Newest Reviews
Intergalactic Adventures of Max Cloud, The
Spoilers, The
Killer Therapy
Man Upstairs, The
Bloodhound, The
New Mutants, The
Flame of New Orleans, The
Ham on Rye
Imperial Blue
August 32nd on Earth
Don is Dead, The
Seven Sinners
Body of Water
About Endlessness
Let It Snow
Deliver Us from Evil
Shark Attack 3: Megalodon
Midnight Sky, The
Lego Star Wars Holiday Special, The
Mon Oncle Antoine
Blast of Silence
Blackout, The
Stars in Your Eyes
Climate of the Hunter
Farewell Amor
Let's Scare Julie
Okko's Inn
Shaolin vs. Wu Tang
Butt Boy
Dog of Flanders, The
Bushido Blade, The
Jiu Jitsu
Newest Articles
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
Toons for the Heads: Fantastic Planet and Adult Animation
Nature Girl: The New World on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Perfect Friday and Robbery
Network Double Bills: The House in Nightmare Park and The Man Who Haunted Himself
Newley Minted: The Strange World of Gurney Slade on Blu-ray
Bad Love: The Night Porter on Blu-ray
Brevity is the Soul of Weird: Short Sharp Shocks on Blu-ray
Get Your Ass to Mars: Total Recall on Blu-ray
Call the Professionals: Le Cercle Rouge on Blu-ray
When There's No More Room in Hell: Dawn of the Dead on Blu-ray
The Butterfly Effect: Mothra on Blu-ray
Living Room Theatre: Play for Today Volume 1 on Blu-ray
Didn't He Do Well: The Bruce Forsyth Show on DVD
Blood Wedding: The Bride with White Hair on Blu-ray
The Inhuman Element: The Ladykillers on 4K UHD
As You Like It, Baby: Breathless on Blu-ray
Stargazing: Light Entertainment Rarities on DVD
Down to the Welles: Orson Welles Great Mysteries Volume 2 on DVD
Herding Cats: Sleepwalkers on Blu-ray
Confessions of a Porn Star: Adult Material on DVD
They're Still Not Sure It is a Baby: Eraserhead on Blu-ray
Werewolves are Real: Dog Soldiers on Digital
Rose: A Love Story - Producers April Kelley and Sara Huxley Interview
  Flower with the Deadly Sting, The Poisonous to the touch
Year: 1973
Director: Gianfranco Piccioli
Stars: Gianni Garko, Carroll Baker, Ivano Staccioli, Pilar Velazquez, Paola Senatore, Umberto Raho, Angelo Bassi, Alba Maiolini, Giuseppe Mattei, Eleonara Morana, Alessandro Perrella
Genre: Horror, Sex, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Amoral, social-climbing surgeon Adrian Valenti (Gianni Garko) accidentally kills his mistress Daniela (Paola Senatore) impaling her on a flower sculpture with steel petals. Panic-stricken he dismembers the corpse dumping the chunks in a handy meat-grinder. Daniela's sister, Evelyn (Carroll Baker), who also happens to be Adrian's irate ex-girlfriend, is immediately suspicious about her disappearance. Soon the police start investigating Adrian which cramps his romance with yet another lover, pretty secretary Lena (Pilar Velazquez). Then Adrian starts receiving mysterious phone calls threatening to expose him as a murderer unless he pays a hefty sum.

Carroll Baker was the first international star to really forge a career in the Italian giallo genre beginning with The Sweet Body of Deborah (1968) and continuing with a run of stylish thrillers directed by Umberto Lenzi, e.g. Paranoia (1968), A Quiet Place to Kill (1970), Knife of Ice (1972) etc. By the early Seventies Baker made so many gialli she was starting to grow tired of their predictable plots, which is likely why The Flower with the Deadly Sting reduces the star to a sort of special guest red herring. One of only three films directed by Gianfranco Piccioli, a prolific producer still active today, the plot is essentially a sexed-up variation on Les Diaboliques (1955) which was a common touchstone for many gialli. Piccioli aims for subtle chills rather than full-throttle scares but succeeds at creating a genuinely eerie mood ladling on the style, a succession of creepy images - including one sequence with a cave decorated with broken dolls that prefigures Dario Argento's more celebrated Deep Red (1975) – and of course, no small amount of sensuality. He wastes no time in presenting sexy giallo and softcore staple Paola Senatore topless in black panties ahead of numerous steamy scenes where Gianni Garko gets it on with each of his fetching female co-stars.

Whereas Baker appears visibly bored, spaghetti western star Garko is solid in an otherwise unsympathetic role stretching him beyond his stock Sartana persona. Oddly, though the film never presents Adrian as anything but a reprehensible bastard it still invites us to empathize with him as the principal protagonist. He is another of those smug giallo archetypes who behaves like it is such a chore to have three gorgeous women on the go, slapping them around when he likes though they still fall at his feet. However, the script exhibits no great sympathy for Adrian's female victims who are drawn as scheming harpies, passive doormats or hysterical nymphos. A sequence set in an asylum for mentally unstable women reinforces the pervading tone of misogyny when a psychologist claims women that repress their sexuality for an “unnaturally” long time invariably wind up insane. As is so often the case with Italian exploitation the insulting implication is that the ideal cure for a women's psychological problems is a good shag.

Nonetheless, Piccioli weaves a suitably dreamlike, ominous, labyrinthine mystery that while hard to follow at times (show me the giallo that isn't) proves compelling and adds up. The pay-off satisfies though Piccioli can't resist a last second moralistic coda to reinforce the male dominated status quo. Little known composer Marcello Giombini supplies an outstanding electro-funk score incorporating an appropriately sting-like motif. The Flower with the Deadly Sting is also notable for featuring a steamy, albeit ridiculous underwater lesbian sex scene which prompts an obvious gag about muff diving. Not that I would ever be that crass.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam


This review has been viewed 1558 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

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
Stately Wayne Manor
Enoch Sneed
  Geraint Morgan
Paul Smith
  Lee Fiveash


Last Updated: