It may be impossible to find a film titled more aptly for discussion on Shock-O-Rama. As pleasantly resonant off of the tongue as it is a soothing balm to the tender tissue of the ear drums, this movie's American theatrical designation is the perfectly formulated key to unlocking the gushingly red blooded horror fan's wallet. The title is a perfect sentence, commanding in intent. Succinct, efficient, and punctual- this is exactly how I would envision a Harry Potter spell functioning, if Rowling's wizards filmed sleazy 70's Giallo films in the dark labyrinthian passages of Knockturn alley (they totally do). Strip Nude for Your Killer. Let's deconstruct it a bit further. Strip Nude (Lay Bare) for your (all you possessions) Killer (grisly horror flicks). Open those wallets, horror nerds, and make with the purchasing, it seems to scream.
But why should you? Beyond the pickle teasing cover art (replete with scantily clad victims to be, and a mystery slasher bondage geared to the nines), what redeems Strip Nude for Your Killer for the average viewer? Practically nothing. This is a paint by the numbers Giallo flick, with decent production values and attractive ladies, but beyond the standout cinematography, this is the kind of family gathering film that would see you barred from ever being allowed to choose for the group again. It's precisely for these shockingly irrepressed notions that aficionados gleefully gulp down buckets full of this stuff. (Full disclosure: me too)
Strip Nude for your Killer pulls exactly zero punches; right out the gate we're witness to a botched illegal abortion turned body dump- the kind of innocent felony which NEVER sets in motion the kind of vengeance which would make a butcher blush. Open on an Italian dude-tographer clad in the sort of shorts that would make Miley Cyrus blush. His preferred (or perfected?) method of flirtation is the sort of thing that could only have been legal in 70's Europe, as he badgers women with his camera until they're indulgently submitting to him in saunas. It's this kind of outmoded behavior which will be the thrust of your delight between bloodlettings.
Yes, violent shenanigans are abound as director Andrea Bianchi ratchets up the gore-a-go-go-round. If her name is hovering on the edge of your brain's orbit around a haze of karo syrup and pig intestines, then you are probably a fan of her other seminal horror classic: Burial Ground. She's the reason you know that this cloth stinks of death, and is the provocatress behind your recurring Peter Bark man child nightmares. Shamefully I must admit that these are the only two of her films which I've seen. Her most recent film (from 1995) is entitled Fleshy Doll. I might just have to track that one down. This madam of madness is still alive and kicking (88 at the time of this writing).
Other simultaneous high and low points include an absurdly awkward attempted rape scene featuring the mayor from Wreck-It-Ralph come to life (not a whimsical exaggeration). It ends just a you might imagine: prematurely and with many sobbing apologies. There's also the ending resolution, which does not strive for the scale balancing comeuppance that usually accompanies the sin of leaving someone for dead in a horror film. Our killer dies before slaughtering one of the characters, leaving him without an accuser and thus scot-free of any legal penalty. It's a really odd message, especially from a female director drowning in 70's Italian machismo (historical note: also the name of a period salad dressing).
Of course by now you've translated the Italian language title, which is just one big old spoiler. Nude per L'assassino becomes Nude for the Murderess. Giving away the killer's gender seems like an odd choice when so much effort is made to hide her curves under a wall of riding leathers, and her motives behind the fog of ambiguous camera angles. Perhaps Bianchi felt the film's strength lay not in the subtle unweaving of its plot, but rather upon the knife's edge of audience tittlation. I could be sold on that perspective; it's the logical conclusion.
So, if your pleasure flows from the river of blissful perversion, and you simply cannot get enough of the sadistic mixture of equal parts slashing and sultry, Strip Nude for Your Killer is the next stop on this freak train. A word of warning: double featuring it with Burial Ground may very well fry your brain boards and put your good taste Nixie tubes on the fritz. Check out the exceptional quality Blu ray from Blue Underground (featuring a transfer from the original camera negative), and godetevi lo spettacolo!
WARNING: Trailer is totally NSFW!
Chuck Francisco is a columnist and critic for Mania, writing Shock-O-Rama, the weekly look into classic cult, horror and sci-fi. He is a co-curator of several repertoire film series at the world famous Colonial Theatre in Phoenixville, PA. You can hear him drop nerd knowledge on weekly podcast You've Got Geek or think him a fool of a Took on Twitter.
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