There were numerous benefits to being European in the mid-1970s: Chic clothing, fuel-efficient cars, cities crawling with sexually liberated citizens with robust eyebrows, rotary phones, and law enforcement agencies whose ranks were overflowing with red pantie-obsessed reprobates. On the downside, being European in the mid-1970s also meant that you will be stabbed at one point or another during your voguish lifespan. Now, while being stabbed might not sound all that bad. You have to remember that the word "stabbed" does not mean what you think it means. To be "stabbed" implies that a foreign object is being forced into a place where foreign objects are not welcome. Of course, as most people know, there are certain places where foreign objects are welcome. In fact, I'm stabbing myself in one of those places right this minute. But the person doing the stabbing does not want to stab you there, their intention is to disrupt the operational integrity of one or more of your internal organs by thrusting a pointy piece of metal through them. And I'm no doctor, but the blood loss as a result of being stabbed with a pointy piece of metal will cause your cushy European existence to become fraught with unforeseen complications.
The human body, even the European variety, needs blood in order to function in a productive manner. I mean, for example, a European woman will have a better chance of putting on and taking off her exquisitely tailored lingerie more efficiently if she hasn't been stabbed. On the other hand, a European woman, one who has just been stabbed with, oh, let's say, a sharp knife, will have some difficultly manipulating the complex levers and pulleys of her garter belt.
The killer in Strip Nude for Your Killer (a.k.a. Nude per l'assassino), Andrea Bianchi's stylish giallo thriller set in the world of high fashion, is such a stabbing enthusiast, that I was actually worried for a second there that they were going to run out of people to stab. Luckily, the fashion industry in Milan is so heavily stocked with attractive and not-so attractive (sorry all you guys with plastic girlfriends and excessive back-fat) people to bump off, that I'm sure it will be quite some time before they run out of victims. Targeting the chichi employees of an unnamed photography studio, the killer, dressed head-to-toe in leather and wearing a black motorcycle helmet, systematically stabs their way through the joint's entire staff.
Every confrontation is greeted with an eerie clicking noise followed by the sound of water running from a tap. When you hear either of these things, you should immediately brace yourself, because you're about to be brutally murdered.
Even though she isn't wearing a single stitch of lingerie, my favourite murder was the one that featured the insanely gorgeous Femi Benussi roaming around her apartment.
Never has the investigation of a mysterious thud been so intoxicating, Femi's naked body and overall aura were downright electrifying. To watch her slowly lurk through the nooks and crannies her sparsely lit residence was the equivalent to being spanked with a spatula made entirely out of dead bunnies. (Those interested in animal rights will be reassured to know that if I were to make a spatula like that, the dead bunnies would be very much alive when I mutilated them.)
The assailant uses the running water diversion technique. In that, the moment their potential victim turns off one tap, another tap in the house is turned on. And, as you would expect, this does nothing but unnerve the hunter's prey. Well, in the case of Femi Benussi, who plays Lucia, an aspiring model, I wish they would have played the faucet game all night long. (Okay, we get it, you like watching Femi investigate strange noises in the buff.)
It should be said that Femi Benussi also makes a fantastic entrance in the film. Sauntering through a resort in a skimpy bikini with a curvaceous effrontery–the hypnotic back and forth of her child bearing hips caused a thicket of Italian men to strain their necks while trying to get a peak at her undulating femininity–Femi manages to deflect the perverted advances of an aggressively obnoxious fashion photographer named Carlo (Nino Castelnuovo) and look fabulous simultaneously.
On top of that, Femi was able to steal a scene merely by sitting with her legs crossed in an office. You see, the police are questioning Gisella (Amanda), the gal who runs the magazine/fashion agency/whatever, but our minds–and the mind of one of the detectives–is firmly focused on Femi's glorious red panties.
While I realize calling Femi Benussi "insanely gorgeous" is a bold statement, especially when you consider the fact that Strip Nude for Your Killer also stars Edwige Fenech, Solvi Stubing, and Erna Schürer (who are all gorgeous in their own right), I stand by my choice. What I did was carefully consider the evidence, weigh the pros and cons (navel density, thigh fluctuation, etc.), and after a long deliberation, came to the conclusion that Femi is the one for me. Nevertheless, that does not mean I'm going to sit idly by and let Edwige, Solvi, and Erna go unloved.
Boasting a strong pair of calves and an unexpected tender side, Erna Schürer's Doris is probably the film's most complex character. Experiencing the humiliation (constantly being forced to pose for pictures with mustachioed men and motorcycles) and degradation (constantly being forced to have sex against their will) that can come with being a fashion model in the mid-1970s first hand, Doris has seen it all. Whether being slapped around by her disgusting boyfriend, treated shabbily by pompous photographers, or forced to endure the sexual advances of creepy co-workers, she always manages to maintain an air of quiet dignity; which, I hear, is a hard thing to pull off while wearing a leopard print coat.
The way Erna handled the botched sexual encounter with Maurizo (Franco Diogene), the aforementioned creepy co-worker, was rather touching. Instead of mocking the his unsatisfactory performance, Doris was sympathetic towards him. I didn't expect this kind of pathos to come out of a bungled rape attempt, but there it was. And she managed to elicit it while wearing lingerie, a reoccurring theme in this film.
Proving my point, the statuesque Solvi Stubing does her best work whilst looking confused and chic in teal lingerie.
I'll admit, the sheer attractiveness of Edwige Fenech was overwhelming at times. Seriously, the fact that I was able to get through the entire film without seeing any drool escape from the mouth of my Aunt Judy's favourite armpit cyst was a minor miracle. Sporting an adorable haircut and always willing to show you the colour of her underwear (her black panties should have got a screen credit), Edwige oozes an intense form of elegance as Magda. Well, actually, now that I think about it, her character is quite clumsy. But there's no law that says you can't be clumsy and elegant. Sure, it's a bit of a contradiction, but I'm not really a big fan of using words in their proper context.
The so-called "hero" of the piece was, in reality, a sleazy asshole (he joked about anal rape, had no qualms about causing a healthy woman to develop an eating disorder, and seemed to enjoy mock strangling his girlfriend a little too much) and as per usual, I lost track (and interest) of what the killer was up to after a certain point. Yet, the the stunning actresses and the daintiness of their flimsy wardrobes kept me going until the big reveal at the end.
Oh, and don't worry, I haven't forgotten to praise the actress known simply as "Amanda." She rocked a red and black turtleneck ensemble in one scene like a superstar, and I liked the no-nonsense shape of her bum.
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Special thanks to the wannabe mad scientists over at Love Train for the Tenebrous Empire for making me aware of this spicy, lingerie-flavoured dish. And make sure to check out those crazy kids over at Tower Farm Reviews; the phrase "humiliatingly sleazy Speedo" is employed.