Welcome to the first day of our GIALLOWEEN celebration! Today we have one strictly for the undiscerning gialli completists in the audience.
The Monster of Florence is not a great film. In fact, it is pretty goddamn hard to sit through. For starters, it has that made-for-TV feel to it...most likely because it probably aired on Italian television back in its day. And it doesn't really possess much of the style and grace that its contemporaries had. It's kind of a clumsy giallo film when it all comes down to it and only really worth a glance if this genre is your thing. Luckily...this genre is my bag...so, here we go.
Cesare Ferrario, best known for a string of Italian television mini-series back in the early 80's (so, not really all that known), swings for the cinematic fences with his giallo entry, Il mostro di Firenze...or The Monster of Florence...or Night Ripper...or Das Monster von Florenz (for some reason...everything sounds better in German). Ferrario deserves credit for at least trying here...which is something that I can't really say about most modern filmmakers. He creates an eerie vibe without succumbing to the signature tropes of the genre...and, for a little while, made a mildly amusing experience...especially if you're on Quaaludes.
The Monster of Florence is actually a film adaptation of the grisly murders of 16 victims that took place from 1968 to 1985 in the province of Florence, Italy. The killer, labeled "Il Mostro", gunned down couples out cavorting in the woods utilizing the same gun in every instance. All the murders were done in the same creepy manner each time and, although there have been several suspects throughout the years, the killer has never been properly identified. Points for adapting real-world elements into a giallo film. Minus points for adapting a killer who used a fucking gun. I mean...come on...this is giallo, a gentlemen's sport...for Christ's sake.
Anyway...the look of the film is not the worst I've seen. It is mostly on par with the kind of stuff that one would see in a bad Miami Vice episode, sans the great music. The killer is super clumsy and lacks any kind of style...thus playing into the "realness" of this film. Honestly, it took me a few times to finally get through this film...as I nodded off on the first couple of attempts...and when I finally concluded my "Night Ripper" experience...it was not a fulfilling one. Despite...boobies.
As I mentioned up above, I give Ferrario credit for attempting something different here...however, it is also a double-edged blade to excise traditional elements from a genre that has so much going for it. At the very least...give the killer some leather gloves (he had stupid rubber dish washing ones, at some point), or something. Throw in a hot American female student with psychic powers. I dunno. Maybe I'm just sour because I paid 20 bucks to watch something cool...and got...this. I've seen cop show re-enactments that were much more entertaining than this.
In the end, I would not recommend The Monster of Florence to the casual film going audience and would be hard pressed to recommend it to my gialli-watching brothers and sisters out there. It isn't a terrible film...but, it is an excruciating 92 minutes that could have been something much cooler. Watching a documentary of the actual murders was much more gripping. YouTube that, instead.
Thanks for reading,