Sunday, June 24, 2018

So Sweet, So Dead, Moral Avenger vs. Giallo Women

So sweet? Hardly. Nope, sluts and fornicators, all of them! Hence the theme of 1972's Italian horror film "So Sweet, So Dead." Alas, to be a beautiful woman in an Italian horror film is to be stripped, humiliated, and cut to shreds with a razor...or scissors...or knife, so sad. As the woman's lib movement gained steam in the 1970s, so did the "cut women to pieces" movement in European cinema. Related?
Naked, quite dead, and all cut up, the formerly beautiful Florina lies in her own blood with photographs of her having extra-marital sex. Inspector Capuana (Farley Granger) is on the case. Florina was the wife of a military general and the guy she was having sex with? We don't know, as the faces in the photographs have been scratched out, perhaps to protect the innocent. Yes, Italy has a "Moral Avenger" and lots of sultry wives will die similarly, always after extra-marital sex. Bad news for Capuana, the husbands of these cheating women are all politicians or members of Italy's elite class...and they are not talking. The killings continue and the media is mocking the police for their inability to catch the killer.
Usually naked or in states of undress, these cheating women seemed lined up to die quite horribly. Suspects? Oh sure. We have a necrophiliac-minded coroner who just loves corpses of beautiful women. Jealous husbands? Perhaps. How about jealous wives...or even better, since this is an Italian horror film, a jealous lesbian lover of the victims? Pushing it perhaps, but you get the picture. Uh oh, more women are cut up, and more photographs are strewn over the crime scenes. Double uh oh, Insp. Capuana's wife, Barbara (Sylva Koscina), is quite lovely and lounges around in states of undress. We all know the fate of these types of women in Giallo. When the killer seems to be heading in Capuana's direction, our good Inspector comes up with a plan that is either quite genius...or suicidal.
Is the lovely Barbara in fact a fornicator? Is the Moral Avenger a twisted ploy by the Catholic Church to instill morality in Italian marriages?   Are the killings a great conspiracy of the elite Italian masculine class to clean away inconvenient mistresses? To see a beautiful woman in this film is to see a future corpse and the misogynistic themes in this film are rampant. The timing of this film, put against the social movements sweeping across western civilization in the 1970s are likely more than a coincidence. We've come a long way...wait...there's that Harvey Weinstein guy...perhaps we haven't. Directed by Roberto Bianchi Montero, for some erotic Giallo, see "So Sweet, So Dead."


  1. Some really good points summed up in this movie, putting it into perspective , makes the review a double uh oh.

  2. Don't forget Bill Cosby Woody Allen Roman Polanski *goes on for another three hours* :D

    Great review Christopher I quite liked this one although haven't seen in a while. Creepy coroner is Luciano Rossi btw a regular of Italian Horror/Genre cinema who I quite like & there's a decent mini book on his films "A Violent Professional" which is worth a read. Great review again mate & glad you liked this one, another Giallo I'd recommend is The French Sex Murders if you haven't seen yet btw also from '72, has a bizarre Humphrey Bogart lookalike investigating a well, um sex murder spree, really & worth checking out. :)

  3. Haven't seen this one yet, but I will look it up for the lovely Silvija Košćina. I remember her playing by Steve Reeves side in his Hercules vehicles.
    Great inciting review.