Sergio Martino was a prolific Italian director during the 1970s, who began his career as a cameraman for various French and Italian directors. In the mid-1970s he started directing his own films, working both with and without actors.

Sergio Martino is one of the most iconic figures in Italian fashion design, and his label not only brought about the 1970s and 80s fashion explosion in Italy, but also was an important influence on fashion design worldwide. His label was so successful that it was featured in several of the films he was in, including several scenes of the Italian crime film Il Gatto with the legendary Alain Delon.

Verdict

Summary

Sergio Martino’s previously released giallos have been gathered by Arrow Video for a high-end box set release.

Plot: The Suspicious Death of a Minor (1975) is based on a true story.

A teenage prostitute is brutally murdered, and it is up to detective Germi (Claudio Cassinelli) to solve the crime. As the inquiry progresses, he discovers a females trafficking network with strong ties.

 

Review:

A policeman called Paolo (Claudio Cassinelli) goes undercover as a purveyor of Italy’s filthy underbelly, acting as a john in search of underage prostitutes in order to solve the horrific murder of an underage girl in a seedy hotel room. He enlists the help of a purse-snatcher, and the two of them get dangerously near to discovering that a rich politician is behind the murders of several young girls who were aware of his identity. When Paolo gets too near to the truth, the crazed assassin pursues him, resulting to some thrilling chases.

 

Sergio Martino’s The Suspicious Death of a Minor is a breeze of a picture, with all the trappings of both genres. It’s a wonderful merging of the giallo (slasher) and poliziotteschi (police thriller) genres. It seems like a Charles Bronson picture from his prime, a borderline action film with stalker/slasher overtones. Martino’s flair for sleaze and style is on show, and actor Cassinelli shines as the tough investigator in a Columbo-like performance.

 

The Suspicious Death of a Minor: Arrow Video Edition is excellent, and the transfer is a freshly restored 2K-quality presentation. This is a nice bundle for lovers of Italian genre film, with reversible cover artwork and some excellent extra materials, including a new audio commentary and fresh interviews.

 

 

Only I Have the Key to Your Vice, a Locked Room (1972) Plot:

Oliviero is a burnt-out writer who lives on his farm in Venice, his thoughts dominated by his deceased mother. Oliviero is suspected of murdering a young lady. When his young, attractive, and confident niece, Floriana, makes him an unexpected visit, things become difficult.

 

Review:

Part-time novelist and full-time libertine Oliviero (Luigi Pistilli) is bored and smug, so he organizes drunken orgies at his home and constantly insults his wife (Anita Strindberg), whose sanity begins to break as a result of the humiliation. One of his young loves is brutally killed the day after one of his debauched parties. The cops arrive and interrogate you. Oliviero’s alibi isn’t very good. Oliviero’s housemaid is killed the next night with the same weapon – a scythe. Then Oliviero’s gorgeous niece (who is extremely sexually promiscuous) arrives to reside with him, adding to the stress in their already strained relationship. When additional women are discovered dead, Oliviero seems to be the perpetrator…

 

Your Vice is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key (it’s a mouthful) is partly based on Edgar Allan Poe’s tale “The Black Cat,” and the conclusion is taken directly from the original narrative. The picture fits perfectly in with the giallos of its period, featuring vivid kill scenes with realistic gore effects, sophisticated sensuality (with lots of nudity and homoerotic content), and an intriguing mystery. It doesn’t alter the genre’s face, but it should satisfy aficionados of these Italian slashers.

 

Arrow Video has produced a beautifully packed version of Your Vice is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key, which was previously released on DVD by No Shame. The extra features include fresh new interviews with Martino, the screenwriter, and one of the co-stars, as well as a visual essay and more, including an appraisal of the film by Eli Roth. Reversible artwork is featured, as well as freshly commissioned art and the original artwork.

 

 

Plot: In The Case of the Scorpion’s Tail (1971), the plot is as follows:

The Case of the Scorpion’s Tail starts with a strange death of a billionaire and spirals into the murder of his newly wealthy wife, attracting the attention of a tenacious detective who follows a trail of blood to its conclusion.

