I have a soft-spot for over-the-top exploitation films. I gave Island of Death a four-star review, praising its “everything-but-the-kitchen sink approach that pushes the film past any genuine scares or mean-spirited umbrage, and firmly into parody.” Giallo a Venezia is no parody.
The film follows a hard-boiled-egg-eating police detective inspecting the murder of a married couple, Fabio and Flavia. In a series of flashbacks, we watch Fabio push Flavia to engage in escalating deviant sexual behavior. First simple voyeurism, but soon he’s whipping her, encouraging strangers to grope her, and her to grope strangers.
The whipping bit had me laughing. The scene starts with Fabio and Flavia in bed. She tries to engage him, kissing and fondling him, but he’s bored and soon retires to another room where he thumbs through a book of erotic drawings. Still ogling the drawings, Fabio snorts a sizable amount of cocaine. The combination enacts a kind of Jekyll-and-Hyde transformation that sees him return to Flavia, cat-o’-nine-tails in hand, and wail on her. She screams which only excites him further, and soon he’s forcing himself into an uncomfortable place.
But instead of embracing the ridiculous, the film doubles down on misogyny. A mysterious killer offs a prostitute and some friends of Fabio and Flavia. The murders—particularly the prostitute’s—are uninspired and ugly. The film grows meaner and meaner, culminating in a gang-rape scene I found hard to watch. Giallo a Venezia isn’t over-the-top exploitation, it’s obnoxious misogyny.
If you must watch this film, watch the Scorpion release. I found Troy Howarth’s commentary more entertaining than the film.