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  Naked Girl Killed in a Park Does what it says
Year: 1972
Director: Alfonso Brescia
Stars: Robert Hoffman, Pilar Velazquez, Irina Demick, Teresa Gimpera, Howard Ross, Patrizia Adiutori, Philippe Leroy, Adolfo Celi, Franco Ressel
Genre: Horror, Sex, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  3 (from 1 vote)
Review: As titles go, this giallo is certainly upfront about what you are going to get even though the first murder victim is fully clothed and male. Wealthy financier Johan Wallenberger is found dead in a House of Horrors at an amusement in Madrid. Shortly thereafter, his daughter Catherine (Pilar Velazquez) is taunted by a series of menacing phone calls and stalked by a stranger in a black leather coat. An insurance company assign smug investigator Chris Buyer (Robert Hoffman) to probe the case, which he does by swiftly bedding Catherine. She then brings Chris to visit her family at their mansion in the country. Her glamorous, grieving mama Magda (Irina Demick) is seemingly off her rocker and holds conversations with her dead husband, whilst flirty elder sister Barbara (Patrizia Adiutori) is having an affair with the deaf-mute stable boy. When Barbara implies she knows who killed her father, Chris agrees to meet her later that night. She arrives stark naked, so naturally Chris has no qualms about screwing his girlfriend’s sister. Classy guy. The next morning, Barbara is found naked and dead in the park. There you go.

Alfonso Brescia reserved his place in schlock movie hell with a string of shoddy, low-budget Star Wars rip-offs including War of the Robots (1978) and The Beast in Space (1979), but like all Italian exploitation filmmakers tried his luck with any genre to hand, from spaghetti westerns to spy movies, delivering arguably his best film with the offbeat sci-fi sword and sandal romp Conquerors of Atlantis (1965). Naked Girl Killed in a Park saw Brescia tackling the giallo genre for the first time - he later contributed Murder in Blue Light (1991) - but aside from memorable book-ending sequences set inside the house of horrors, with ghouls lunging out of the darkness, his attempts at suspense are slapdash at best.

This creaky murder mystery has some nice Spanish scenery, plentiful nudity from its fetching female cast members, and a sensual score by Carlos Savina, but is otherwise poorly paced and lacks panache. Most damagingly, almost all the characters are spiteful and shifty. Presumably this was a ploy intended to make it harder to guess who the murderer might be, but has the side effect of leaving it impossible to engage with anyone. Alain Delon look-alike Robert Hoffman - fondly remembered by British viewers for his first starring role in The Adventures of Robinson Crusoe (1964) - essays an especially odious protagonist whose obnoxious behaviour scarcely conceals the not-so-surprising twist. For reasons unknown all the Wallenberger women find this jerk irresistible, even though he smarms his way about the place, insults everyone he meets and even spies on two people having sex, grinning like a horny teen from an American Pie sequel.

The multi-authored plot is not without some nifty ideas along with an intriguing back story involving Nazi war criminals, but is poorly handled by Brescia who favours lengthy P.O.V. sequences and clumsy hand-held shots. Former Bond villain Adolfo Celi is grievously wasted as a hilariously blunt police inspector who proves largely ineffective as the mystery simply unravels tediously before our befuddled eyes. A surprisingly cynical denouement brings no respite for the poor, long-suffering heroine although, as the inspector bitterly observes, at least the insurance company saved themselves a few thousand dollars.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

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