Film #254: MURDER OBSESSION aka MURDER SYNDROME aka FOLLIA OMICIDA aka THE WAILING aka DELERIUM aka L'OBSESSIONE CHE ICCIDE
Murder Obsession (aka Murder Syndrome aka Follia Omicida aka The Wailing aka Delerium aka L’Obsessione Che Iccide)
2 out of 5 stars
An at times incoherent latter day giallo/Gothic horror/occult flick mashup from director Riccardo Freda (I VAMPIRI, THE IGUANA WITH THE TONGUE OF FIRE) who, for some reason decided to make this movie his last feature film. The picture has a spotty cast in the way of Stefano Patrizi (LION OF THE DESERT, YOUNG, VIOLENT, DANGEROUS), John Richardson (Mario Bava’s BLACK SUNDAY), Laura Gemser (a number of the EMANUELLE films) and Anita Strindberg(THE CASE OF THE SCORPION’S TAIL, SHORT NIGHT OF GLASS DOLLS, YOUR VICE IS A LOCKED ROOM AND ONLY I HAVE THE KEY). While not as irritating as some of Freda’s other films (like say, TRAGIC CEREMONY aka ESTRATTO DAGLI ARCHIVA SEGRETI DELLA POLIZIA DI UNA CAPITALE EUROPEA), MURDER OBSESSION is nowhere near as good as say, I VAMPIRI or CALTIKI THE UNDYING MONSTER (oddly both films were reportedly directed by Mario Bava and not Freda - go fig), but ok… MURDER OBSESSION feels like it wanted to be one thing and ended up being quite another. It begins like a giallo then things start getting more Gothic (with the big house, thunder & lightning, austere trappings, etc) with some elements of the Occult thrown in for seemingly no reason. The direction is ok. The acting pretty damn stiff (which is to be expected from Italian films of that timeframe). That said, there is a lot of nudity and the locations have a fair amount of atmosphere, but this is by no means a necessity. Giallo & Freda completists may sign on to scratch yet another title of their lists, but few others will be able to generate much interest. One thing of note: this was Italian Special FX guru Sergio Stivaletti’s first gig and you can see the limited budget did him no favors. Bats on visible strings, victims catching said bats and stuffing them in their mouths, weird, goofy stop motion footprints, and one of the worst fake head hatchet plants of all time are just some of the things you’ll spot in this ultimately meandering and unsatisfying film.