Friday, April 5, 2019


Your Vice is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key (1972) d. Sergio Martino (Italy) (97 min)

Once-successful author Oliviero (Luigi Pistilli), already crippled by writer’s block (and an excess of alcohol and drugs), hits a new low when his more-successful mother passes away. He celebrates her wake by holding a colossally inappropriate orgy of sexuality and abuse, the latter directed toward Irina (Anita Strindberg), his long-suffering emotional and physical punching bag of a wife. Their less-than-idyllic existence is further complicated by the fact that several of Oliviero’s mistresses keep getting bumped off by a killer wielding a curved saber, and further still by the presence of his trampy niece Floriana (Edwige Fenech) who comes to stay and play (doctor, head games, et al) with them both. The result is a marvelous guessing game of who’s the victim, who’s the villain, and who will take their clothes off next.

This flamboyantly titled giallo is not so much a straight adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Black Cat” as it is sometimes credited; instead, screenwriters Ernesto Gastaldi, Adriano Bolzoni, and Sauro Scavolini simply incorporate key story elements throughout their twisted tale of sex, sadism, murder, incest, felines named “Satan,” and motorbike-racing milkmen. Pistilli is appropriately abrasive, Strindberg is fetchingly distraught, while Fenech revels in her role as the amoral young temptress. Ivan Rassimov pops in and out of the picture, while lovelies Daniela Giordano, Angela La Vorgna, and Enrica Bonacorrti all make an impression before meeting their grisly fates.

Martino (The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh) delivers yet another classic of the subgenre, reteaming with his All the Colors of the Dark team of cinematographer Giancarlo Ferrando (Torso) and composer Bruno Nicolai (The Red Queen Kills Seven Times, The Night Evelyn Came out of the Grave). Well worth checking out.


Brand new 2K restoration of the film from the original camera negative

Original Italian and English soundtracks in DTS-HD mono audio

“Through the Keyhole” – a brand new interview with director Sergio Martino (35 min)

“Unveiling the Vice” – making-of retrospective featuring interviews with Martino, star Edwige Fenech, and screenwriter Ernesto Gastaldi (23 min)

“Dolls of Flesh and Blood: The Gialli of Sergio Martino” – a visual essay by Michael Mackenzie exploring the director’s unique contributions to the giallo genre (29 min)

“The Strange Vices of Ms. Fenech” – film historian Justin Harries on the actress’ prolific career (30 min)

“Eli Roth on Your Vice” – The Great Poseur offers a brief overview of the subgenre and the film. (9 min)

Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Matthew Griffin

Your Vice Is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key is available now from Arrow Video and can be ordered HERE:

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