Monday, 22 December 2014

Spasmo (1974)



Giallo films are often more about style and mood than coherent narrative, and Spasmo definitely follows that trend.  There is a plot, and it is eventually going to be explained, at least for the most part.  But the keyword there is "eventually".  First, you have to get through 70+ minutes of characters acting in what seems to be a nonsensical and inconsistent manner.

For my money the payoff - though it is effective - isn't worth the frustration of the majority of the film.  Maybe it would be different if you watched it with the foreknowledge that yes, all - well, most of - this weirdness is going to be explained.  All I can say is that I watched it without that certainty, and found it rather hard going for much of its length.

The spoiler-free synopsis - given the film's reliance on the 'reveal', spoilers would negate any reason to see it - is that a fellow named Christian meets a young woman on a beach.  He initially thinks she is dead, because of the way she is lying, but it turns out she is not.  He pursues her in a somewhat stalkery way, but she seems to welcome the attention.  She just has one requirement to sleep with him: he has to shave his beard.

While he is in the bathroom doing this, however, a man with a gun assaults him, making strange accusations.  Christian fights the guy, the gun goes off, and the would be assailant is apparently killed.  Not knowing how to explain this to the police, he and the young woman flee the scene.  From there, they encounter several strange individuals, whom Christian feels are shadowing him or otherwise have sinister motives.  Compounding the mystery is that when Christian returns to the bathroom where the fight happens (he needs to recover a necklace he left at the scene, as it could identify him), the attacker's body is gone.

So lots of weirdness is clearly going on.  And I haven't even mentioned all the female mannequins people keep finding: they've been hung, or stabbed, or otherwise "murdered", yet.

If you want to know what's going on, and why, you'll need to see the film.  I can't promise you'll find it actually worth it, though.

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