A Lizard in a Woman's Skin (aka Una Lucertola Con La Pelle Di Donna
Director: Lucio Fulci
There's a couple different versions of this film out there, two of which are reviewed here. I'm going from Media Blaster's 2003 2-DVD release of the film, which includes a hybrid Widescreen version of the US release (technically known as Schizoid), in english, on Disc 1. Disc 2 has an Anamorphic Italian version, with minimal additional footage (like 90 seconds worth). Why do I bother to watch both? Drunken Obligation is a bitch, and I had to see if the US version was any better after having watched Disc 2 first. A real trade-off, as the US version is widescreen with some nice color to it and is in English, the Foreign version has quite possibly the best sequence of laughable terror ever captured on film (see "Great Scene" below). Regardless, the Dirty Hippies are equally as dirty in both versions despite the technological improvements made in editing and color correction techniques.
What starts off as an LSD-inspired sexploitation kind of film takes a quick 180, but not before a scene with the two female leads getting it on to what seemed to be a bad muzak version of a Carpenter's tune. The two chicks are kinda hot, though, so it pretty much balances out. After that it falls into the basic detective drama, with occasional doses of acid and lesbianism to pull the viewer back in. A cigarette-bumming detective and Red Herrings Aplenty tie the whole thing together, to mixed results. Swinging London and questionable anti-drug messages mixed throughout, and loads of atmosphere.
While I'd love to say this is quite possibly the craziest beaver picture ever made since LarryMary the Schizophrenic Beaver: A Documentary, its whole premise collapses quicker than a..... bad dam pun. Some pretty creative use of crash zooms throughout, and decent soundtrack provided by Ennio Morricone. While having made plenty of films prior, this is Fulci's first foray into the gore-filled Giallo genre, and the world is all the better for it.
Great Scene: While only briefly alluded to in the US version, there's a Swan of Doom that is so preposterously asinine in its demonic portrayal it bears notable mention. Missing as well from the US release is a graphic and shocking scene (apparently too much for US audiences) involving some vivisected animals that are still alive. I think. It really makes no sense in the film besides something cool for the effects dude to throw on his demo reel. Then again, he did a kick-ass job with the bats, bleeding dogs, and went on to design E.T. apparently.
DVD Notes: As mentioned previously, pretty decent 2-disc package put out by "Shriek Show" which is the horror branch of Media Blasters circa 2003. Apparently they've just released a newer cut this year, so it may make the film a bit easier to find. Can't imagine that different cut of the film from what's already been provided, but hey, good for them! In the meantime, I ponder over the materials presented with this release, including a lot of press materials particularly pertaining to the US release known as Schizoid. The humorous thing is the main imagery used, using illustrated bats (from another fairly pointless scene in the film unless they were quite literally going with the whole "bats in the belfry" analogy, which makes the connotation even that much more retarded), and a shot of an actress in a cheezy terrorized pose. Not even an actress from the film, or even a similar nationality. Whatever, at least there's some good extras like a 33-minute doc on the film and how it fits into the giallo scene overall, complete with interviews of cast and collections of poster art of the genre puts a good perspective on things. Fantastic treatment overall.