HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Night Raiders
Samourai, Le
Advent Calendar, The
Champion
Merchant of Four Seasons, The
Love of Jeanne Ney, The
Blonde. Purple
Dirty Ho
Annette
Shepherd
Dying to Divorce
Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn
Trouble with Being Born, The
Last Matinee, The
Strings, The
Free Hand for a Tough Cop
People Just Do Nothing: Big in Japan
Dear Future Children
Accidental Luxuriance of the Translucent Watery Rebus
Swallow
Thin Red Line, The
Petite Maman
Fast & Furious 9
Sundown: The Vampire in Retreat
Sweet Thing
Maelstrom
Father, The
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
Night House, The
Father of Flies
80,000 Years Old
Dead & Beautiful
Bull
Censor
Sleep
Freaky
Nightbooks
Whisker Away, A
Wild Indian
Whale Island
   
 
Newest Articles
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
The Punk Rock Movie: Out of the Blue on Blu-ray
Yeah, Too Quiet: The Great Silence on Blu-ray
Vestron Double Bill: Dementia 13 and The Wraith
Farewell Dean Stockwell: His Years of Weirdness
Kung Fu Craft: Cinematic Vengeance! on Blu-ray
999 Letsbe Avenue: Gideon's Way on Blu-ray
Hungary for Cartoons: Hungarian Animations on MUBI
You Have No Choice: Invasion of the Body Snatchers on Blu-ray
You Can't Tame What's Meant to Be Wild: The Howling on Blu-ray
Commendably Brief: Short Sharp Shocks Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Super Silents: Early Universal Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Fable Fear: The Singing Ringing Tree on Blu-ray
Gunsight Eyes: The Sabata Trilogy on Blu-ray
Bloody Bastard Baby: The Monster/I Don't Want to Be Born on Blu-ray
Night of the Animated Dead: Director Jason Axinn Interview
The ParaPod: A Very British Ghost Hunt - Interview with Director/Star Ian Boldsworth
On the Right Track: Best of British Transport Films Vol. 2
The Guns of Nutty Joan: Johnny Guitar on Blu-ray
Intercourse Between Two Worlds: Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me/The Missing Pieces on Blu-ray
Enjoy the Silents: Early Universal Vol. 1 on Blu-ray
Masterful: The Servant on Blu-ray
70s Sitcom Dads: Bless This House and Father Dear Father on Blu-ray
Going Under: Deep Cover on Blu-ray
Child's Play: Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 3 on DVD
   
 
  So Sweet... So Perverse Naughty Neighbours
Year: 1968
Director: Umberto Lenzi
Stars: Carroll Baker, Jean-Louis Trintignant, Erika Blanc, Horst Frank, Helga Liné, Ermelinda De Felice, Giovanni Di Benedetto, Irio Fantini, Dario Michaelis, Renato Pinciroli, Beryl Cunningham
Genre: Horror, Sex, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Wealthy socialite Jean Reynaud (Jean-Louis Trintignant) leads a jet-setting lifestyle. Stuck in a dull marriage to his beautiful but frigid wife Danielle (Erika Blanc), he alleviates his boredom by sleeping with friends like the sexy but married Helene (Helga Liné). One day Jean hears a woman being assaulted in the apartment above where he encounters Nicole (Carroll Baker). Intrigued by the beautiful American woman, Jean discovers she is trapped in a sadomasochistic relationship with a brute named Klaus (Horst Frank). Inevitably Jean and Nicole have an affair whereupon he tries to help her escape her abusive boyfriend so they can start a new life together. But then various secrets come to light and the couple find themselves being stalked.

Mario Bava pioneered the Italian horror-thriller sub-genre known as the giallo. Dario Argento remains its quintessential auteur. Yet for a while in the mid-to-late Sixties the director who arguably set the standard was Umberto Lenzi with his string of glossy, kinky vehicles for glamorous Hollywood ex-pat Carroll Baker. Paranoia, duplicity and labyrinthine murder conspiracies were the ingredients in films like, er, Paranoia (1968) (originally titled: Orgasmo!), A Quiet Place to Kill (1970) (originally titled: Paranoia!), Knife of Ice (1972) and So Sweet... So Perverse (Cosi Dolce... Cosi Perversa is the cooler-sounding Italian title). Their stories typically involve plotters scheming to drive Baker insane with sundry sexual shenanigans sandwiched in-between. Later directors like Lucio Fulci with Perversion Story (1969) a.k.a. One on Top of the Other and A Lizard in a Woman's Skin (1971) and particularly Sergio Martino with his run of thriller vehicles for Edwige Fenech took this formula and ran with it. The Martino connection is no surprise given So Sweet... So Perverse is based on a story by his brother Luciano Martino, who also produced, and scripted by the prolific Ernesto Gastaldi who penned many of the Fenech gialli.

With its seriously glossy cinematography, lush production values and chic fashions modelled by the impeccably stylish cast, So Sweet... So Perverse stands as a sharp reminder of how polished an Umberto Lenzi production could be before his career devolved into squalid trash like Cannibal Ferox (1981). Here he indulges in coloured gels and other psychedelic flourishes to tart up another derivative if nonetheless sinfully entertaining variation on Les Diaboliques (1955). As often with Gastaldi the mind-bending puzzle box of a plot does not stand up to cold hard logic but packs plenty of compelling surprises that still manage to thrill and indeed titillate. On the latter front the film presents Carroll Baker looking lovelier than ever as do her co-stars. Lenzi unsubtly introduces Erika Blanc's Danielle admiring her own breasts in the bedroom mirror and don't get me started on the sublime Helga Liné.

Images of jet-setting hedonism and sun-drenched Mediterranean hang-outs add another seductive layer to the film, shrewdly undercut by Gastaldi's arch anti-bourgeois observations. Even so certain aspects do stray into camp such as the scene at a swinger's party where a 'with it' black stripper (Beryl Cunningham) goads the staid socialites into shaking loose. The film cleverly shows characters done in by their own self-serving philosophies ("A man who knows what he wants is better of without a conscience", believes Jean while Nicole expounds: "You've got to grab ahold of life because it won't last") though Gastaldi's clear lack of empathy for his thrill-seeking protagonists often renders his social satire strictly one-sided. Both Baker and especially Trintignant tread a fine line between embodying their jaded characters or simply coasting along. The best performance comes from the underrated Blanc as the repressed socialite who goes from neglected to manipulated then ultimately cracks under the weight of remorse. The skill in the construction of So Sweet... So Perverse evident from the way the film begins by focusing on one trapped protagonist and ends with another. Music by Riz Ortolani including a memorable lounge ballad called 'Why?' that later resurfaced in Lenzi's Seven Bloodstained Orchids (1972).

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 2172 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Umberto Lenzi  (1931 - 2017)

Prolific, workmanlike Italian director and writer who dabbled in most genres throughout his 40 year career. Started work as a film critic before making his directing debut in 1961 with the sea-faring adventure flick Queen of the Seas. The two decades years saw Lenzi churn out westerns, historical dramas, Bond-esquespy yarns and giallo thrillers among others.

It was his 1972 proto-cannibal film Deep River Savages that led to the best known phase of his career, with notorious gore-epics Cannibal Ferox and Eaten Alive and zombie shlocker Nightmare City quickly becoming favourites amongst fans of spaghetti splatter. Continued to plug away in the horror genre before retiring in 1996.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Jason Cook
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
   

 

Last Updated: