Sunday, November 2, 2008

Un delitto poco comune (1988)

... aka: Off Balance
... aka: Phantom of Death
... aka: Squilibrio
... aka: Uncommon Crime, An

Directed by:
Ruggero Deodato

Thirty-five year old concert pianist Robert Dominici (Michael York) is stricken with "progeria," a rare genetic disorder which rapidly ages him. His hair falls out, his teeth rot, he coughs up blood and starts suffering from uncontrollable "behavioral problems;" psychotic, murderous episodes. This spells a violent end for the ladies (past and present) in his life and even more unfortunate for his French fashion designer girlfriend (played by well-preserved veteran Euro horror/sex star Edwige Fenech) that she becomes pregnant with the child he doesn't want to be born. Donald Pleasence (who was probably sick to death with the typecasting by this point) is the police inspector on the case and Mapi Galan is simply stunning as an early victim. Deodato is clearly trying to copycat the style of horror thrillers made popular by the likes of Argento and Bava in the 60s and 70s here, with flashy sets, costumes and backdrops, misty photography and some pretty gory murders, but his direction and the screenplay are unable to build much suspense, the editing is choppy and the dubbing of many of the supporting players is poor. The score (by Pino Donaggio) and make-up are good, though, and the lead performances are solid. Also in the cast are Carola Stagnaro as a doctor, Giovanni Lombardo Radice / John Morghen as a priest and Marino Masé as an aging expert. Deodato can also be spotted riding a moped.


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