• Lizard In A Woman’s Skin, A



    Released by: Mondo Macabro
    Released on: February 9th, 2016.
    Director: Lucio Fulci
    Cast: Florinda Bolkan, Jean Sorel, Stanley Baker, Anita Strindberg
    Year: 1971
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    The Movie:

    One of Lucio Fulci’s finest moments, 1971’s A Lizard In A Woman’s Skin (released theatrically on domestic shores as Schizo) tells the sordid tale of a beautiful woman named Carol Hammond (Florinda Bolkan). She and her husband Frank (Jean Sorel) live in London in an apartment next door to Julia Durer (Anita Strindberg), an equally lovely lady who constantly throws extravagant parties in her pad. When Carol starts to be plagued by dreams in which her lustful feelings for Julia turn to brutal and bloody murder, it’s a cause for concern and an issue that she brings up with her therapist.

    Shortly after that, however, Julie turns up dead, the victim of a murder all too similar to the one Carol saw in her dreams. Inspector Corvin (Stanley Baker) gets word of Carol’s connection to the murder and after some preliminary detective work, they find her fingerprints on the murder weapon and not only that, it looks like some of Carol’s clothing was left at the scene of the crime. While it certainly looks to all involved that Carol is the culprit, Corvin keeps digging. Something doesn’t add up here, and when an attempt is made on his suspect’s life, the plot truly thickens…

    A beautifully trippy giallo full of acidic visuals, wild dream sequences, lesbian highjinks and murder most foul, A Lizard In A Woman’s Skin is a top tier thriller that beautifully offers up style and substance in fairly equal measure. It’s an atmospheric film ripe with some pretty effective red herrings, and its plot unfolds at a pace that is quick, but at the same time quite deliberate. Fulci is savvy enough to keep us guessing but to offer up enough hints and enough clues to keep us engaged throughout. Of course, the fact that the film is as wild looking as it is doesn’t hurt, this is truly a picture that could easily succeed on visuals alone, but thankfully it never goes that way. There’s a good story being told here, a legitimately suspenseful tale of upper class greed, betrayal, manipulation and, of course, sex and violence. When the real world and Carol’s dream world begin to blend, all set to the sounds of a truly rousing Ennio Morricone score, you can’t help but fall for the film hook, line and sinker and it all leads up to a finale that is both unexpected and somehow simultaneously inevitable.

    At the center of all of this insanity is the cast. Stanley Baker is solid as the top cop. He’s good in the part, he looks right and suits the character’s temperament and he does fine work. Anita Strindberg is sexy and alluring in her role, the perfect subject for a lesbian fever dream, while Jean Sorel hands in a strong turn as Carol’s questionably motivated husband. It’s Bolkan, however, who steals the show. Her work here is, in a word, tortured. Her facial expressions often say more than any line of dialogue could, and her distinct facial features suit her well here.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    A Lizard In A Woman’s Skin arrives on Blu-ray from Mondo Macabro in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition 1.85.1 widescreen transfer, and it’s a strong one to be sure. The elements used are presented in very nice shape, colors look great and black levels are rock solid. Skin tones, which are on display quite frequently, look nice and natural and there is no evidence of any noise reduction or edge enhancement, resulting in a clean and nicely detailed film-like transfer that boasts some very natural looking grain but not much at all in the way of actual print damage.

    LPCM Mono tracks are offered up in English and Italian with optional subtitles provided in English only. Both tracks sound quite good and Ennio Morricone’s classic score really benefits from the lossless treatment that the format provides. Levels are nicely balanced on both tracks, there are no issues with any hiss or distortion and the subtitles are actually subtitles, meaning they translate the Italian track and not the English track (there are some differences noticeable between the versions).

    Extras are plentiful here, starting with an audio commentary with Kris Gavin and Pete Tombs that does a fantastic job of covering the history of the picture. We get all the biographical information you could want on the director and his key cast and crew members but so too do we get some insight into the style of the film, the effectiveness of the score, a bit of a history lesson on some of the props and effects work that got the film into some trouble and a good bit of critical insight and analysis as well. The track is informative, engaging and very well put together.

    Mondo Macabro have also carried over the Shedding The Skin documentary that originally appeared on the first Media Blasters DVD release of the movie. Interviewed here are Florinda Bolkan, Jean Sorel, Mike Kennedy and Penny Brown as well as some of the technicians that handled some of the special effects that are featured in the picture. For those who haven’t seen it before, this half hour piece is a pretty interesting look back at the making of the movie from those who were there and who witnessed it first-hand. There’s plenty of discussion of the film’s history but so too are there some interesting comments about its fairly tempestuous director.

    There are, however, some new featurettes here too, starting with a thirty minute vintage interview with the director titled Dr. Lucio Fulci's Day For Night. Originally conducted for Italian television, this is pretty great stuff as the interviewer gets Fulci talking not only about his work in the horror movie industry but about other genres that he dipped his toes into over the years, his thoughts on some of his contemporaries in the Italian film business, and quite a bit more. Stephen Thrower, the man behind Beyond Terror: The Films of Lucio Fulci, pops in front of the camera for a half hour dissection of the film, where he notes the importance of the film in the giallo cycle, how it fits in with some of Fulci’s other pictures from this time, how the film was received, what he feels are its more effective qualities and quite a bit more. Thrower knows his stuff when it comes to Fulci and his input here is very welcome. The eleven minute From Burton To Baker featurette is an interview with actor Tony Adams where he not only talks about playing a cop in this feature, but also his work alongside Stanley Baker and Richard Burton and his time on Doctor Who where he played Elgin opposite John Pertwee as The Doctor in the serial entitled The Green Death.

    Rounding out the extras are three different theatrical trailers for the feature, an alternate opening credits sequence, a collection of radio spots, static menus and chapter selection.

    The Final Word:

    A Lizard In A Woman’s Skin remains a highpoint in Lucio Fulci’s career and giallo cinema alike. It’s slick, stylish, sexy and compelling – a genuine classic of the genre, and Mondo Macabro have done an excellent job bringing it in its full strength version to Blu-ray. The presentation is excellent, the extras as comprehensive as they are extensive and the overall care and attention to detail given to this release makes it pretty much essential for anyone interested in Italian cult films.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!