jolly slice of Euro hokum and keep their jaw in place throughout.
The second release is a more traditional affair, a horror picture in the demonic possession vein that was so de rigeur after the worldwide success of The Exorcist. Richard Johnson (who always moved through his movies with such easy charm and presence, like animated beef in beige flannels) is a documentary maker for the BBC,Â travellingÂ to a quiet village in Italy where Bad Things Happen.Â The Night Child belongs to the school of Italian horror that allows said Bad Things to play out gently rather than frenetically. There are long shots of countryside and old buildings, Stelvio Cipriani is tinkling menacingly on his harpsichord and Wise Old Villagers look on and nod knowingly. Itâ€™s not up there with Mario Bavaâ€™s work in this vein (but then, what is?) but itâ€™s still an attractive and classy affair. Nicoletta Elmi, the grotesquely horrid kid from Argentoâ€™s Deep Red is as punchable as ever and Dallamano manages to combine beauty with chills.
Both were released on the 29th October and come with the usual, attractive Arrow package, Graham Humphreys covers, booklets and a scattering of special features.