If you’re a fan of giallo then you’re probably very happy that Arrow Video have been knocking out a fair few of these stylish Italian thrillers on Blu-ray of late. If you’re not familiar with the genre, then now would be a good time to familiarise yourself because they’re usually pretty good fun. This latest boxset features two Luciano Ercoli offerings from the genre’s early ‘70s heyday with similar titles, hence the catchy “Death Walks Twice” tag.
Death Walks on High Heels (1971) has one of the best movie titles ever and all the usual giallo tropes. A diamond thief is stabbed on a train and his stripper-daughter (Nieves Navarro appearing as Susan Scott) is soon being stalked by a scary bloke with blue eyes and a disguised voice who clearly thinks she knows where some of his diamonds were hidden. Is it her boyfriend? Don’t be silly, this is giallo, it’s never going to be that simple. In fact, it’s going to be ludicrously complicated with more red herrings than you can wave a fishing rod at with an ending that’ll make you say “yeah, I suppose that makes sense”. Actually, as this one is largely set in an English fishing village (no, really) there’s more herrings than you might expect, including an erotic fish-eating scene (which isn’t very). There’s also the bizarre sight of Navarro doing a striptease while blacked-up in an afro-wig (they don’t let you do that anymore) and possibly the only cinematic occurrence of a pair of thigh-high boots being integral to the plot. Word of warning: the movie also features Claudie Lange who looks identical to Nieves Navarro, so be prepared for some extra “hit-rewind” confusion. Actually, this may even be deliberate. There’s also the scariest British pub we’ve ever seen and a suspect fishmonger. Just enjoy the ride.
Death Walks at Midnight (1972) is the same team and practically the same cast but this time we start with Navarro taking some hallucinogenics for the purposes of a magazine article (like you do). Of course, while under the influence, she sees a murder of a woman by a man with a spiked glove. Is this some deep-buried memory? Then the man starts to stalk her (of course he does). Then it all gets far more complicated, but at least Claudie Lange has a different hairstyle this time otherwise it’d just be too hard to follow. In the end, it all makes perfect giallo-sense.
As you’d expect, these are both sexy and beautifully shot so Blu-ray is the best way to watch them. The soundtracks are also unspeakably groovy and you might get a CD of them in the box (the American version does – we’re not sure about the European one). One other bonus feature they don’t mention: if you’re feeling lazy and decide to watch the dubbed versions (rather than the subtitles), you get to watch the same cast (including the same copper) talk with entirely different voices in each movie. It tickled us.
Special Features: English and Italian versions / Audio commentary by Tim Lucas / Trailers / Interviews / Booklet.
DEATH WALKS TWICE BOXSET / CERT: 18 / DIRECTOR: LUCIANO ERCOLI / SCREENPLAY: MANUEL VELASCO, DINO VERDE, ERNESTO GASTALDI, GUIDO LEONI, MAHNANHÉN VELASCO / STARRING: SUSAN SCOTT (NIEVES NAVARRO), CLAUDIE LANGE, PETER MARTELL, SIMÓN ANDREU, CARLO GENTILI, FRANK WOLFF / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW