• Giallo In Venice (Scorpion Releasing) Blu-ray Review

    Released by: Scorpion Releasing
    Released on: August 21st, 2018.
    Director: Mario Landi
    Cast: Jeff Blynn, Gianni Dei, Leonora Fani, Mariangela Giordano, Michele Renzullo, Vassili Karis
    Year: 1979
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    Giallo In Venice – Movie Review:

    When Mario Landi’s sleaze-tastic 1979 film Giallo A Venezia (or, as it’s called in English and on the cover of this Blu-ray release, Giallo In Venice), we see two corpses found near the shoreline. The man was stabbed to death and the women drowned but then curiously dragged back to the shore. A shaggy haired, hardboiled egg eating cop named Inspector Angelo De Pol (Jeff Blynn) arrives on the scene and starts working the case.

    As it turns out, the victims were named Flavia (Leonora Fani) and Fabio (Gianni Dei) and they were married. When an autopsy report proves that cocaine was found in Fabio’s blood and that Flavia had sex right before she was killed, De Pol starts snooping around to find out what he can about their lives. Well, it turns out, after talking to a friend of Flavia’s named Marizia (Mariangela Giordano), the Fabio was a bit of a pervert. He got off on screwing his wife in public – at a boatyard or in a movie theater with a masturbatory participant seated nearby joining in – or watching her go at it with other men. Flavia was getting tired of this, it wasn’t what she signed up for, but the couple did attend an orgy at Marizia’s place one day, and there are photos (slides, actually!) to prove it! Things go from bad to worse for our intrepid cop and his Kojak-esque assistant when a hooker (Maria Mancini) from one of the photos winds up dead shortly after the double murder... and it looks like she was killed with the same type of tailor’s scissors that left the holes in Fabio’s torso!

    It’s clear that there’s a murderer on a bit of a rampage here – bit who is it? Flavia’s former flame (Vassili Karis)? The creepy guy leaving harassing voicemail for Marizia? Or someone else entirely?

    This one has some pacing problems and some plot holes to be sure, but as uneven as Mario Landi’s direction can be in this film, it more than makes it up it with some pretty strong exploitation elements. Not only do we see lovely Leonora Fani ins various states of undress and promiscuity, but we get Mariangela Giordano (yes, she of Burial Ground infamy) getting in on the raunchy action as well. There’s a lot of sex in this movie – it’s not always exciting or erotic, but there’s something to be said for quantity over quality. And then there are the murder set pieces – these aren’t always particularly well executed. It’s clear when prosthetics and fake body parts are being used, but man does Landi really go for it in terms of who gets slashed and where. Giallo films have long been accused of having a misogynist streak to them, and there’s a set piece in this film that will definitely make you wonder just what was wrong with some of the people making this movie!

    That said, it’s tough to take any of this all that seriously. Whether the sense of humor in the film was intentional or not is debatable but when you’ve got Jeff Blynn running around eating (and occasionally gifting) hardboiled eggs looking like a poor man’s Maurizio Merli with a Kojak clone trailing him you kind of have to giggle to yourself a little bit. On top of that, Gianni Dei, who bears a passing resemblance to Wayne Gretzky (and who has popped up in movies like The Sins Of Madame Bovery, The Last Round and Patrick Still Lives… another ‘sexy shocker’ with Landi pulling duty behind the camera), makes for an unintentionally funny cokehead/rapey husband type. He doesn’t lack in intensity but he just looks wrong for the part, not particularly intimidating at all.

    Still, the movie entertains. The cinematography from Franco Villa (who also worked on Patrick Still Lives but in addition lensed La Bimba Di Satana and Malabimba and a few of Fernando Di Leo’s better cop thrillers to name only a few), is generally solid. There are some nice compositions here and the fact that the whole thing does look like it was shot on location in Venice adds to the eye candy – there are plenty of neat old canals and interesting buildings throughout the movie. The locations work here is great. The score, from Berto Pisano, who scored Death Smiles On A Murderer, Strip Nude For Your Killer, Burial Ground and dozens more Italian films), which is made up primarily of upbeat, mellow jazz, is as catchy as it is wildly inappropriate.

