The Murder Clinic

The Murder Clinic (Italian: La lama nel corpo, lit. 'The Knife in the Body') is a 1966 horror film directed by Lionello De Felice and Elio Scardamaglia. It was produced by Elio Scardamaglia, Francesco Scardamaglia and Luciano Martino;[1]. The screenplay was written by Martino and Ernesto Gastaldi from their own story.[1] It stars William Berger, Françoise Prévost, Mary Young and Barbara Wilson.

The Murder Clinic
Italian theatrical release poster
Directed by
  • Lionello De Felice
  • Elio Scardamaglia
Produced by
Screenplay by
Story by
  • Ernesto Gastaldi
  • Luciano Martino[1]
Starring
Music byFrancesco De Masi[1]
CinematographyMarcello Masciocchi[1]
Edited byAlberto Gallitti[1]
Production
company
  • Leone Film
  • Ci.Ti. Cinematografica
  • Orphée Productions[1]
Distributed byRegional (Italy)[1]
Release date
  • March 17, 1966 (1966-03-17) (Italy)
Running time
90 minutes[1]
Country
  • Italy
  • France[1]
Box office₤96 million

Plot

In 1870s England, the director of a mental hospital (Berger) is secretly carrying out skin grafts on the patients in an attempt to restore his sister-in-law's mutilated face (it seems she accidentally fell into a lime pit). Meanwhile, a hooded killer is murdering people in the hospital with a straight razor.

Cast

Production

The film was shot in Villa Parisi in Rome.[1] Although most sources indicate producer Elio Scardamaglia was also the director of the film, screenwriter Ernesto Gastaldi stated that De Felice was actually the film's director.[2] Gastaldi stated that De Felice left the production near the end of shooting with only a few scenes remaining left for Scardamaglia to direct himself.[2][3] It was shot by Marcello Masciocchi and edited by Alberto Gallitti.[1] The music was composed by Francesco De Masi[1]

Style

Roberto Curti, author of Italian Gothic Horror Films, 1957-1969, described The Murder Clinic as an example of the way Italian gothic horror films evolved into the giallo genre in the 1970s.[4]

Release

Murder Clinic was released in Italy on March 17, 1966, distributed by Regional, at a length of 90 minutes.[1] The film grossed a total of ₤96 million Italian lira on its theatrical release.[1] In 1971, a re-release poster played off of Berger's own trouble with the law with the tag line "William Berger, guilty or innocent?"[5] It was released in France as Les nuits de l'epouvante (lit.Nights of Terror).[1]

The film was released in the United States first as The Murder Clinic, and then years later, in an attempt to promote the film as a zombie movie, as Revenge of the Living Dead.[5]

The film was released on DVD by Code Red DVD as part of the Six-Pack Volume Two box set.[1]

Reception

From a contemporary review, "Byro." of Variety reviewed an 86 minute English dubbed version of the film, described the film as being typical of Italy's "continual supply of Gothic horror mysteries."[6] "Byro." found the film "not up to some of the pix of Riccardo Freda or Mario Bava" but " noting its strength in its photography and visual look but that "the direction and scripting itself in on an inevitably elementary level, and the few attempts at "horror" via closups of Delphi Maurin's acid-disfigured face come off crudely."[6]

In a retrospective review, Curti described the films direction as being "nondescript" and that the many red herrings in the film were unconvincing.[4] Curti also noted, "The film only comes alive when Françoise Prévost is on screen".[4] In his book Italian Horror Film Directors, Louis Paul described the film as a "handsomely crafted gothic thriller".[7]

See also

References

Footnotes

  1. Curti 2015, p. 165.
  2. Curti 2015, p. 168.
  3. Luther-Smith 1999, p. 71.
  4. Curti 2015, p. 166.
  5. Curti 2015, p. 167.
  6. Variety's Film Reviews 1968-1970. 12. R. R. Bowker. 1983. There are no page numbers in this book. This entry is found under the header "January 10, 1968". ISBN 0-8352-2792-8.
  7. Paul 2005, p. 21.

Sources

  • Curti, Roberto (2015). Italian Gothic Horror Films, 1957-1969. McFarland. ISBN 1476619891.
  • Luther-Smith, Adrian (1999). Blood and Black Lace: The Definitive Guide to Italian Sex and Horror Movies. Stray Cat Publishing.
  • Paul, Louis (2005). Italian Horror Film Directors. McFarland. ISBN 978-0-7864-8749-3.
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