The Secret Killer (1975)

aka Eyeball, Gatti rossi in un labirinto di vetro
Article 2787 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 12-24-2008
Posting Date: 3-31-2009
Directed by Umberto Lenzi
Featuring Martine Brochard, John Richardson, Ines Pellegrini
Country: Spain / Italy

A killer who gouges out eyeballs is loose in Barcelona. The killer is somehow attached to a group of tourists, some of whom end up victims of the killer.

The best thing about this giallo is the mystery surrounding the modus operandi of the murder; mainly, why is the killer gouging out eyeballs and what is being done with them? The answer is a far-fetched doozy that I’m willing to accept in the context of a giallo; in short, I don’t have a major problem with it. It’s the rest of the movie that gives me problems; for some reason, this one just falls flat. Maybe it’s because the movie never really becomes stylistically engaging; there are some touches, but they don’t sustain interest. Maybe it’s the overuse of certain musical themes that just scream “travelogue”; given that it’s about tourists in Barcelona, it’s appropriate enough, but travelogue music is counter-suspenseful. Maybe it’s because most of the characters are either undeveloped, underdeveloped, or obvious, from the strange priest to the overly-protective Texan father to the lesbian photographer and her model/partner. Use the basic rule that the murderer is the only major character on whom no suspicion falls, and you should have no trouble spotting the killer. At any rate, the movie lacks tension, and even the murders are only marginally interesting. There are much better giallos out there.


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