31 Nights Of GIALLOWEEN: Amuck (1972)

I needed to follow up my previous GIALLOWEEN experience with more Bouchet...so, let's go with 1972's Amuck!  for tonight's selection...shall we?

Sadly, Silvio Amadio didn't delve into gialli all that much. It is a shame...as Amuck (also known as Maniac Mansion, Leather and Whips  and, my personal favorite...Hot Bed of Sex) displays some great potential. While it is a film with flashes of the genre that we love so passionately, it has moments of sheer luscious beauty that manages to captivate beyond understanding. There's some downright gorgeous shit going on in this film that also features the first duck hunting scene in a giallo feature. 

Barbara Bouchet is back for two nights in a row, this time playing a new secretary hired by a famed novelist with two first names, Richard Stuart, suspected to have had some shady stuff going on in his mansion...mainly death. Bouchet is Greta Franklin, who is actually on an undercover mission sent to uncover the mystery of her friend's murder...who, coincidentally, also worked for this shady novelist, played by the great Farley Granger. Settling into her first night in this massive mansion, Greta is treated to a good time at the probing hands of Richard's wife, Eleanora, played by the delicious Rosalba Neri. God...I just have to mention that this particular scene is one that you will need to play over and over again. Not just because it features two of the most beautiful actresses the genre has ever seen...but, also because of the amazing cinematography and soundtrack. It is so goddamn hypnotic...you will feel like Eleanora slipped something in your J&B when you weren't paying attention.

Anyway...the plot here is pretty standard, and dare I say...predictable. And, as I mentioned...a fucking duck hunting scene...which, I have to tell you...actually doesn't feel as out of place as I thought it would. I was pretty intrigued with the whole way the scene unfolded, always on the edge of my seat for whatever was going to happen next. I'm not saying that this was Hitchcockian levels of filmmaking...but, it was pretty entertaining for being a fucking duck hunt in the middle of a giallo.

I would be remiss...if I didn't mention the drug-fueled sex cocktail parties in the parlor...because...what the fuck, dude?? Who doesn't entertain guests like that in this day and age?? Eleanora wins my vote for most hospitable host in any giallo film of the era. I'd love to be invited over for a sleep over. Just wouldn't go fucking duck hunting with the couple. 

So, Richard goes about his business...being as obvious as a St. Bernard in a cat show...even tho the film does its damnedest to throw more red herrings at you than a sale at Joe's Fish Market (rim-shot). But, I do appreciate the effort in its desire to create mystery and intrigue...even tho there really isn't. In fact...the only mystery I was trying to solve was...what exactly does Eleanora slip in the drinks...because, damn! Then again...perhaps this one has a crazy twist of a twist ending? I will let you discover that one on your own.

Honestly, I cannot necessarily recommend Amuck  to the casual giallo fan in good faith. This one is strictly for the seasoned pro. While there is some intrigue and the characters are set up like the best of them...and that amazing soundtrack...it's just not a film full of anything extraordinary that would warrant a look. Well, not counting that amazing Neri-drugging-Bouchet scene, of course...because...well, quite frankly...JESUS CHRIST. There's just not enough gore in this one and the gloves are that of a brown work glove variety. The film has giallo DNA all over it...it just feels like it doesn't know what to do with all of it.

Still, Amuck  is best served with a group of connoisseurs midway through your giallo marathon one fun weekend. It is not a film to watch on your own at 1 in the morning...as it certainly takes its time to unfold that there's just not a ton of exciting stuff happening. Thankfully, Code Red finally released Amuck  on DVD earlier this year...so, you might still be able to find a copy somewhere. As I mentioned above...only proceed with this one if you've seen them all and you're on the hunt for something slow and psycho-sexy. By the way...here's a TASTE of the music from Amuck  that will surely have you singing it for days in the shower. 

Thanks for reading,

Peter Neal