Where to start? The bluray covers all focus on the woodcutter blade murder (which is as gore-as-gore-can-be for an early giallo as this) but the most disturbing and overlooked theme of this ROTM investigative drama is pedophilia.
In a scene that surprisingly not been cut, the uncle of a murdered child has lured another into his “artist’s studio” at the same time as being questioned by investigator Inspector Peretti (George Clinton). The shot in question requires no description other than LZ’s ‘Houses of the Holy’. A bizarre and queasy moment.
The film sets itself apart from the post-Bava trend with slow-panned, atmospherically-lit shots and an oppressive Ennio Morricone score (reminiscent of the previous year’s superb ‘Short Night of Glass Dolls’). This lifts it out of the realm of the subpar, but only slightly. There are too many similarities with Argento’s Crystal Plumage and Cat O’Nine Tails to make it a top contender for best giallo. 1972 is a packed year for the genre with stiff competition. Hilton gives it credence with his stern performance as the driven inspector pursuing the victim’s killer, but his path rarely strays from the linear, which leads to a plodding, rather than shocking, conclusion.