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Death Smiles on a Murderer (1973)

La morte ha sorriso all'assassino (original title)
Not Rated | | Horror, Mystery, Romance | 11 July 1973 (Italy)
A man discovers an ancient Incan formula for raising the dead, and uses it for a series of revenge murders.

Director:

Joe D'Amato (as Aristide Massaccesi)

Writers:

Claudio Bernabei (screenplay) (as C. Bernabei), Joe D'Amato (screenplay) (as A. Massaccesi) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Klaus Kinski ... Dr. Sturges
Ewa Aulin ... Greta
Angela Bo Angela Bo ... Eva
Sergio Doria ... Walter
Attilio Dottesio ... Inspector Dannick
Marco Mariani Marco Mariani ... Simeon
Luciano Rossi ... Franz
Giacomo Rossi Stuart ... Dr. von Ravensbrück
Fernando Cerulli ... Professor Kempte (as Franco Cerulli)
Carla Mancini ... Gertrude
Giorgio Dolfin Giorgio Dolfin ... Maier
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Storyline

A young woman, Greta, loses her memory following an accident with a carriage and finds hospitality at the villa of two wealthy landowners Eva and Walter. The two welcome the girl with great hospitality, far too much - since she is forgetful she ends up in bed with the husband first and then with the wife. But even Dr. Sturges who pays her first visit is interested in her, and above all he is interested in the amulet that she wears around her neck. In fact, he is carrying out mysterious experiments to bring the dead back to life through ancient formulas attributed to the Incas and that amulet is very familiar to him. Things get complicated when Ewa discovers her affair with her husband and, in a raptus of jealousy, she kills her by walling her alive. But a few days later, during a masquerade party, Greta mysteriously reappears with a skeletal face and begins to persecute Ewa pushing her to suicide - and the dead will not end here .

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Italy

Language:

Italian

Release Date:

11 July 1973 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

Death Smiles on a Murderer See more »

Filming Locations:

Elios Film, Rome, Lazio, Italy

Company Credits

Production Co:

Dany Film See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (Telecolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Contains several references to the works of Edgar Allan Poe. Examples include a person being buried alive by a brick wall (as in The Cask of Amontillado) and the presence of a black cat (as in The Black Cat). Also the main character, Walter, with his moustache and haircut, bears a striking resemblance to Poe. See more »

Connections

Featured in Joe D'Amato Totally Uncut: The Horror Experience (2001) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Two creeps for the price of one!
30 December 2017 | by BezenbySee all my reviews

Joe D'Amato gets a hard time for being a trashy director due to those porn films he made, but he often delved into other genres, and when he got them right, he often blew away the competition. This film, his official debut film (as he did a few Bava-style completion jobs for other directors) is a crazy mix of Gothic Horror and Giallo, and it's a beauty. Also, some people call it confusing, but it's not at all.

At first we see brother Luciano Rossi lamenting the death of his sister Greta, plus we also get a flashback that shows that the relationship was a bit...er...intimate. Next thing you know, Greta's alive and getting involved in a carriage crash outside one of those huge mansions you get in 99% of these films. She's taken in by a sister and brother and examined by doctor Klaus Kinski. Now, Kinski is freaky enough looking, but when he leans over Greta all his veins stick out on his head, and he looks like a Klingon! I digress - Klaus finds a weird necklace on Greta, takes a pin and sticks it through her eyeball, and then leaves, thoughtful. Greta strangely shows no affects of having a pin shoved through her eye and sets her sights on bedding both the brother and the sister.

Around this time it appears that Luciano Rossi is kicking about stalking a member of staff at the mansion who receives a very gory shotgun blast to the face. Yes, someone is out to kill everyone, but is it the creepy butler guy who is spying on everyone? Or the jealous sister, who tries to drown Greta in the bath, then beds her. It's not Klaus Kinski though, because he manages, using something on that weird necklace Greta had, to create a formula that can bring the dead back to life, which not only gets him killed by a mystery person, but also his assistant, and the poor corpse he brought back to life!

I'll stop there with the plot, because what first appears to be a kind of period Giallo ends up being far more sinister. It's like Joe D'Amato thought the genre wasn't strange or gory enough, and packs the film with people with their guts or brains hanging out, others nailed to walls, having their faces slashed to ribbons, or having their eyeballs pulled out by a cat. Being Joe, he doesn't skimp on the sex either, as Greta gets it on with just about everybody. You also get two creepy actors for the price of one, with Kinski and Rossi getting their own space to roll their eyes and be weird. Giacomo Rossi-Stuart looks depressingly aged in this film for some reason.

So once again Joe comes out on top like he did later in the post-apocalyptic genre with Endgame and 2020:Texas Gladiators, and the classic video nasty Anthropophagus. Maybe not so much with Ator The Fighting Eagle, which is a PG rated Conan rip-off that is great for all the wrong reasons.


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