Thursday, April 11, 2013

All the Colours of the Dark (Sergio Martino, 1972)

If a movie causes you to check your body for Satanic tattoos after it's over, you know it's doing something right. Hey, you know what they say? Post-consumption bodily self-inspection is the cornerstone of fine art. I'm also curious to know how many pairs of black, almost knee-high boots were sold after All the Colours of the Dark (a.k.a. They're Coming to Get You) hit the faces of the boot-loving populace back in the early 1970s. In fact, it wouldn't surprise me if they [the boot manufactures] had a booth set up in the theatre lobby. And why not? I mean, who wouldn't want to emulate the stylish sophistication Edwige Fenech exudes throughout this giallo thriller with supernatural overtones? Sure, some of us can only dream of being a chic brunette with a blemish-free T-zone and a pair of legs that are creamy enough to be poured into the blackest, almost knee-high boots money can buy, but that's where Italian cinema comes in. Designed to plug up the gaping holes that litter our pathetic, non-boot-adorned lives, writer-director Sergio Martino (Torso) has created a fantastical world jam-packed with the kind of images that will make you swoon like a baby that was just secreted from the wart-laden slip 'n slide that is your average witch's birth canal. Funny, I didn't know witch babies liked movies that featured Satanic rituals, freaky dream sequences, blue-eyed dagger enthusiasts, and angelic women with dark hair who writhe a lot? They should, but they don't. Then again, I was speaking metaphorically. Actually, the film is pretty sparse when it comes to scenes that involve Satanists doing what Satanists do best, and that is, of course, worshiping Satan. And, come to think of it, the film seemed to be lacking in the freaky dream sequence department. But as far as blue-eyed dagger enthusiasts and angelic brunettes go, this is the film to see to get your fill of both.
Even though I thought his eyebrows could use a bit of a trim, Ivan Rassimov makes his presence felt almost immediately as...well, he's credited as "Mark Cogan," but I like to call him the blue-eyed dagger enthusiast. Why is that, you ask? Well, for starters, his eyes are blue. And secondly, he's always carrying a dagger in a manner that struck me as enthusiastic. Which got me a thinking. If you put those two distinct character traits together, you get: Blue-eyed dagger enthusiast. 
I don't think I have to explain why I called Edwige Fenech's character an angelic woman with dark hair. Don't forget, an angelic woman who also writhes a lot. Yeah, yeah, who writhes a lot. If you want me to explain why, I'll be more than happy to. Hmmm, judging by your frantic head shaking, I'll take that as a no. Your loss.
Don't be fooled by the serenity that greets us right off the bat (the opening credits are an unbroken shot of a pastoral pond), because things are are about to get sick, brainsick, that is.
Suddenly, a clock appears out of nowhere. A crazed old woman with bad teeth screams (for added creepiness, she's dressed like a little girl). A naked pregnant woman with a large black afro lies on a table ready to give birth. Then we're shown a close up of a pair icy blue eyes, followed by some quick shots of a dagger in motion. What's going on? I haven't the slightest idea. But when all is said and done, everyone, including a naked brunette lying on a bed, are covered in stab wounds. Transported to a country road at night, the sequence ends after a car crashes into a tree. The second the car is about to hit the tree, Jane Harrison (Edwige Fenech) wakes up in her London flat and wanders in a daze towards her London bathroom.
Just like Winona Ryder's character in Heathers, Jane showers with her clothes on when she's stressed out. And just like Winona Ryder, Edwige Fenech is so gorgeous, it's scary. As you watch Edwige Fenech in the early going of All the Colours of the Dark, you can't help but think: How is it physically possible for someone to be this attractive. I mean, it's unreal. Anyway, her boyfriend, what's this guys name? Oh, yeah, Richard (George Hilton), shows up just in time to comfort her by caressing her naked body and feeding her vitamins.
Neither seem to work, however, as Jane has the stab dream again. Leaving her flat (a cool art deco apartment complex), Jane is accompanied by her sister Barbara (Nieves Navarro), who, by the way, is the exact same height as Edwige Fenech, to see Dr. Burton (George Rigaud), a shrink; despite Richard's objections (he thinks they're all a bunch of quacks).
Guess who Jane sees in the waiting room? She sees Ivan Rassimov's blue-eyed dagger enthusiast, that's who. On top of being enthusiastic about daggers, it would seen that he also enjoys lurking and stalking. Wait a minute, did you say he enjoys lurking and stalking? Yes, I think I did. You won't believe this, but I have "enjoys lurking and stalking" listed on my profile. Except, I have it listed as "stalking and lurking," not "lurking and stalking."
