I’ve been watching: Psychout for Murder (1969)

  • Sometimes known by its Italian name Salvare la Faccia. This is a slightly obscure (for anglophones) Italian giallo thriller film from 1969, a representative of the sex-horror genre that was popular at the time. It stars Adrienne La Russa as Licia, a young heiress to a wealthy and socially-conscious businessman. Her lover, Mario, tricks her into spending the night at a brothel with him, and he uses pictures taken of her from the night to blackmail her father. Her father subsequently consigns Licia to an asylum to avoid scandal. When she gets out, she pretends to be crazy and proceeds to take revenge on everyone she feels has wronged her in the unfortunate business – her father, her lover, her sister and brother-in-law.
  • Most of the film follows Licia carrying out her ploys and machinations designed to destroy her victims. She manipulates, seduces and deceives them – and generally succeeds in getting her way. She’s a cunning and tenacious assailant. She’s an incredibly bewitching one, too, in the way she uses her very considerable sex appeal as another dangerous weapon in her arsenal. She’s really quite captivating to watch, and Adrienne La Russia does a great job with the role—you can tell she’s having plenty of fun playing the crazy, vengeful, sexy Licia. It certainly looks like a really fun role.
  • I was prompted to watch this because I’ve been seeing screencaps from the film on Tumblr as aesthetic images. It’s easy to see why the film would be popular among certain sections of Tumblr’s #aesthetic bloggers — all the way through it’s moody and surreal and atmospheric, and the beautiful but unhinged Licia makes for striking imagery. That’s not to say that the directing and cinematography was great — on balance the directing was fairly unremarkable, and this film wasn’t trying to be ambitious in that respect — but certain sequences are undoubtedly very moody and artistic, and La Russia really elevates the quality of every scene she’s in by her compelling performance.
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