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Writings on film. Shock and art. There may be blood.



Vital data
Alternate titles:

Tutti i colori del buio

Year:
Genre:

Eurosleaze

Director:

Sergio Martino

Stars:

Edwige Fenech

George Hilton

Co-Stars:

Ivan Rassimov

Marina Malfatti

Written by:
Similar films:

Rosemary's Baby

Country: Italy

All the Colors of the Dark

Diabolical color scheme

The great thing about the odd little hybrid genre known as Eurosleaze is that there is no such thing as too weird. All the Colors of the Dark is a mystery of satanic conspiracy that isn't quite a mind-warp, but it at least puts a few dents in there. It is a surreal fresco with giallo details laid over a spectacular wash of sex and violence.

If all my dreams were like this, I'd never sleep

AtCotD begins with a surreal dream sequence of disturbing images that involve three women. Two of the women, one of which is pregnant, are grotesque and manlike in appearance, and the third is stabbed to death. Jane, played by Edwige Fenech, awakens upset by the dream's realism. It is the latest in a series of nightmares that has been ongoing since the death of her unborn child a year earlier. Her sister, Barbara, (Nieves Navarro), recommends that Jane visit Barbara's psychiatrist boss. Jane's boyfriend, Richard (George Hilton),objects to this, but Jane makes the appointment anyway. In the doctor's waiting room she sees the same man with impossibly blue eyes who appears in Jane's visions.

We learn that Jane's mother died fifteen years earlier, and that her mother's murder is what Jane relives in her visions. A rundown some of the various types of imagery used here:

  • Freudian
    • A stabbing knife, presented giallo-style upraised and in close-up
    • A train in a tunnel
  • Surreal
    • Clocks, presented both in dream sequences and throughout the body of the film
    • Spiral staircases
  • Who knows?
    • Murdered mother
    • Grotesque manlike women
Jane's stalker finally confronts her
Those latter two seem Freudian, but I don't know that Freud specifically addressed these things. This is a lot of symbolism, and it points to the reason why 1970s European films are often considered nonsensical: These filmmakers tend to rely on symbols for sending their messages more than on the kind of conventional plotlines to which we're accustomed. There's nothing wrong with that, but it forces the viewer to look at the movie in a different way.

This is a plot that is better suited to a dreamlike kind of logic, anyway. Jane continues to be pursued by the blue-eyed man, played by Ivan Rassimov. In her efforts to escape she meets her downstairs neighbor, Mary, played by Marina Malfatti, and the two become friends. When Mary learns of Jane's problems, she recommends something that helped her: a black mass service.

Jane is desperate and willing to try anything, so she goes. Mary promises that Jane will be free, and the mass begins. In what will be for many viewers the film's most disturbing scene, the priest sacrifices a puppy and makes Jane drink the blood. It's not particularly realistic, but the scene is a little longer and uses a cuter puppy than most. Once the blood has been drunk, the priest climbs on her and consummates the ceremony.

Sacrificial blood is offered to Jane

It terrifies Jane, but she wakes up the next day feeling peaceful and free. Her pursuer still follows her, however. She now has two problems, as the cult demands allegiance. Jane's initiation allowed another member to leave. Think of it not as a pyramid scheme, where the group gets bigger and bigger, but as something that stays the same size throughout, like a stick. Jane is now required to stick someone with a knife so the cult can stay the same size. The stalker finally speaks and tells her that he's there to make sure that she upholds her end of the bargain. Plot hole? No, I left a lot out. Go see the movie for yourself. Anyway, people who try to help Jane meet their deaths, and ol' blue eyes anticipates her every move.

This has giallo elements such as the upraised stabbing hand, but it's more of a straightforward satanic conspiracy kind of horror, as it doesn't have an investigative element. Police are nearly absent from the film. This is good for the principals, who apparently- and little is certain in this film- are both guilty of murder, as the one behind it all is killed but not in self defense. We wouldn't want any police around, as they might look a little too closely at our "heroes," who are a half-crazed satanist and her live-in boyfriend. Now, there's your plot hole.

Jane is marked

The decision to dub the actors hurts takes away from the impact of the film. It makes some sense that the characters of a movie set in London should speak with English accents, but the voice actors have the typical dubbed sound, as though they're speaking in a tunnel. They also tend to overemote, especially the one who voices Jane's lines. Don't be fooled by the exploitative nature of her filmography or by her fearlessness for taking sensual roles: Fenech's acting is excellent, and we shouldn't be robbed of the chance to hear the lines as she spoke them.

Fenech fans should like this, because she is frequently placed full-focus in the camera view. Plus, it's almost ten minutes in before she appears fully dressed, which is part of why this gets the "Eurosleaze" label. These constant close-ups enhance the film's obsessive feel. It's similar to the way the camera made love to Nastassja Kinski in Cat People, but Fenech is actually worthy of the attention.

Like giallo or Eurosleaze? Like Edwige Fenech? Looking for something different? Any one of the above answers ought to be enough reason to seek this one out.

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