Gialloween Day 19: Forbidden Photos of a Lady Above Suspicion
Minou is terrorized by a sadistic predator. Sexually manipulated and blackmailed, she must keep in contact with the predator to uphold her marriage and her husband’s business. Confiding in her friend Dominique, she decides to come clean and enlist her help in how to navigate this delicate situation without ruining the relationship she treasures the most.
The first giallo by Luciano Ercoli, it’s not only interesting that I drew all three of his gialli to watch for my gialloween series, but drawing them in an order that had me watching them backwards makes for a unique experience. It can be argued that the latter two films, Death Walks in High Heels and Death Walks at Midnight are about the same in quality, but both are clearly better crafted films when compared to Forbidden Photos. G
The origin of many stylistic motifs seen in the latter Death films are apparent. Like the others, the films starts of with a similar, breezy bossa nova number. Cooed vocals fill the air while we are introduced to our protagonist Minou taking a bubble bath. Focus on feminine form and fashion is apparent. Both Minou and friend Domonique, played by future Ercoli power house Nieves Navarro, have a number of “steamy” scenes and plenty of wigs.
I’m sure the “steamy” scenes and slow gas lighting of our Minou were fresh and new at the time of release, but unfortunately most of it doesn’t hold well when viewed today, especially when compared the latter films in Ercoli’s oeuvre. While many of the films in the gialloween series have gotten better with multiple viewings, I can’t say the same for this one. There is some double-take politically incorrect dialogue spouted in the film that is can provide unintentional laughs— but outside of that I can’t say that the film every really pulled me in. The yin/yang relationship between Minou and Dominque is interesting, only for the fact that Dominque was the half that got stuff done while Minou played more of the helpless damsel role. I mean, one can only hear her scream “Peter! PETER! PEETAH!!” so much.
Luckily, Ercoli improved on many of the foundation in Forbidden Photos and was able to craft the infinitely better Death films. Much like Minou’s pet turtle that makes humorous appearance throughout the film until the end, Erocli’s start to his giallo filmography was slow, but a more focused effort in the subsequent films clearly pays off. Forbidden Photos set the stage, but I’m afraid that’s all I can say.