"Spasmo" - a slick and sick psycho-thriller that stands tall as one of the giallo genre's most colourful crime-capers. Starring a cast of Euro-shock veterans, such as sexy Suzy Kendall and the chiselled-chinned Ivan Rassimov, Lenzi's carefully paced, and frequently surreal, murder-mystery shows that he is about more than just the gore. A genuinely accomplished achievement, with plot twists galore and a mind-boggling climax, 'Spasmo' is a must-see for anyone who misses the classic era of Rome-based bloodshed.
A lurid title, day for night filming, a young couple indulging in some tepid sex venture, the discovery of what appears to be a corpse; all of this leads into some instantly lovely title music and leaves us under no illusions – this is giallo territory!
Brusque, humourless, hunk-cake poser Christian (Robert Hoffman) and his girlfriend discover an unconscious girl, Barbara (Suzy Kendall) on the beach and before long, she and rakish Christian have fallen in love. Soon, an intruder interrupts their courtship – before accidently getting killed with his own gun. His corpse however, disappears …
It’s madness, I tell you. And yet it moves briskly, has a typically addictive soundtrack (usual suspect Ennio Morricone, not quite firing on all cylinders but as always, providing an elegant score) and contains more intrigue than you could shake a stick at. ‘Spasmo’ is a lot less ludicrous than the trailer (an urgently choreographed selection of scenes with an actor yelling the title over and over in an increasingly feverish manner), but also a lot less fun. Tell-tale bloodstains, espionage, the main man’s miraculously self-cleaning clothes, corpse-like mannequins strewn about the place – all these things would add layers of intrigue if only the plot was more comprehensible. Someone seems to be out to drive Noel Edmonds-lite Christian mad and goes to extraordinary lengths to do so. He doesn’t make it difficult, driven as he is by his libido making him an easy target. Simply engage him with a woman almost as beautiful as he is, and away we go.
Eccentric in its story-telling to the point of delirium, it’s impossible not to at least partially enjoy this mad-fest. Not the greatest giallo, it nevertheless takes a while to leave you.