In the Folds of the Flesh (Severin), now out on DVD, is one of the most cockamamie Italian “giallo” mysteries I’ve ever seen. This 1970, almost psychedelic oddity, directed by Sergio Bergonzelli even costars the doomed starlet (and ex-girlfriend of James Dean) Pier Angeli a year before she died of a barbiturate overdose at age 39. The film is set in a fortress-like villa by the sea where lives a whacked-out family: a mother in dark widow weeds, a daughter with a blonde wig (Angeli) and a crazy painter son. They seem to be set on by criminals at various times, who usually meet their end by being stabbed by Angeli or beheaded or killed by cyanide poisoning and buried out back. There’s a convoluted Freudian reason for all of this which is revealed in a jaw-dropping finale which I dare you to explain to me. With Nazi concentration camp flashbacks, eye-gouging pop fashions, and a fractured narrative that would confuse Jorge Luis Borges, it’s one of the most wildest, weirdest of psychological thrillers.
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