Strip Nude for Your Killer
Italy / 1975
Directed by Andrea Bianchi
Starring
Edwige Fenech
Nino Castelnuovo
Femi Benussi
Color / 98 Minutes / Not Rated
Format: DVD (R0 - NTSC)
Blue Underground
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Review by
Brian Lindsey
 
5
    6   10 = Highest Rating  
Opening with a doctor peering between a woman's legs and ending with a joke about anal sex, Strip Nude for Your Killer wallows unashamedly in the sleazy and the prurient this is a giallo-style thriller focusing more on nudity and kinky sexual situations than mystery and mayhem. The best gialli tend to strike a fine balance between such elements (depending on their individual plots, of course); it's safe to state that this particular film is never going to be considered a top-tier example of the genre. That said, it isn't exactly a bad thing to have drool-inducing Eurobabes like Edwige Fenech (The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh, All the Colors of the Dark) and Femi Benussi (Bloody Pit of Horror, The Killer Must Kill Again) gratuitously strutting their stuff in the buff, now is it?
    The death of a young woman during an illegal abortion triggers a series of brutal murders. First to die is the doctor who performed the operation, stabbed to death by a switchblade-wielding assailant dressed from head to toe in a black leather motorcycle suit and helmet. The killer then begins targeting people connected to Albatross Inc., a photography studio/modeling agency for whom the dead woman once worked. A photographer's assistant is slain and mutilated in his apartment, followed by the killing of Albatross' latest discovery (Benussi) at the home of the studio's owner (Giuliana Cecchini), a predatory lesbian who hits on the models she employs. Suspicion naturally falls on the owner when her fat pervert of a husband becomes the next victim, but then she, too, is butchered by the killer in the midst of a botched blackmail payoff. As the body count mounts and the police fumble around for clues, womanizing photog Carlo (Nino Castelnuovo) and foxy assistant Magda (Fenech, sporting an atypically short hairdo) team up to unmask the murderer. Neither can be absolutely sure that the other isn't somehow involved...
    Strip Nude for Your Killer would seem to possess all the necessary ingredients for a bloody good time. Sexy Edwige Fenech the "Giallo Queen" herself is in the cast, always a big plus as far as I'm concerned. While the film lacks the style and panache found in even the lesser gialli of genre masters Dario Argento and Sergio Martino, director Andrea Bianchi (Burial Ground) does a decent, if perfunctory, job, aided considerably by cinematographer Franco Delli Colli (The Last Man on Earth, Django, Kill... If You Live, Shoot!). The murders aren't particularly gory yet go a little beyond the usual slashed throats when we're shown the aftermath, such as a severed ear and mutilated genitals. Composer Berto Pisano's score fits the film like a glove notably the main title theme, which would feel right at home in a Seventies porn flick.
    And that leads me to the film's biggest problem.
    Strip Nude for Your Killer is much more about stripping nude than killing
. With its overemphasis on sex and a plethora of pulchritude on display (especially the luscious forms of Fenech and Benussi), the thriller/suspense elements are afforded the last available seat at the back of a very long bus. I feel that the whodunit aspect should be at the center of any giallo, around which everything else orbits; here the mystery is given short shrift, treated almost as an afterthought. Derivative motifs aside (the sleazy behind-the-scenes shenanigans at the studio reminiscent of Blood and Black Lace, a back alley abortion from What Have They Done To Solange?), the fact that its resolution involves minor, tangential characters we've completely forgotten about seems like a lazy cop-out. A key set-piece, the murder of Benussi's character, is undermined because the curvaceous actress spends the entire sequence buck naked save for a pair of high heels. How many women, upon hearing strange noises in a supposedly empty house, would investigate in their birthday suit without so much as hastily donning a robe? Talk about distracting! I'm supposed to be on the edge of my seat with suspense... Instead, I'm thinking impure thoughts.

Released this week in tandem with two other Italian gialli (Seven Deaths in the Cat's Eye and a newly remastered two-disc edition of Argento's classic Bird with the Crystal Plumage), Blue Underground brings Strip Nude for Your Killer to DVD via a generally excellent looking anamorphic widescreen transfer. Other than some grainy nighttime scenes and the presence of a "gate hair" in the lower right corner of the screen for a minute or so (both conditions of the original elements), the print is free of any noticeable blemishes, boasting vivid colors and strong, deep blacks. The digital mono audio track (dubbed English only) is clean and clear-sounding.
    For extras BU has included the theatrical trailer and a 12-minute featurette, Strip Nude For Your Giallo. Massimo Felisati, co-writer of the script, and actress Solvi Stubing, who plays one of the Albatross models ("Patrizia"), are interviewed. Felisati attributes the most violent scenes in the film to director Bianchi's personal embellishments; Stubing recalls her break into showbiz (as spokesmodel in a memorable ad campaign for an Italian beer) and provides brief anecdotes about working on Strip Nude with some of her co-stars. 10/26/05
UPDATE In March 2012 Blue Underground is releasing a remastered Blu-ray edition of this title, which will also include the original Italian language track (with optional English subtitles).
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