Here’s a bonkers slice of 1970s Italian Giallo.
A group of beautiful, affluent people are lounging around on a private island (there is a plot point about a professor who’s being pressured to sell his secret formula, but it isn’t important) when one of them is murdered. To save his body decomposing in the sun, the survivors bang him into a large freezer they have to hand. Before long though, one of the young attractive ladies is bumped off and she’s put in the freezer too. Clearly, no one is safe and that freezer is going to get fuller and fuller.
It’s obviously a riff on Agatha Christie’s AND THEN THERE WERE NONE, but with even less realistic characters. I’ve written elsewhere about how Christie doesn’t really do characters, she does archetypes. But compared to this, she writes some of the most beautifully observed people ever put in fiction. By contrast, here we have men and women who – when their love-making and general indolence is interrupted by a brutal murder – regard it sad eyed for a little while before going back to love making and general indolence.
The acting is variable, the score is jarringly jaunty and it’s all utterly ridiculous. (There is a nice twist though.) However, that’s not to say I didn’t enjoy FIVE DOLLS FOR AN AUGUST MOON (I have no idea what the title means, either). In its sheer sun-kissed beautiful madness, there’s something quite transfixing about it.
I know from my reading that there are other much weirder and nuttier films in this genre out there, but to a relative newbie like myself – this was a bonkers treat.
My debut novel, THE WANNABES – which has been out of print for a little while – is now available for free. A supernatural thriller of beautiful actresses and deadly ambition in London town, it’s well worth your time. You can get your copy here!