Thursday, 27 November 2014

Euro - Horror Vaction: The Psychic (aka Sette Note In Nero)(aka Murder to the Tune of Seven Black Notes) (1977)

The Psychic (aka Sette Note In Nero)(aka Murder to the Tune of Seven Black Notes) (1977)
Director: Lucio Fulci
Starring: Jennifer O'Neill, Gabriele Ferzetti, and Marc Porel
Running Time: 97 min

We meet again, Fulci.  I've mentioned before that I love Fulci for so many reasons, his brilliant use of gore and his gorgeous cinematography are absolutely fantastic but  I also hate him for other things, like his scripts drive me bananas at times and I find his stories can be chaotic, confused and make some incredibly far stretches at times.  However, like any good horror junkie I keep coming back, no matter how bad it gets, because I want to feel that same movie high that I got with "Zombie" or "The Beyond".  Will this give me the gory fix I need, I hope so.   

  As a young girl Virginia, using her psychic abilities, saw her mother kill herself off a cliff and die rather violent death.  Now some twenty years later, she is driving home from the airport after dropping off her wealthy husband, Francesco there for a business trip.  While she goes through tunnel after tunnel, she starts having psychic feeling and she sees a dead bloody old woman, in a very posh red living room and she thinks killer is a man with a limp and a 70's mustache.
  When she wakes up from her psychic adventure, she is on the side of the road with a police officer trying to wake her up.  With her husband gone and confused by this premonition, she decides to go up to their abandoned summer home and clean it up to redecorate it as a surprise for her husband.  However while removing the drop clothes from the furniture, the room starts to look vaguely familiar.  Then, it dawns on her, it's the room from her psychic vision.  So, she goes downstairs to the cellar and grabs an pick axe and then heads back upstairs to break open a wall.  Eventually after some smashy smash, she busts through the wall and discovers the remains of a woman.
  Unfortunately, it's not the old woman from her vision but a model that her husband had "relations with" before they where married.  The husband is arrested but he swears he didn't kill her, so Virginia, becomes a regular Nancy Drew and decides to help the police with her friend to find the real killer.  Can Virginia solve this Scooby-doo mystery using her psychic ability or has she had a terrifying glimpse of things to come.

  I really enjoyed the story in this film and this is possibly the most coherent script, besides "Zombie", that I've seen.  Maybe he lost a bet, but the script moves head without any outrageous addition to cast at the last minute, any long lasting explanations of why people did what they did at the end of the film or even incredible leaps of logic of what is going on.  It's a solid and some what interesting whodunnit without any serious brain shifts and confusion.
  Also, Jennifer O'Neill is pretty great in this.  It is mostly her in this film and she dominates every scene she's in.  She does a fantastic good at looking distressed and fabulous at the same time.  I'm surprised she didn't get an offered to do her own detective show after this came out. Virginia Ducci "Psychic Detective", would have done great against Columbo, Quincy and all those other 70's crime shows.

  Unfortunately with Fulci moving into this rational film making zone, he seems to lose that bit of that edge and fun that comes with his style.  The film is a bit dry at times and there isn't as many scares in this as I was expecting.  A lot of narrative and not as many interesting or creative characters.  The red herring is done well but there were a few other characters that could have been implied and used/leaned on/or just straight up killed just to spice up the script a bit.
  Also this is the least gory Fulci film ever.  Outside of the mother's death at the beginning, which resembles the ending of "Don't Torture a Duckling", might have even been the same dummy, and her psychic dream with the old lady, there didn't seem to be that much blood in this film.  Which is a little disappointing for a Fulci film, but he did make up for it in spades with next horror film, "Zombie".

  Overall, this is a very good movie, it's just a little dull at times and not what I expected from "The Godfather of Gore".  There is terrific whodunnit and the acting is superb but it just lacked the energy and the amount of blood that makes a Fulci film.  I can't believe that I actually missed his chaotic, sometimes insane directing style, ahhhhh, but I did!  It lacks the imaginative madness that I guess I secretly love.  Don't tell anybody.  Anyway, if your looking for a solid Giallo with a good story and not a lot of blood, then grab this and you won't be disappointed.

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