• Watch Me When I Kill

    Released by: 88 Films
    Released on: October 23rd, 2017.
    Director: Antonio Bido
    Cast: Corrado Pani, Paola Tedesco, Franco Citti, Fernando Cerulli, Giuseppe Addobbati, Gianfranco Bullo, Jill Pratt
    Year: 1977

    The Movie:

    Directed by Antonio Bido, the same man behind The Blood Stained Shadow, 1977’s Watch Me When I Kill (also known as The Cat’s Victims) is a decent giallo, if not the genre’s high mark. The movie pulls heavily from the influence of Alfred Hitchcock’s films with a few nods to Dario Argento and Mario Bava’s cinema along the way.

    When the film begins, a night club dancer named Mara (Paolo Tedesco) stops off at the drug store to pick up her latest prescription. Strangely, the pharmacist tells her to come back later. What she doesn’t realize is that the actual pharmacist is lying dead just out of sight and she’s now a key witness. Things go from bad to worse for poor Mara when the man who killed the pharmacist realizes that he’d better take care of her as well. She’s the only one who can place him at the crime scene and as such, her life is now in great danger and of course, the cops are of no use.

    Thankfully for Mara, she can turn to her boyfriend, Lukas (Corrado Pani), for help. He sets out to try and find out who his lady friend’s new stalker is and what it is that he wants. Of course, the more he uncovers, the more the two begin to realize that there’s a lot more to this than the simple slaying of a neighborhood drug store employee as the story takes an interesting shift out of Rome to the Italian countryside.

    While a little muddled in terms of plot and pacing, Watch Me When I Kill does benefit from a few memorable kill scenes – a man is strangled in the bathtub, a woman has her face shoved against a hot plate, and a throat is graphically sliced open. While it’s hard to care too much for Mara and Lukas since they’re fairly cardboard in terms of character development, the film manages to entertain regardless. The film could have also benefitted a fair bit from a better motive for the killer and more involvement on his end – he simply pops up here and there to kill people, black gloves and all - but doesn’t really have much of a sense of menace or purpose outside of standing as an antagonistic plot device. The movie falls a bit short in this department, though to be fair to the cast they all handle their respective parts just fine.

    What really helps the film quite a bit and elevates to ‘slightly above average’ giallo status is the tense and heavy score that comes courtesy of Trans Europa Express. Their contribution to the film really makes the murder scenes and suspenseful moments a lot more effective than they probably really should have been. On top of that is some nice camera work that does a good job of making the urban settings fairly claustrophobic. At the same time, when the film switches locations to the more rural settings the visuals are opened to nice effect, providing some interesting visual contrast. That said, there’s nothing here that Argento didn’t do earlier or better for that matter. Still, this is worth seeing for some of its standout moments and its absolutely killer score.


    Watch Me When I Kill arrives on Blu-ray from 88 Films in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer framed at 1.85.1 widescreen taken from a ‘New 4K Transfer from the original negative’ on a 50GB disc with the feature taking up almost 30GBs of space. The picture quality here is very strong. Detail is generally excellent as is texture and there’s very nice depth to the picture. The image is grainy without looking dirty and there’s virtually no print damage here –this is a very film-like presentation, devoid of any excessive noise reduction, edge enhancement or sharpening. The strong bit rate keeps compression artifacts out of the picture, even in the darker scenes, while black levels remain strong and skin tones look nice and natural.

    Audio options are available in uncompressed English and Italian LPCM Mono tracks, with optional subtitles provided that translate the Italian track. Both tracks sound decent but the Italian option has more depth and power behind it. Levels are generally well balanced on both mixes, though occasionally the effects spike just a bit. Otherwise, no complaints here - there are no problems with any hiss or distortion and that score sounds great in lossless.

    As far as the extras go, first up we get a fourteen minute short entitled Danza Macabra that tells the story of a pianist (Manuela Morabita) seemingly haunted by a trio of beautiful – albeit possibly dead – women (Alessandra Cipriano, Nicoletta Nicoletti and Annamaria Petrocelli). Directed, written, shot and edited by Bido in 2015 on HD digital video, it’s a dark and very stylish piece with some great camera work that at times almost fetishizes the instrument. A second short film by Bido, Mendelsson In Judischen Museum Berlin, clocks in at twelve and a half minutes. Bido also wrote, shot, directed and edited this on HD digital video. It starts with a quote from Christa Wolf and then goes on to tell the story of a composer who works to create his latest piece in modern day which is contrasted with footage of another man working by candlelight centuries before. The modern footage is shot in black and white, the period footage in color and again it’s very stylish. This short was made earlier this year in 2017.

    Also included on the disc is a ten minute Interview with academic Mikel Koven entitled In Defence Of Watch Me When I Kill wherein he speaks about the film’s emphasis on mystery, why horror movie fans might not be so crazy about the film, and some of the interesting touches that the film contains. He also talks about how it is the only giallo to deal with the Holocaust as a backdrop, which definitely sets it apart from many of its kin.

    Outside of that, the disc also includes a five minute long restoration comparison that shows off the cleanup process done for this transfer, menus and chapter selection.

    Inside the keepcase is an insert booklet containing a five page essay on the film written by Calum Waddel that offers some insight into the film’s history and that also serves as a text interview with director Antonio Bido. Well worth reading, it’s interesting to get Bido’s thoughts on this picture as he looks back on his career. Reversible cover art is also included.

    It’s also worth noting that the first 500 copies ordered from 88 Films’ website will include a limited edition slipcover.

    The Final Word:

    A decent enough giallo that borrows more than it contributes to the genre, Watch Me When I Kill receives an excellent release from 88 Films. There’s some good extras here and the presentation is top notch.

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

    Comments 4 Comments
    1. JLG's Avatar
      JLG -

      Trans Europa Express

      not Kraftwerk
    1. Ian Jane's Avatar
      Ian Jane -
      Not Kraftwerk, but there is a connection (sort of)!

      "They chose the name Trans Europa Express with direct reference to Kraftwerk, who released their seminal record with the same title a few months prior."

    1. JLG's Avatar
      JLG -
      just being a boob and calling you out for the spelling mistake.

      which you have corrected
    1. Ian Jane's Avatar
      Ian Jane -
      I'm aware! The funny thing is, in the old review I wrote of this it was spelled right. That's what I get for running spellcheck in MS Word before uploading it.