The Cult of Horror

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Your Vice is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key (72)

The title is a mouthful and a bit convoluted, however in the early days of Italian slashers (Giallo's) director Sergio Martino made a film that was head and shoulders above what was in Italy at that time. Your Vice is loosely based off of Edgar Allen Poe's The Black Cat starring the saucy thesp Edwige Fenech (a staple vixen for Giallo films), the abused wife Anita Stringberg and her villainous husband Luigi Pistilli.

A burnt out, writer/cheating husband humiliates his wife in front of guests during one of  his drunken parties then begins having hallucinations of his dead mother. The downward spiral of the inebriated husband becomes more unbearable as the wife becomes more afraid for her life, dead women start piling in the house and the police start questioning.  Fenech's role is a breath of fresh air to the cruel and foreboding atmosphere that looms over the villa. She plays a mysterious lovelorn and bi-curious character who brings unanswered questions from her past. The black cat plays his role admirably (named Satan) and the he plays the same plot device as Poe's story. Yet the "Black Cat" plays a red herring in this mystery for the viewer as well ,the storie's twist comes unseen as the victimized show their true deceptive motives.

Beautifully executed by Martino's masterful direction in a gorgeous Italian Villa. Martino's style is different then Argento's or Bava's surrealist approach to the genre nor is his violence as over the top as Lucio Fulci, Martino's focus on his stories is character struggle mixed with sensuality (see Strange Vice of Mrs.Wardh and  All the Colors of the Dark) Watch also for the hilarious placement of J&B bottles within the house. (Green J&B bottles are as much a character in Giallo films as a black gloved killer). 9 out of 10.

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