 

Review:

Lisa Baumer (Evelyn Stewart), a beautiful cheater, learns that her husband died in a commercial aircraft jet accident and that her husband’s life insurance would pay her a million dollars. It doesn’t take long for shady people to follow her around at all times: The first is a blackmailer who demands money for a letter she made saying she wished her husband killed. Then there’s her husband’s lover, who demands half of the money and claims her husband was planning to make her the beneficiary. Lisa is being pursued by the cops and insurance investigator Peter Lynch (George Hilton), who suspects her of concealing information. The police have plenty of suspects when Lisa is (spoiler!) brutally killed and stolen of her million dollars in her hotel room in Greece, but the killings continue, all of which are somehow linked to Lisa and her deceased husband. Peter joins up with a seductive news reporter called Cleo (Anita Strindberg) to solve the killings and perhaps locate the cash cache, but with the murderer on their tails, the story is about to heat up!

 

The Case of the Scorpion’s Tail is a globe-trotting giallo from director Sergio Martino, who was a true master at these kinds of films. It stands up as a thriller and as a horror slasher, with some very gory murders, especially the first one and later with an eye-gouging sequence that had me cringing. The film amps up the sensuality and foreign settings, both of which add flavor to the picture, and it really made sense to me. These giallos often confound me with excessively complex storylines, but this one was simple to understand.

 

New interviews, a commentary, featurettes, trailers, and an insert booklet with essays are included in Arrow Video’s new Blu-ray of this movie, which is offered in a new 2K restoration, as well as freshly commissioned artwork for the reversible sleeve.

 

Additional Resources

  • CONTENTS OF THE SPECIAL EDITION:
  • Sergio Martino’s three films, The Case of the Scorpion’s Tail, Your Vice is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key, and The Suspicious Death of a Minor, have all been restored in 2K from the original camera negative.
  • All films are presented in high definition (1080p) on Blu-ray.
  • Original mono Italian and English audio recordings, uncompressed
  • English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing are available as an option for Italian audio, and English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing are available for English audio.
  • Marc Schoenbach’s newly commissioned artwork
  • THE SCORPION’S TAIL IN THIS CASE:
  • Filmmaker Federico Caddeo moderates an audio discussion with writer Ernesto Gastaldi (in Italian with English subtitles)
  • Interview with George Hilton, actor of the film Under the Sign of the Scorpion
  • Sergio Martino talks about his film The Scorpion Tales.
  • An examination of Jet Set Giallo Mikel J. Koven, author of La Dolce Morte: Vernacular Cinema and the Italian Giallo Film, examines Sergio Martino’s films.
  • Troy Howarth, author of So Deadly, So Perverse: 50 Years of Italian Giallo Films, presents a video essay on the case of the screenwriter auteur.
  • Trailer for the film
  • Photo gallery
  • Chris Malbon’s original and freshly commissioned artwork is included on both sides of the reversible sleeve.
  • YOUR VICE IS A KEY-LOCKED ROOM, AND I AM THE ONLY ONE WITH THE KEY:
  • Sergio Martino talks about his film Through the Keyhole in this interview.
  • Making-of documentary including interviews with director Martino, actress Edwige Fenech, and screenwriter Ernesto Gastaldi.
  • Michael Mackenzie’s visual essay Dolls of Flesh and Blood: Sergio Martino’s Gialli explores the director’s distinctive contributions to the giallo genre.
  • Ms. Fenech’s Strange Vices – film historian Justin Harries examines the remarkable career of the Your Vice actress
  • Eli Roth on Your Vice and Martino’s Genius
  • Matthew Griffin’s original and freshly commissioned artwork is included on the reversible sleeve.
  • A MINOR’S SUSPICIOUS DEATH:
  • Troy Howarth, author of So Deadly, So Perverse: 50 Years of Italian Giallo Films, provides an audio commentary.
  • Sergio Martino, co-writer/director of Violent Milan, talks about the film.
  • Chris Malbon’s original and freshly commissioned artwork is included on both sides of the reversible sleeve.

The-Sergio-Martino-Collection-1971-1975-Arrow-Video-Blu-ray-Box-Set

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