Murder to the Tune of the Seven Black Notes
Jennifer O’Neill plays an American married to a wealthy Italian businessman. A psychic vision leads her to discover a year-old murder victim in her husband’s shuttered family villa and she resolves to uncover the killer.
You know the story. Act one sees the protagonist visited by a vision comprising a series of threatening and disjointed images. O’Neill’s includes a broken mirror, an imposing room, a limping man, and several faces—one bloodied and dead. Act two sees the visions come true one piece at a time, each accompanied by an ominous soundtrack swell. Act three sees the vision play out complete with a twist derived from the context.
Director Lucio Fulci follows the usual beats, but adds his own twist. Known for his ocular predilection, Fulci crash zooms in on O’Neill’s eyes every time she remembers her vision, or a piece comes to pass. I’d suggest making a drinking game out of it, but, dear reader, I fear for your liver.
I appreciated the formal rigour Fulci brings to bear. He shoots the hell out of the story, as though willing it to a greater resonance with his use of shadow, perspective, and sound. But I don’t know what I found more preposterous: O’Neill’s extrasensory perception, or the contrived hoops the script jumps through in its bids to distract from the obvious conclusion.