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  A.A.A. Masseuse, Good-Looking, Offers Her Services Nudge-nudge, wink-wink, kill-kill
Year: 1972
Director: Demofilo Fidani
Stars: Paola Senatore, Simone Blondell, Jerry Colman, Raffaele Curi, Carlo Gentili, Ettore Manni, Hunt Powers, Giancarlo Prete, Franco Ressel, Mario Valdemarin, Howard Ross
Genre: Horror, Sex, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Sultry redhead Cristina Graziani (Paola Senatore) leaves home to start a new life as a swinging girl about town, sharing an apartment with gal pal Paola (Simone Blondell). Cristina's stern, stifling, straightlaced Papa (Hunt Powers) has no idea she now works as a call girl, advertising her services as a "masseuse" (nudge-nudge, wink-wink, say no more son) in the daily newspaper. After a satisfying, saxophone scored sexual encounter with a goofy bodybuilder (Giancarlo Prete) in extremely tight micro-shorts, Cristina next hops in the sack with Oskar (Howard Ross). "You're a good product but you're in the wrong packaging", he smugly informs her after sex and offers to become her pimp. With Oskar's aid, Cristina lands a string of wealthy, middle-aged clients eager to indulge their kinkiest fetishes. Not long after Cristina finishes servicing them, each of these dirty old men fall prey to a razor-wielding maniac with leather gloves.

Oh, so this is a giallo, not a sex comedy? Viewers could be forgiven for mistaking the film as the latter given the generally light-hearted tone of Cristina’s varied sexual encounters and the funky score supplied by Lallo Gori. But A.A.A. Massaggiatrice Bella Presenza Offresi - a title only slightly less unwieldy in its English translation - is indeed a giallo and a rare genre outing from Demofilo Fidani, a.k.a. Miles Deem, a.k.a Dick Spitfire (ha!). Fidani is often referred to as the Ed Wood of the spaghetti western and with good reason, given the likes of One Damned Day At Dawn... Django meets Sartana (1970) and A Fistful of Death (1971) are among the worst the genre has to offer.

While certainly no classic, the film is not without interest and stands as an interesting example of the giallo as social satire, ruminating as it does on the generation gap, sex-as-rebellion and prostitution as a radical, if debatable form of feminist rebellion. None of Cristina's clients abuse her in any way and with a steady flow of cash she is able to escape the iron thumb of her father. As with many gialli the film wavers between revelling in the permissiveness of a modern age that allows Fidani's camera to admire voluptuous Paola Senatore from every angle and tacitly endorsing Enrico's conservative speeches about how generally rotten and ungrateful young people are these days. Indeed, throughout the film characters constantly remind Cristina how ungrateful she is for all the sacrifices her father has made, even though Enrico's slap-happy treatment of her suggests one reason why she left home.

Cristina emerges an intriguingly sassy character with a borderline feminist outlook on sex, relationships and self-reliance. Nevertheless it comes as no surprise Oskar proves as obnoxious as his wardrobe, ditching his beautiful blonde girlfriend (immediately after sex - classy guy!) to enjoy newfound success as a pimp, alternately slapping Cristina around or fondling her breasts. Various characters, including Cristina herself, poke around the peripheries of the mystery until eventually the law gets involved in the form of an Inspector (Ettore Manni) who ruminates: "I don't like the idea of some guy going around cutting people's throats." Who does?

Contrary to his reputation, Fidani executes a handful of suspenseful episodes and the climax is quite arresting, flashing between the killer's encounter with the cops to Cristina discovering their identity on the front page of tomorrow's news. Although the identity of the killer proves no great surprise, it proves consistent with Fidani's admittedly half-hearted attempt as social commentary. For the most part though, the film is an uneven, shoddy and often listless affair with little of genuine substance to offer beyond the oft-undraped charms of Paola Senatore. She later became a hardcore porn star but also graced Eaten Alive! (1980), the That's Entertainment of Italian cannibal films. Oddly, although Senatore essays the central character she does not appear among the opening credits that crash zoom on shots of each actor in action with the feel of a Seventies cop show.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

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