Murder Obsession

 

Murder Obsession

[Follia Omicida]

[aka: Murder Syndrome]

Written by Antonio Cesare Corti 

Cinematography: Cristiano Pogany

Production Design: Giorgio Desideri

Special Effects: Angelo Mattei & Sergio Stivaletti

Editor: Gianfranco Simoncelli

Music: Franco Mannino

Produced by: Enzo Boetani, Giuseppe Collura, Simon Mizrahi

Directed by Riccardo Freda

1981

 

Cast:

Stefano Petrizi

Martine Brochard

Henri Garcin

Laura Gemser

John Richardson

Anita Strindberg

Silvia Dionisio

 

Production:

Theatrical: C.P.C. Citta di Milano & T.D.L. Cinematografica s.r.l.

Video: Raro Video USA

 

Video:

Aspect Ratio: 1.82:1 (Anamorphic)

Codec: MPEG-2

Bit Rate: Moderate-Low (5.5~6 Mbps)

Runtime: 97 minutes

Chapters: 10

Region: 0 / NTSC

 

Audio: English (dub) Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono

 

Subtitles: Optional English

 

Extras:
• Interview with Effects Director Sergio Stivaletti (10:00)

• 8-page full color booklet
• Trailers

 

Presentation:

DVD clamshell case: DVD x 1

Release Date: December 6, 2011


 

Synopsis [Raro Video USA]:

On the set of the film he is acting in, Michael (Stefano Patrizi), is seized by a fit of madness in the middle of a strangulation scene.  He decides to take a break and, girlfriend, Deborah (Silvia Dionisio), visits his mother (Anita Strindberg) at their old mansion. At property is Oliver (played by John Richardson), the eccentric butler. Some of his filmmaking friends join Michael at the mansion for a couple of days rest. He reveals that he murdered his father (who was a famous orchestra conductor) during a psychotic episode when he was a child, and therefore he is immediately suspected as the murderer when his friends start getting killed.


           

 

The Movie: 3

The director, Ricardo Freda, knows the vocabulary of horror film, but not the language or syntax. In keeping with classic giallo horror movies of the period Murder Obsession has its share of jolts and surprises, but Freda and his writer, Antonio Cesare Corti, fail to allow us to identify with his characters. It soon degenerates into scantily clad or nude women slashed and drowned in violence that is often random, or, when it is, not it is merely contrived to jerk the audience around.  Freda drags out what ought to be suspenseful scenes to the point they become merely tedious.  Perhaps worst of all is the use of music – a banging piano so annoying I felt battered.


           

 

Image: 6/5

Contrast is good except for a serious tendency to crushing the blacks.  On the other hand, noise is not in much evidence.  Color is very likely very good, though it’s a little hard to tell in some of the scenes, which are wildly fantastic, as filmed.  Grain is evident, but resolution is only fair.  Image is curiously formatted to 1.82:1, but not to any disadvantage.


           

 

Audio & Music: 3/3

Despite the fact that the DVD case indicates an Italian language audio track, alas, there is none.  Instead we are bullied and harangued by a detached English language dub.  The voice actors aren’t so bad for a change, but the sync is very poor (even in those sections that retain the Italian mix - what these are doing there who can say?) nor is there a=the slightest attempt to recreate correct ambiance.  In addition there is a perfectly dreadful piano score that accompanies all too much of the film, that completely undoes any sense of suspense there might have been.


           

 

Extras: 2

The booklet, short as it is, is more pertinent than the interview with Special Effects Director Sergio Stivaletti, who, in excellent video quality 1.33:1, recalls how he got started in the effects business and how he met Riccardo Freda, shedding no light on the movie or the giallo tradition, and very little on Freda himself. According to the IMDB, Stivaletti was an uncredited effects assistant for this movie.


           

 

Recommendation: 3

Perhaps if the new Raro Video DVD made use of the original Italian track I would have been more disposed to this movie - but as it is I found Murder Obsession lacking in real horror huevos, the nudity too gratuitous; it’s a movie that takes itself entirely too seriously to be camp.  Raro’s image quality is only decent, the audio is clear enough but wrongheaded, and the single extra feature on the disc irrelevant.  Thumbs down and gloved, on this one, I’m afraid.


           

 

 


Leonard Norwitz

© LensViews

December 26, 2011




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