Cutting (and Disemboweling) Edge Giallo

AUGUST IS ARROW VIDEO MONTH

Leave it to the Italians to deliver the goods as marquee-graphically promised, via the insanely enjoyable 1975 guilty pleasure, STRIP NUDE FOR YOUR KILLER, now on Blu-Ray from the crew at Arrow Video/MVDvisual.

Perhaps the most infamous title in the genre (and think about that!), both in the actual moniker and the scenario, STRIP NUDE goes for the jugular (no pun) from frame one, and doesn’t stop until the fade-out.

The plot is actually quite lofty for a giallo – leaving the usual sordid greed/lust reasons for on-screen carnality/carnage to the competition.  The revenge narrative revolves around the punishment for a beautiful model’s botched abortion, the gynecologist in question being deservedly liquidated.  But not long after, everyone connected to the dead girl’s place of vocation (red flag, it’s called The Albatross Agency) and the late doctor are gruesomely and lovingly (in that de Sade way) dealt with – entering the netherworld with much pain and humiliation.

The Albatross itself is a scummy outfit, albeit an incredibly successful one, run by a hard-assed Gisella Mayer and her impotent husband Maurizio.  Everyone in the joint, from the models to the staff to the celebrated photographers are lowlifes living the high life.  The agency specializes in nude shoots for major clients (a situation that likely flew in the Italy of the 1970s, but never would here).

The key players are Carlo Gunther, a ruthless, reckless camera virtuoso and Magda Cortis, a production assistant, who aspires to be photographer herself.  Carlo is a womanizing creep while Magda isn’t above sexing up men to get what she wants.  Naturally, they fall in love.

When not working, Carlo (Nino Castelnuovo, who, fun fact, may actually be a relative of mine!) cruises posh spas, looking for talent.  There, he meets the luscious Lucia (the luscious Femi Benussi).  Before you can say “pushin’ the cushion,” they’re screwing in the sauna, the reward being an Albatross modeling audition (to this day, I’m not sure that the two thesps weren’t actually getting it on).  Benussi gets the gig and a lesbian liaison with Gisella, before she’s turned into ground round.

Indeed, one might think that STRIP NUDE is just an excuse to objectify gorgeous women.  I should mention that the male victims, too, are subjected to the same ritual; our murderer is an equal opportunity psycho.

As one might suspect, STRIP NUDE is one of the more lowly gialli, even though it boasts a top-notch cast:  Castelnuovo, Benussi, and female lead – the genre’s iconic goddess, Edwige Fenech.  The supporting cast is likewise crammed with renowned flesh and fury, and features Solvi Stubing, Amanda, Franco Diogene, Lucio Como, Erna Schurer, Gianni Airo, Silvana Depreto, Claudio Pellegrini, and Giuseppa Meschella.  It’s directed and cowritten (the latter, with Massimo Felisatti) by Andrea Bianchi, a movie-maker known for going that extra mile, when it comes to lurid set pieces (think Jesus Franco with talent).  His widescreen compositions of the many killings are Grand Guignol to the max, ably shot by Franco Delli Colli (while occasionally a bit grainy, the results are elegant mini-nightmares worthy of Madame Tussauds on smack); the appropriate 70’s lounge music comes by way of Berto Pisano.  As its name suggests, STRIP NUDE FOR YOUR KILLER offers kaleidoscopic montages of sex and violence, each seemingly attempting to out-gross the other.  It’s true, that some of this might offend certain viewers, but, if so, what are you doing watching a movie called STRIP NUDE FOR YOUR KILLER?

The new Arrow Blu-Ray of STRIP NUDE FOR YOUR KILLER is a revelation for those used to the decades of bootlegs and decent (but unremarkable DVDs).  Of course, it’s complete and uncut, but that’s merely the beginning.  The platter offers various ways to watch the pic, encompassing two versions of the opening horrific gynecological sequence (tinted blue or not), plus the English dubbed edition (dialog by Gene Luotto) or the original Italian dialog cut (with English subtitles).  I suggest the Italian language version, as the subtitles are way more raunchy and sardonic than the Anglo dubbing allows (at the spa, as jealous beauties watch Benussi sashay to and fro in her scant bikini, the comments are bitchy hilarious:  “You forgot to shave this morning”).  Additional supplements incorporate separate interviews with the movie’s production manager, Tino Polenghi, assistant director Daniele Sangiori, stunning costar Erna Schurer, lead Castelnuovo, a special mini featurette on Fenech by film historian Kat Elinger, audio commentaries, and an image gallery.

Likely to shock even those addicted to the giallo genre, STRIP NUDE FOR YOUR KILLER is a notoriously grisly entry that nevertheless is a must for the 70’s Italian thriller completist.

STRIP NUDE FOR YOUR KILLER. Color. Widescreen [2.35:1; 1080p High Definition]; LPCM mono (Italian w/English subtitles, or English dub).  Arrow Video/MVDvisual. CAT # AV188.  SRP: $39.95.

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