Monday, August 15, 2011

Eyeball (1975) aka Gatti rossi in un labirinto di vetro

Directed by Umberto Lenzi(Cannibal Ferox(1981), Seven Blood-Stained Orchids(1973), Napoli Violenta(1976))

Starring Martine Brochard(Milano trema - la polizia vuole giustizia(1973), Riot in a Women's Prison(1974)), John Richardson(Torso(1973), One Million Years BC(1966)), and Ines Pellegrini(Salò(1975), Escape from Women's Prison(1978))

For those of us fans of the Giallo, there are certain elements that we expect in the pre-slasher italian classics, no matter whether the movie is good or bad. In fact, those of us that are fans of the Giallo genre usually don't care whether it's good or not, we will typically watch it regardless. While there are many gialli that are considered by cinematic and horror classics, for every good one you can count are there being at least three bad. But even if the film is considered a masterpiece by fans of the genre, there are still going to be many out there who consider it pure garbage. So goes the plight of the genre-film nerd, as is the rule for all of nerdom.

Eyeball(1975) is not a giallo I would consider a genre masterpiece. In fact, if you read through the comments section of IMDB, you'll find that many people don't consider it as such. As a giallo fan, I don't really give two fucks what people had to say about it, I enjoyed watching it. It had everything I expect out of the giallo genre, and then some.

Premise....A busload of "American" tourists land in Madrid for a group tour. Little do they know is that there is a killer among them. Almost upon arrival, buddies start stacking up wherever the bus lands, turning everybody into a supsect. Not only are the murders quick and brutal, but the victims are all found with there left eye removed in the most hideous fashion.

As with most gialli, most of the main characters are considered suspects at one point or another. Obviously. It is of course, a step above your typical murder mystery, but it is still a "whodunit". Unlike the stereotypical black leather gloves and trenchcoat, our killer wears red gloves with a red plastic raincoat, and not a slicker either. I'm talking about the throwaway types that are given to bus ride tourists in NYC when the weather is shitty. Such a cheap and gawdy disguise really adds to the comedic element of the movie, even if it wasn't the directors intention. But this is a Lenzi film, and those of us familiar with his works also know this type of unplanned comedy appears often. I also found the attempt to make the actual murders seem believable also added to the unintentional comedy. I've seen off-off Broadway scenes that have more believable murder scenes. The gore was there, but the speed at which the dagger was coming toward the victim could have been escaped by a person in a wheelchair.

As with many giallo's, some of the old standards were present. We got a fairly healthy dose of lesbianism, jazzy music, and even a discotheque scene. I don't know what it was that made Italian directors in the 70's obsessed with girl-on-girl action, but it's a pretty prevalent theme... and it sell movies to a mostly male audience. I just answered my own question.

Despite Eyeball not being one of the best of the genre, I really enjoyed the film. Lenzi might not be the best writer, but he definitely has mad skills with the camera, as well as knowing how to film in some excellent locations. Not only did Eyeball provide me with 90 minutes of non-stop thrills and laughs, but it also made me add Madrid to my destination map of places I'm going to eventually see in Europe if I'm ever able to save up money to do so.


  1. Ninja Vampire, Very cool concept and reviews
    The work is very versatile, with so many concentrations intermingling
    Ninja Gear

  2. Fantabulous poster.

    I think I'll purloin it.