My Dear Killer (1972)

Where fuzz gets buzzed.
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My Dear Killer - Where Fuzz Gets Buzzed

I'm never too sure about the giallo genre; if I was being cynical – which of course I'm not, ever – I might suggest that the whole thing was a massive ruse, brought about to link the leather glove-making/ladies negligee-making industry to the film industry at a time of economic instability. Or something. You could furthermore be forgiven, after even a cursory scan through films of this type, that 70s Italy was full of little but gloves, sideburns, and implausible criminal cases. Well, the obvious thing to do when watching is to try and guess who the all-seeing, all-knowing murdering shit is from the get-go. You'll almost certainly be wrong, but it adds a bit of personal investment, you know, like having a bet on.

Anyway, there is a plot in My Dear Killer, damn it, and here it is. It all begins with a serene lake and a smiling man (approximately 70% eyebrow hair) who falls sadly foul of a surprise JCB, losing his head in the process. Before you have time to wonder why the hell the ambulance which comes to get him parks about half a mile up the road, meaning the crew have to carry the body all the way back whereas the cops on the case drive right up to the scene of the crime, we learn that the JCB driver is (well, duh) in the frame for the murder. Except, when the JCB guy is found hanged but not by suicide, then things begin to get ...well, a bit confusing. Could all of these nefarious deeds link back to a child abduction case from a while back?

Yes. Yes they could. But how!?

The rest of the film is a convoluted, albeit entertaining, gaudy whodunnit, strewn with a succession of overblown characters, dead folk and unconvincing kids' drawings with "clues" apparently in them. So far, so usual with gialli – but where it begins to stand out is in the sheer unabashed eww factor of the way the plot veers casually towards a paedophilia angle, as if this was just another interesting possibility. Obviously, we live in sensitive times these days, where for a while there it's seemed like every beloved British TV star of the 70s was actually a shrub rocketeer, and it's obviously difficult to put all of that aside because once I saw where all of this was heading, I stopped thinking it should rightly be alternatively-titled Art Attack and moved onto calling it Operazione Yewtree. Just, no. The only child I ever want to see in Italian genre cinema is Nicoletta Elmi, and clothed at that.

As to the rest, well: the film breaks down quite gently and characteristically into the standard nonsensical, pacy, picturesque gloop for the most part, bringing a number of suspects to the table, removing several from the running by killing them, but – finally – finishes things off with a rather nasty resolution. All in all, My Dear Killer is a quite difficult film to assess, because it really does encompass a lot. It moves, ultimately, from a silly introduction which promises to be the regular array of running women plus sharply-dressed killer, into material which forces you to draw a few unpalatable conclusions. The final show-and-tell which wraps up the plot is authentically horrible, although it's glossed over with the usual high gloss, which in a few ways makes it worse. Some bits here are cheap, and others are nasty. This is worth bearing in mind, if you're looking for just another easy-weird film to watch.

My Dear Killer has enough high weirdness to recommend it, but it's certainly not my favourite of the Shameless releases. Still, if you're a completist, then you may be more tolerant here than I have been, and it's certainly not an incompetent film, albeit the only foray director Antonio Valerii made into this genre.
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Categories: Italian Horror Movies

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