Of course, Dr. Burton doesn't believe Jane when she tries to tell him that she saw the blue-eyed dagger enthusiast who enjoys lurking and stalking, and stalking and lurking, in the waiting room. But don't worry, Barbara corroborates Jane's story that there was in deed a blue-eyed dagger enthusiast sitting in the waiting room at one point. You should have seen me the moment when Barbara backs up Jane's story, I was all like: In your face, Dr. Burton! You should spend less time leering at Edwige Fenech's fetching knees, and more time listening to your patients problems.
Though, I have to admit. If you're going to leer at a woman's knees, you can't beat the knees attached to Edwige Fenech. I mean, c'mon. They're fantastic. 
After being told by Dr. Burton that she is "quite sane," Jane heads down to the subway. Sitting crossed-legged, the exposed leg skin languishing between the bottom of her skirt and the top of her boots no doubt causing many trouser-related irregularities to occur in the London underground that day, Jane can't help but overhear an asinine conversation being conducted by a typical English family. When her car eventually empties out, Jane notices that she and a man in a tan trench coat are the only ones left. No worries, right? Wrong. It's the blue-eyed dagger enthusiast. And every time the lights flicker, he seems to get closer. Realizing that it's only a matter of time before he is sitting on her not yet damp lap, Jane makes a run for it.
It might seem weird now, but back in the early 1970s lot's of people were joining Satanic cults on a whim. And Jane is no different. When she arrives home after being harassed by the blue-eyed dagger enthusiast, Jane meets Mary (Marina Malfatti), her blonde upstairs neighbour. The two hit it off immediately. While walking through the park, Mary suggests to Jane that she should join the Satanic cult she belongs to–you know, to clear her head. Like I said, nowadays, no-one wants to join a Satanic cult, but Jane seems open to the idea.
In fact, she's so open, she agrees to attend today's meeting. But first, she's got to get attacked by the blue-eyed dagger enthusiast; it's in her contract. When the attack, complete with crazy editing and the kick ass music of Bruno Nicolai, is over, it's ritual time, baby! You can tell just by looking at him that  Mr. McBrian (Julián Ugarte) is the leader of this particular Satanic cult. How could I tell? Well, for starters, check out his beard. And secondly, the long fingernails and the gaudy, eyeball-centric jewelry are dead giveaways.
While watching her drink fresh fox blood, and be inundated with many kisses, I think it's safe to say that Jane is now in league with Satan. Will this new allegiance help quell Jane's nightmares? Who's to say? It doesn't, however, mean that the blue-eyed dagger enthusiast is ever going to leave her alone.
Quick question: Why is Lisa Leonardi credited as "Girl with dog"? Yeah, she's walking a dog. But don't you think "Girl with killer gams" would have been more appropriate? 
Repeatedly told that, "you belong to us," Jane soon finds out that Satanic cults are easier to join, than they are to unjoin. And not to mention the eyeball triangle tattoo that all the Satanics get is a pain in the ass to remove, especially if you get one on your ass. Dripping style (short skirts and killer production design) and replete with trippy thrills (if you're going to be chased around London by a creepy dude with piercing blue eyes, you can't beat Ivan Rassimov, he rocks), All the Colours of the Dark is so chic it hurts. Great locations, awesome soundtrack, yeah, yeah, there could have been more gore, but Sergio Martino makes stalking seem cool again; not that it ever went out of fashion. A gorgeous leading lady and an effective villain make this Italian giallo worth a look-see.

uploaded by braniki1

Special thanks to ido for recommending this chichi film.


  1. This film pushes my buttons.

  2. I just noticed, but that trailer is mega-spoiler-ish.

  3. It is. Very horribly. Some giallo trailers tend to give away the whole damn film. Then again, most Hollywood trailers just show the whole film in two minutes. You don't even need to go see it. Here is a very nice little trailer, that doesn't give away the plot points. But does contain lots of creamy goodness:

    This film is full of creamy goodness. Sexual rituals to Bruno Nicolai's music. Edwige Fenech in almost knee-high black boots (although Barbara Steele would have pushed this over the edge for me, personally). Martino's overall aura of disassociative paranoia and creepiness. Very creamy.