February 13, 2010

What Have You Done To Solange? (1972)

"One last question," the slaughtered young girl's father asked as he turned towards the detective, "was she raped?"

The mother, reasonably distraught, breaks down crying.

“In a sense”, he responds. “Come with me.”

The detective’s assistant takes the girl’s mother away.

“The killer left the knife… here.”

It was one of those moments. You know the type, where you’re watching a film that you know in your heart to be great. Almost instantly upon viewing, you know that this is your kind of film and you’re going to have a great time watching again and again. You the viewer already know where the killer left the knife, for you had already witnessed the bloodshed earlier. But a part of me was tickled at the thought of this detective showing the mourning father an x-ray of his daughter’s nether region, with a large knife inserted deeply inside. ‘This isn’t proper protocol I don’t believe’, I think to myself as I crack open my seventh beer, ‘But then again, things in Italy are a bit different aren’t they?’

[Rant: It was an almost surreal moment not unlike a scene in Demons 2, where inside a dark high rise apartment, a phone rings. A young boy answers and says the following (and I shit you not): “No, Daddy isn’t… home. Neither is Mommy. I’m alone. Yes, goodbye!” I was so completely and utterly blazed out of my skull the first time I ever watched Demons 2 alone in the night, but I remember quite clearly that I half smiled. There was a twinkle in my eyes, and I thought about how fucking crazy badass this movie is.]

What Have You Done To Solange? (1972)

Enrico ‘Henry’ Rossini (Fabio Testi – who else?) is a teacher at a private school for pretty, nubile, young girls; Pretty, nubile, young girls… whom he has sexual relationships with! One beautiful day, he’s out on a boat getting frisky with one of his lovely yet somewhat reluctant students, Elisabeth. Somewhere near or far, there is a young girl being horribly murdered by a maniac in black. Elisabeth has visions of the killer (“I saw the flash of a knife… and it wasn’t my imagination!”) and what he’s doing. Luckily, so do we… this particular killer’s modus operandi is *ahem* stabbing strange little chicas in the vagina, very deeply and until death, with a long shiny blade. Pretty fuckin’ grim if ya ask me…

Of course, with the suave teacher’s reputation with the girls, he’s obviously to become the first suspect. He’s shown to be a very predatory sexual fiend right up front (trust me, I know the type), from forgoing any foreplay with Miss Liz heading straight for the up-skirt sign language. And later, when he follows the young lady while she rides her bike down the road. Constantly glancing at her, smiling and driving slowly. [Rant time: I dig the way he just f’n walks onto the crime scene and nobody questions it. Hell, they don’t even seem to notice him, or have the parameter closed off. These cops must be the biggest idiots in London, and one of them even says the words “With a knife, but I didn't see any stab wounds.” Later, since of course neither the cops nor the detectives know who the local girl is (!?) they show three crime scene photographs to five teachers in a room hoping they can identify her. I’m sure one photograph would be enough, you know, the one of her face… but they show the teachers the bloody aftermath of her groin area complete with knife sticking out! Talk about unnecessary. And how did the cop on the scene not notice that shit? Huh?]

Upon snooping through a keyhole (directly after exiting the room), investigators (or maybe someone else) find out that Enrico has more going on with some of these schoolgirls than teaching Italian ballet. His girlfriend Liz and he don’t come forward for what they are doing isn't exactly right, but once it all is out in the open (a great confession scene involving a found pen and eyes behind a bookshelf), he and his wife (!) set out to discover the killer’s true identity. Ain't that some shit! Oh, Enrico doesn't go totally unnoticed at the crime scene however, since a photo snapped and printed front page shows him ‘hiding’ behind a single branch of a tree. Dur! It’s a good thing this dude is so “morbidly curious” and likes drawing all this attention to himself, considering it’s one of his students after all that was murdered. What I mean is, it’s a good thing for the killer. [Rant: During questioning that next day he asks “Was it bad the way she died?” which confuses me, since he was shown pictures of the Graphic Violence the day before! I don’t know.]

More murders of sweet young ladies continue, and Elizabeth’s visions slowly start to become clearer – something about, a priest. Midway through the film we’re treated to a hot and steamy shower scene with all the girls and then a tasty POV shot from the killer’s eyes which proves that Liz’s visions weren't clear enough. *evil laugh* Now with Enrico in the hot seat, he’d better get out his magnifying glass and antique pipe. [Rant: There’s this one jive turkey doing a bit of photography work on a nude painted woman, and he looks suspiciously like Lenny Kravitz. He plays a part which turns the direction of the investigation, after being bent over (?) and “hard talked” into giving up information by Enrico. I thought it’d be rather funny actually if “Are You Gonna Go My Way” was lightly playing in the background… or uh, maybe not.] So what’s with all the murders and why do some of the girls seem a lot more distressed than the others? All the little schoolgirls may not be so innocent after all, and it all ties back to a girl named Solange (she doesn’t even appear until the fourth quarter of the film) who had a terrible experience with their little girl clique. [SPOILERS] Something about swinging sex, rampant drug use, back alley abortions and so on and so forth. [/END SPOILERS]

This is a gorgeous film, much in the same sense as is “Case of the Bloody Iris”. Colorful, beautifully shot (not to mention perversely - for example the perfect camerawork as a girl in a short school skirt got upon a bike) by the one and only Joe D’Amato. The director of this film, Massimo Dallamano, went on to direct Nicoletta Elmi in “The Night Child” as well as a few other films, but mostly his work consisted of Cinematography. Ennio Morricone did the music for the film and it’s absolute perfection. Camille Keaton does a sweet job as Solange, playing a mute and very emotionally damaged character, which is very reminiscent of her acting in “I Spit On Your Grave.” It’s kind of like she was born to play these parts, huh? Hell, or maybe just typecast afterwards.

This was the second ever Shriek Show DVD that I bought (years ago), the first being Jungle Holocaust. I really liked how JH came with Lobby Card reproductions and this one came with a Pressbook repro (filled with wonderful photographs of the nude victims looking terrified – Nice!)… It’s too bad this kind of thing wasn't standard with all their releases. What is standard however, is four trailers for other films they released. At least there’s a trailer for the actual film though, which sometimes you don’t even get these days. Second extra is a five minute poster, promotional and still Art Gallery set to the main musical score of Ennio Morricone. Despite the Interlaced Transfer, the film is Anamorphic and beautiful, though a bit soft looking which is normal for films from these years and country. I give “Solange” my Highest of Recommendations, and it is a definite must own.

No comments:

My words are my own and as of posted from their creation forward I hereby claim originality to them. Pictures may prove to be promotional items and are the sole possessions of their respectful owners and/or companies. I do not sell, nor do I buy. I only rent, so therefore, nothing I own is truly mine.