DENNIS SCHWARTZ 
IS THERE ANY GOOD 
IN SAYING 
EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?

 
A LIZARD IN A WOMAN'S SKIN (Lucertola con la pelle di donna, Una) (aka: SCHIZOID (director/writer: Lucio Fulci; screenwriters: story by Roberto Gianviti & Lucio Fulci/Roberto Gianviti/José Luis Martínez Mollá/André Tranché; cinematographer: Luigi Küveiller; editor: Jorge Serralonga; music: Ennio Morricone; cast: Florinda Bolkan (Carol Hammond), Stanley Baker (Inspector Corvin), Jean Sorel (Frank Hammond), Leo Genn (Edmond Brighton), Silvia Monti (Deborah), Alberto de Mendoza (Sgt. Brandon), Penny Brown (Jenny, hippie girl), Mike Kennedy (Hubert, redheaded hippie guy), Edy Gall (Joan Hammond), George Rigaud (Dr. Kerr), Ezio Marano (Lowell, scientific squad), Anita Strindberg (Julia Durer); Runtime: 103; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Edmondo Amati; Media Blasters Shriek Show; 1971-Italy-dubbed in English)

 
"A stylish giallo that sheds its suspenseful skin long before the story climaxes."

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
 

A stylish giallo that sheds its suspenseful skin long before the story climaxes, but leaves enough visually stunning shots of dreams, tits, lesbian love, madness, eviscerated dogs, a bat attack, a chase through the catacombs of a church and, of course, the gruesome slashings to most likely sate those who get off on cheapie gross-out shock/horror flicks that also set a deliriously trippy psychedelic plate to feast on. Filmmaker Lucio Fulci ("The Black Cat"/"White Fang"/"A Cat In the Brain") keeps it gory and exploitative, and after turning out such nasty films in Italy for many years finally has his first one released in good ole America and hits it big with this money-maker cult film.

It tells about the psychological problems of a moody London wealthy and happily married woman Carol Hammond (Florinda Bolkan, Brazilian-born actress), whose concerned father Edmond Brighton (Leo Genn) is a prominent politician and lawyer who took her philandering enigmatic husband Frank (Jean Sorel) in as partner in his prestigious law firm. Carol is acting strange lately and tells her shrink Dr. Kerr (George Rigaud) about a dream she has of murdering her slutty libertine druggie neighbor Julia Durer (Anita Strindberg) by slashing her nude body three times with a letter cutter. Her dad receives a blackmail threat and soon after Julia is found butchered just as Carol described in her dream, and we're left wondering did Carol unwittingly carry out for real the murders in her dream or is she being set up. It's up to smarty-pants whistling investigator Corvin (Stanley Baker) to sort things out, like separate fantasy from reality, and with a few surprising developments and red herrings along the road is able to sort things out by thinking outside the box. 

Though things do get sorted out by the end, this is one muddled mystery story that remains about as lucid as a bad acid trip a mental midget might have. But despite its narrative let downs, the acting from the leads is decent, the pacing is good, the direction is creative and the screen always looks alarmingly pretty--even when knives with red paint are thrown against a canvas for fun.

REVIEWED ON 11/22/2008        GRADE: B

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"

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