Monday, July 30, 2012

Eric's Horror Alphabet:F is for "Four Flies on Grey Velvet(1971)

By Eric Polk-
[Note:This review was taken from James Harris' Dr. Terror's Blog of Horror which you can find . It was my late contribution to his Italian Horror Week. Due to my changed work schedule, I may not post as much but ,rest assured, I will not stop contributing to DBH]

First of all, I'd like to thank Senor Harris for giving me the opportunity to share in this feast of Horror Italian style even though I'm extremely late to the dance. I've loved this sub-genre of horror for years.

While Lucio Fulci's Zombie(1979) was the initial seduction into this world of beautiful cinematography, overacting, and excessive gore(all good things,imo), it was one Dario Argento who wed me to this world. So for my late contribution to IHW, I've chosen 1971's Four Flies on Grey Velvet, a movie I hadn't seen.

The story is your typical Hitchcockian-whodunit mixed with plenty of Argento's trademarks(i.e. up-close kill shots, random insertions, etc.) centered around a rock drummer Roberto Tobias who is being followed by a person who appears to have been a member of The Blue Brothers at one time.

Irritated by this(though I think it's probably because The 1910 Fruitgum Company never returned his calls), he confronts Grandpa Blues in an old theater where out of nowhere, the old man pulls a switchblade(?). After Roberto makes a crack about tomato soup and Depends, the two struggle and the Neil Peart wannabe accidentally stabs him.

While this squash match is taking place, someone in a mask(Bob's Big Boy's younger brother from the looks of it) watches in the upper wings, snapping pictures. The next day, good ol' Roberto gets Gramp's ID in the mail and the torture begins. Obviously, the blackmailer wants to screw with him.

The third in Argento's 'Animal Trilogy'(The Bird with the Crystal Plumage, The Cat O' Nine Tails), Four Flies is a slow builder that mixes a little suspense and a little humor to keep your interest. The acting, for the most part, is subdued and the gore is actually kept to an almost bare minimum. 

If you are a hardcore Argento fan, you'll like this movie though I think you may see why he went into the direction he did later in his career.