Saturday, October 23, 2021


Scare-A-Thon Totals to Date:

Total Movies Watched: 20
Total First Time Views: 13
Amount raised for ALBANY PARK THEATER PROJECT: $1,595.00

A Dragonfly for Each Corpse (1975) d. Leon Klimovsky (Spain) (87 min) (1st viewing)

Cigar-chomping, two-fisted Milanese cop Paulo Scaporella (Paul Naschy) finds himself chasing a serial killer whose appointed mission is to wipe out all manner of vice, with drug addicts, prostitutes, adulterers, homosexuals, and other forms of hedonists on the chopping block. After numerous members of their social circle become either victims or suspects, Scaporella and his frisky bride Silvana (Erika Blanc) combine forces, he with his unconventional law enforcement tactics and she with her “female intuition,” attempting to bring l’assassino to justice.

Having already taken a stab (heyo) at the giallo subgenre the previous year with The Blue Eyes of the Broken Doll, writer/star Naschy gives it another whirl, this time leaning into the classic poliziotteschi (Italian crime drama) mode. Subverting his usual sensitive, romantic demeanor, the Spanish horror icon delivers a genuinely impressive performance as the no-nonsense inspector more comfortable with his fists than proper procedure. He is well-paired opposite Italian genre staple Blanc (The Devil’s Nightmare) who brings a welcome exuberance to her clothing-averse socialite homemaker, bubbling over with energy and sex appeal.

The plot is pretty standard stuff, with the black-gloved killer usually seen from the knees down in order for us to get a good look at the red women’s coat that will provide one of the major clues, and Naschy and frequent collaborator Klimovsky (The Werewolf vs. the Vampire Women) have a great time pointing the finger of suspicion at various characters only to have them bumped off in the next reel.

Also welcome is the fact that the animal title (common to Italian gialli, inspired by the success of Dario Argento’s The Bird with the Crystal Plumage) actually makes sense here, as the self-appointed arbiter of justice leaves his/her calling card of a plastic dragonfly (usually spattered with the victim’s blood) atop the bodies.

As expected for this era, the “perversions” being condemned (such as the poor fellow with necrophiliac fantasies) are viewed through a puritanical gaze, which allows the double purpose of serving up the exploitation elements of sex and violence for hungry audiences before doling out punishment.

While a relatively mild affair as far as ornate or gruesome body counts go, the mystery elements, enjoyable performances, and brisk pacing make for an enjoyable outing, one that never received a U.S. release until Shout! Factory included it on their Paul Naschy Collection, Vol 2. While it’s hardly groundbreaking stuff, fans should enjoy the chance to see the versatile and virile (read as: often shirtless) star doing his thing.


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