Spoilers follow ...
- Your Vice Is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key review by NP
After a title sequence featuring credits superimposed over blurred copulation, this wonderfully titled production features a graphic orgy in which the host, the deeply unpleasant Oliviero (Luigi Pistilli) seems intent on publically humiliating his wife Irina (Anita Strindberg). Thus the tone is set for this fairly sexually charged giallo horror romp. In fact, the erotic content clogs up much of the tension the story brings, especially once Oliviero’s niece, stunning Floriana (Edwidge Fenech) arrives and seduces half the cast.
As the debauchery becomes entwined with murder, the presence of a black cat becomes suspicious by its ubiquity. Acknowledged as inspiration in the opening credits, Edgar Allen Poe’s short story ‘The Black Cat’ has a lot to do with the lustrous feline, named Satan, looking wide-eyed but unconcerned amidst various gory and bloody scenes. After its pop-eyed demise, the resultant spectre of the creature seems to become a supernatural catalyst.
Amidst the passions of the ever-horny characters and the growing amount of murders, Oliviero remains unconcerned, which seems to indicate he may well be the culprit. And yet, his apparent guilt is plastered too thickly for him not to be a red herring. Or so you might think.
As much a dark and occasionally grisly whodunit as a horror, Poe’s influence becomes more effective and apparent towards the finale. As ever, the scenery is breath-taking (when not bathed in darkness) and Sergio Martino’s direction takes full and impressive advantage of this. Bruno Nicolai’s score joins the ranks of must-have available soundtracks.
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