Review Date: November 7, 2005
Released by: Blue Underground
Release date: 10/25/2005
Region 0, NTSC
Widescreen 2.35:1 | 16x9: Yes
Of all the B-movie European screen sirens, few have a following as dedicated as hearty as Edwige Fenech. Curvaceous, confident and with exotic cat eyes, she exuded a show-stopping beauty every time she was in frame. Horror fans remember her for her number of memorable contributions to the giallo genre, the most memorable of which being The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh
and The Case of the Bloody Iris
. For every giallo she made though, there was an equal amount of sex comedies – she practically trademarked both genres throughout the seventies. Strip Nude For Your Killer
is interesting then, in the way it caters to both of Fenech’s key genres, melding the shameless sex comedy with the gritty giallo. After a year of great Fenech movies from NoShame, Blue Underground has decided to take a stab at the exotic beauty’s collection with Strip Nude For Your Killer
. Let’s undress this infamous film.
The film begins with an expressive blue hue. Evelyn, a knocked up fashion model, is getting a seedy abortion. Midway through however, she suffers a coronary and dies before the bloody hand of the doctor. Afraid, he dumps her off in a bathtub and passes the incident off as suicide. It is clear that the doctor was not acting alone, and that others still are responsible for her unfortunate death. What is also clear is that someone else was watching, and the witness will do whatever possible to avenger her death.
The film then moves forward into the world of fashion and photography, where a number of suspects and victims leave their mark. Carlo (Nino Castelnuovo
) is the big photographer in town and Magda (Edwige Fenech
) is his shapely assistant. Lucia (Femi Benussi
) looks to be the newest fashion sensation on the block, that is until she ends up meeting an uncomfortable death from a killer clad in leather and a motorcycle helmet. Patrizia (Solvi Stubing
) looks to be the next top model, but she begins to worry when top dog cameraman Mario is also found dead. When a few others turn up dead, it becomes clear that the murders are linked and that somehow all the victims tie into the tragedy of the opening abortion. But how?
Although the title would suggest otherwise, Strip Nude For Your Killer
is a surprisingly tasteful thriller. The title implies misogyny, but the title really swings both ways. Just as many men as women meat their death by the hand of the killer, and the gender ratio of nudity is nearly as equal. If ever women are mistreated in the film, and indeed they are, the movie seems to be condemning it rather than promoting it as most gialli of its time would do. At the center of the story is the objectification of women, and how they are viewed as nothing but the subject of the phallic male camera lens. Their desire for fame is exploited by horny businessmen, such as the grossly overweight Maurizo (Franco Diogene
). Maurizo’s character is the most interesting of all, in that he asks his models to strip and have sex with him, yet he ends up the most embarrassingly violated of all. Impotent and rejected, he is seen in wide shot from the window as he cries in the hands of a blowup doll. Driving the film is man’s destructive sexual perversity, which not only brings about the abortion of the opening, but also suggests that it lives on after the death of the murderer when Carlo “jokingly” tries to violate Magda from behind.
Director Andrea Bianchi straddles a fine line in presenting typical giallo thrills alongside seemingly innocuous sex comedy. For every murder there is a lighthearted love scene between Fenech and Castelnuovo, making the production seem on the surface “The Best of Edwige”. Yet, it’s almost as if Bianchi is using Fenech’s two typecast genres and her image as a whole as yet another tool in his visual essay on the sexualization and exploitation of women in the arts. The women in the film are often exploited in Strip, just as they are in most sex comedies of the time, yet the lighter tone of these scenes trick the audiences into thinking there is nothing wrong with such conduct. It’s funny. It isn’t though, and the discomfort of the mistreatment in the “happy” ending is no doubt more noticeable than it ever was when the film was released. Bianchi knows what he is dealing with here, and he makes his case quite convincingly. Who would have imagined such thematic maturity coming from the same director that brought the incestual tit-ripping of Burial Ground
Most of the reviews dub the film “trashy”, “sleazy” and “tasteless”, but truth be told its no more racy than your average Martino. There is slightly more nudity than average, but it’s never brought to such sadomasochistic extremes as movies like The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh
or Lizard in a Woman’s Skin
. The murders too, are not nearly as perverse as the reviews would suggest, as all the victims get cut up in roughly the same tame fashion. We get a castration at the finale, but that’s more to hammer home the theme of feminist exploitation than it is to tantalize audiences with bloodshed. It is as if past reviewers of Strip simply read the title and turned their blinders on looking for any and all things sleaze, tallying a boob count rather than considering why they were shown. This is an elegantly shot and scored production, and its reviews don’t do the presentation justice. Despite its quality, Strip Nude For Your Killer
may never live down it’s name.
Right from the start, the most noticeable facet of this 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer is its grain. There is a hefty coating of grain throughout, certainly more than we’ve come to expect as of late. The resulting image is also soft and with scratch lines and dust specs visible throughout. With that out of the way though, the color representation is up to Blue Underground’s usual high standards. So despite the quality of the master itself, the House O’ Lustig has made sure it at the very least pops with bright colors. The opening scene is also corrected with a proper blue hue, which is removed in several other home video versions of the film, including X-Rated’s R2 DVD. The print may not be sterling, but the vivid color scheme makes it more than watchable.
The film is presented in English mono only, which wouldn’t be so bad if we hadn’t been spoiled by NoShame’s routine English and Italian language inclusions. Nevertheless, the film sounds fine in mono, without any jarring problems noticeable. The audio sounds overall slightly muted, and it tends to get muffled in the higher amplitudes. There is minimal noise or hiss though, and generally it’s a clean mix. No better or worse than your average mono giallo mix.
Like Blue Underground’s work on Anchor Bay’s previous giallo set, this is outfitted with a nice little featurette and a trailer. The featurette is entitled “Strip Nude For Your Giallo” and contains interviews with co-writer Massimo Felisatti and actress Solvi Stubing. Felisatti is first to talk, and its clear from his articulate response that he was a writer concerned with more than just your routine popcorn product. He talks about pushing the limits in terms of sexuality, and in zeroing in on the “pathology of a real city”, and how lurking within every city are your standard impulses for exploitation and murder. He gives a good overview of the story, and Stubing finishes things off with some entertaining recollections regarding the film. We are shown some of her amusing beer ads that got her into the business, and she talks about how people assume she got nude in the film just because of the suggestive title. She didn’t, and she looks at the film fondly to this day. This is your typical quality Blue Underground featurette.
The theatrical trailer is cheesy and amusing, featuring of all things a quote from Marquis de Sade. Too bad he couldn’t have come up with a more representative title for the film, too.
Strip Nude For Your Killer
is more than the sleazy romp it’s title suggests. It is actually a respectable and artful giallo more along the lines of What Have You Done To Solange?
The story is rich and with good payoff, and is told with beautiful cinematography. While grainy, the transfer exhibits nice colors and is an improvement over the many inferior home video releases. The sound is satisfying, and the little featurette fits will as a companion piece to the film. Giallo fans will want to snap this up tout suite, and those looking for more mature storytelling might be surprised at what this has to offer.
Movie - B+
Image Quality - B-
Sound - B-
Supplements - B
- Running Time - 1 hour 38 minutes
- 1 Disc
- Chapter Stops
- English mono
- "Strip Nude For Your Giallo" featurette
- Theatrical trailer