Saturday, 9 March 2013

Something Creeping In The Dark (1971) Mario Colucci

Dwelling in the strangelands of mingled giallo and supernatural, Something Creeping in the Dark may not rise to obscure gem status but is definitely worth more interest than it currently claims, and much deserving of remastered DVD release rather than its current availability through bootlegs or the internet. An assembly of strangers seek refuge from a storm in a mysterious house, well to do squabbling married couple (genre veteran Giacomo Rossi-Stuart and Lucia Bose of surrealist classic Arcana), doctor and his comely nurse, killer (handsome devil Farley Granger rocking a leather jacket) and the two detectives in charge of bringing him in. Piqued by the story of the houses former owner they perform a seance, and when this is interrupted the night commences to go rather awry...

Writer/director Mario Colucci wisely keeps this one offbeat and mostly on the down low, revelling in location and mood rather than action. The approach does wear a bit thin by the end but the first two thirds are so are fine stuff. The house is a treat of elegant oddity, luxurious red drapes, exotic gew-gaws spread about the walls, a strange abundance of clocks, and the direction, editing and score do it its due, the long, slow fluid camera, the rhythms of zoom and cutting, subdued yet richly ominous score all coming together with house for evocative near perfection of long uneasy night in strange place, fascinating frozen time and ambiguity.

Things perhaps are a little too oblique, while the characters are of interest little is known about any so their relationships and interactions are a little lacking in suspense and ultimate impact. There are a number of scenes of swift, jolting violence but nothing graphic, and the film has little blood and no gore to speak of. Nudity is also limited to one character, and though all this is in keeping with the films leaning towards earlier psychedelic/Pop Art inspired genre outings like The Witch in Love or Femina Ridens, the carnal tanglings and sinister mood really needed a less restrained expression. The end is a disappointment too, an abrupt, predictable gotcha of a thing that would pass muster in a short film but not after nearly ninety minutes. But this is still good stuff on the whole for the old fashioned, but European minded not starched. Suited perhaps best to late Friday nights sipping wine, from me then a 7/10.

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