Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, November 10, 2016


The eyes have it!
DEATH WALKS ON HIGH HEELS (aka La morte cammina con i tacchi alti/1971). Director: Luciano Ercoli.

DEATH WALKS AT MIDNIGHT (aka La morte accarezza a mezzanotte/1972. Director: Luciana Ercoli.

Nicole Rochard (Nieves Navarro), an exotic dancer in Paris, is the daughter of a murdered diamond thief. A masked man with startling blue eyes threatens her with death if she doesn't tell him where the diamonds are. Nicole fears that the masked man may be her own boyfriend, Michel (Simon Andreu), so she flees Paris with one of her fans, Dr. Robert Matthews (Frank Wolff). Matthews, an older man who is in an apparently loveless marriage, takes Nicole to a private retreat outside London, where the two begin falling in love. And then Death Walks on High Heels takes a 180 degree turn. It would be criminal to give away any of the plot twists in this highly interesting Italian suspense film which is enthusiastically and capably acted by all.

Beware that spiked metal glove!
Director Ercoli and star Navarro [Kiss Kiss Bang Bang] -- the two were married that year and were together until his death 43 years later -- reunited for Death Walks at Midnight, in which a model, Valentina (Navarro), agrees to participate in an experiment with a hallucinogen during which she has a vision of a woman being murdered by a man who wears a spiked metal glove. This murder supposedly occurred six months earlier, but there may have been a more recent victim. The killer stalks Valentina wherever she goes, and she also encounters Verushka (Claudie Lang), the rather agitated sister of one of the victims. And there are other weird people and events throughout. This one gets a little too tricky for its own good, but it is suspenseful and has a very exciting conclusion. Simon Andreu plays a reporter, Gio, and Pietro Martellanza is Valentina's sometime boyfriend, Stefano.

Although both of these films feature horror movie-type elements, such as masked killers on the loose, they are really convoluted mysteries.

Verdict: Death Walks on High Heels. ***
              Death Walks at Midnight. **1/2.

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