Film #306: THE EXQUISITE CADAVER aka LAS CRUELES aka THE EXQUISITE CORPSE
The Exquisite Cadaver aka La Crueles aka The Exquisite Corpse
2 out of 5 stars
A woman kills herself because of a failed affair with a married publisher who is played by television actor, Carlos Estrada. Her lesbian lover, actress Capuchine from SATYRICON, THE PINK PANTHER, and WHAT’S NEW, PUSSYCAT, begins mailing him her body parts in this stylish Spanish film from 1969. Directed by Vincente Aranda (THE BLOOD-SPATTERED BRIDE), THE EXQUISITE CADAVER is a thriller that begins slow and stays that way. I mean, it just takes forever to get going. And even once it does, it’s still painfully uneventful. The performances are all solid and everyone is attractive (gotta love those big, floppy hats), so the time passes quickly. But, as the story unfolds, it all feels like a French film rather than it does either a Spanish or Italian one (which it is). The choice of shots is just different. They’re more static and they linger longer than they otherwise might. It’s makes for a very interesting mix… especially once our put-upon publisher is given acid and trips his balls off. But this is a giallo, or at least that’s what it says on the box, so… Where are the visionary visual set pieces? Where are the ghoulish murders and nubile women? Instead, we get a rather staid revenge story (sorta) in which the perpetrator is never in question and it becomes more of a retelling of the failed relationship (by just about everybody) via flashback and droning narration which, let’s face it, is tedious and features, in this case, some bad teenage poetry. So, by the time the third act arrives, well… no one cares. Well-crafted, but soulless, THE EXQUISITE CADAVER never seems to know what it wants to be. Is it a giallo? No. Is it a murder mystery? Not really. More of a tale of the aftermath of a suicide, I’d say. But, aside from a severed hand and a fake head, it’s decidedly bloodless. So, this one’s recommended for Euro-trash (specifically Spanish) fans only.