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Thread: The Strange Vice of Mr. Martino, Or the All-Purpose Sergio Martino Thread

  1. #1

    The Strange Vice of Mr. Martino, Or the All-Purpose Sergio Martino Thread

    Martino is easily my favorite Italian filmmaker. When it comes to giallo, I've always said that Bava may have started it, Argento may have popularized it, but Martino perfected it. To me, his string of giallo's in the 70's, The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh (1971), The Case of the Scorpion's Tail (1971), All the Colors of the Dark (1972), Your Vice Is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key (1972) and Torso (1973) pretty much define the genre.

    Of course to limit Martino to just giallos would be a serious broad stroking of his output as he's clearly one of the most versatile Italian directors. He can do mondo like his first two features Wages of Sin (1969) and Naked and Violent (1970), Eurocrime like The Violent Professionals (1973) and Gambling City (1975), spaghetti westerns like the supremely badass Mannaja - A Man Called Blade (1977), cannibal films like Mountain of the Cannibal God (1978), creature films like Island of the Fishman (1979) and even post-apocalyptic fare like 2019: After the Fall of New York (1983).

    One of my favorites of his is the erotic thriller Craving Desire (1993), which despite being very much a product of its time is head and shoulders above similar films thanks to its taboo subject matter, leading lady Vittoria Belvedere and Martino's sleek direction.

    Anyone seen his digitally lensed later giallo Mozart is a Murderer (1999)? Or how about the bizarre and random action/horror hybrid American Tiger (1990)?

    Someone needs to write a book on Martino. We've already had great books on Argento, Fulci, Bava and Deodato. Its time for this maestro to get a proper career retrospective. So, where are the other Martino maniacs on this board?
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  2. #2
    Scholar of Sleaze Paul L's Avatar
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    I think the digital age has been kind to Martino. Many of his previously hard-to-view films have had solid releases on the DVD format (especially via the NoShame discs). I find his work uneven but when he's good, he's very, very good. I'm not such a fan of TORSO but most of his other thrilling all'italiana films tickle my fancy, especially YOUR VICE... and MRS WARDH. MANNAJA is a film I was initially cold towards but grew to enjoy after the Blue Underground disc was released.
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  3. #3
    Mannaja isn't bad, but borrows so heavily off Keoma. I've not seen many of his other works, but I always had the impression that Martino was a good director when working in a genre that others had already defined - he was a decent trend follower but not a trend setter.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member Lalala76's Avatar
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    Shameless appear to be releasing TORSO, and more importantly STRANGE VICE OF MRS WARDH on Blu-ray!!

  5. #5
    I've seen more than a couple of Martino flicks. I need to see more of his Polizi and Giallo's. What I've seen so far:

    Torso
    2019: After the Fall of New York
    Mountain of the Cannibal God
    Hands of Steel
    Island of the Fishmen AKA Screamers

    Torso was good. Albeit a standard Giallo but it has some great moments such as the kill in the woods and the film's interesting twist towards the end. I really need to see All the Colors of the Dark and Your Vice is a Locked Room.

    2019 is fun trash. Not much more to say about it. A must if you enjoy cheesy Mad Max ripoffs.

    Mountain of the Cannibal God comes really close to being good. You have to approach it as being more of a sleazy jungle adventure picture instead of a straight up horror film ala Deodato's Cannibal films. The animal violence is very unfortunate and unlike Cannibal Holocaust or Jungle Holocaust it wasn't done to feed the cast and crew. It is a good entry in the Cannibal cycle with an amazing score. Plus it has the novelty of having some name actors prominently in the cast.

    Hands of Steel is shit.

    Island of the Fishmen I didn't enjoy too much. I liked the Gillman costumes and Richard Johnson is always great. But where's the gore? Where's the exploitation? I found it kind of lame and prefer the Roger Corman re-edit called Screamers because of the new 15 minute opening that adds some gore.
    "Ah! By god's balls what licentiousness!"

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  6. #6
    Your Vice is a locked room and All the Colours of the Dark are two of his best, so yeah recommended viewing. I also like Torso over most of his other films. I agree Screamers and Hands of Steel are pretty much turds (Screamers being the worst by far). I havnt yet seen Mountain of the Cannibal God but i have had it for years on DVD so ill get to it one day.

    Not sure id get Strange Vice of Mrs Wardh on Blu ray unless it looks really good. But pleased for others if they want it.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Lalala76's Avatar
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    Not sure id get Strange Vice of Mrs Wardh on Blu ray unless it looks really good
    But not only is it Martino's best film, its one of the best Gialli ever made. Oh well, how tastes differ.

  8. #8
    Yeah, I like the film, notwithstanding the presence of George Hilton. If im in the wrong mood i find him unwatchable. Although its not my favourite Martino giallo, it does have a lot going for it and Id probably buy it like i say if it looks good. Im waiting for judgement of All the Colours of the Dark first as their blu ray of Four Flies on Grey Velvet is rubbish but i was pleased with both the Church and the Sect. However judging from DVDBeavers verdict on All the Colours of the Dark it should be decent.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Lalala76's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bogart View Post
    Yeah, I like the film, notwithstanding the presence of George Hilton. If im in the wrong mood i find him unwatchable. Although its not my favourite Martino giallo, it does have a lot going for it and Id probably buy it like i say if it looks good. Im waiting for judgement of All the Colours of the Dark first as their blu ray of Four Flies on Grey Velvet is rubbish but i was pleased with both the Church and the Sect. However judging from DVDBeavers verdict on All the Colours of the Dark it should be decent.
    All the colours of the dark, looks pretty good to me. Its not quite Arrow standard, but its a revelation compared to the dvds prior. I'm happy with it.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex K. View Post
    Hands of Steel is shit.
    Thank you. Thought I was alone on that one. It has one amazing moment at the end featuring John Saxon, but the rest is stupid.

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