    Giallo In Venice – Blu-ray Review:

    Scorpion brings this sleazy little picture to Blu-ray in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer framed at 1.66.1 widescreen on a 25GB disc with the transfer taking up just over 22GBs of space on that disc. The transfer is touted as a ‘brand new remaster of the film with extensive color correction performed exclusively for this release.’ The results are generally quite good, particularly if you’ve seen this film before via the various grey market and bootleg sources that have made the rounds over the years, most of which were nearly unwatchable and way, way, way too dark. Scorpion’s transfer is a good one, and that color correction work definitely shows – in fact, the color reproduction here is pretty strong. There are small white specks evident throughout, mostly noticeable in the first and last fifteen-minute chunks of the film, and some small scratches here and there but the image is stable enough. Grain appears naturally throughout the movie and the whole things look film-like, resulting in a viewing experience akin to watching a theatrical print. Some minor compression artifacts pop up in a few spots but there are no issues with noise reduction or edge enhancement. Black levels are good and detail is solid, never reaching the razor sharpness of the best transfers out there BUT again, if you’ve seen this movie in the past seeing it here is really a revelation.

    The only audio option for the feature is an Italian language DTS-HD 2.0 Mono track with subtitles provided in English only. The audio presentation is also pretty solid. Dialogue is reproduced with good clarity and the (sometimes wildly inappropriate) jazz score has decent fidelity. Every once in a while, you might hear some minor hiss but you really have to listen for it, for the most part this is a very clean track. Levels are properly balanced throughout and the yellow subtitles are clean, clear and easy to read.

    The main extra on the disc is a commentary track with writer Troy Howarth, the author of the two So Sweet, So Perverse: 50 Years Of Italian Giallo films volumes. Clearly aware of the film’s strong points as well as its many weaknesses, Howarth delivers a well-researched talk on the film’s history and its key players. He talks up Landi’s directing efforts, Villa’s cinematography and Pisano’s score as well as the contributions from the key cast members. He talks about the locations and the importance they serve to the look of the film, some of the plot details that the film exploits and of course, the picture’s more sordid content such as the explicit scenes of sex and violence. It’s a fine track, delivered with some welcome doses of humor and a fair bit of insight as well.

    Aside from that we get trailers for a few other Scorpion Releasing properties – The Psychic, Gates Of Hell, Opera, Murder Rock and Enigma Rosso – as well as menus and chapter selection. The copy of the disc sent for review also included some nice reversible cover art (with the newly created image shown up top on one side and the original poster art on the reverse) as well as an insert poster of the newly created cover art image.

    Giallo In Venice – The Final Word:

    Giallo In Venice is no masterpiece of gripping suspense but it definitely delivers the sleazy goods the way few other giallos even come close to. Those who like their Italian murder mysteries on the more extreme side should appreciate how far director Landi takes things here, and if there are pacing problems and plot holes aplenty, well… that’s just how it goes sometimes. Scorpion Releasing gives the film its first official North American home video release, presenting this previously ragged looking trash film in vastly improved shape and with a few extras as well. Recommended – so long as you know what you’re getting into!

    Click on the images below for full sized Giallo In Venice Blu-ray review screen captures (some of which are NSFW)!

    Comments 5 Comments
    1. Raf A.'s Avatar
      Raf A. -
      The compression is really atrocious. The green line on the top of the image is gone.
    1. John Bernhard's Avatar
      John Bernhard -
      Quote Originally Posted by Raf A. View Post
      The compression is really atrocious. The green line on the top of the image is gone.
      Look so much better.
      I think we are seeing the results of the noisy scan provided more than compression issues.
    1. SuperDevilDoctor's Avatar
      SuperDevilDoctor -
      Apparently, this is not for sale at Amazon. What gives?
    1. Ian Jane's Avatar
      Ian Jane -
      It was Roninflix/Diabolik exclusive.
    1. SuperDevilDoctor's Avatar
      SuperDevilDoctor -
      Maybe it'll get a wider (Amazon) release later on...