THE CAT O’NINE TAILS
IL GATTO A NOVE CODE
1971, AGFA, 112 min, Italy/France/West Germany, Dir: Dario Argento

This second entry in Dario Argento’s “Animal Trilogy” found the young talent further refining his distinctive style and cementing his reputation as master of the giallo. When a break-in occurs at a secretive genetics institute, a blind puzzle-maker (Karl Malden) overhears an attempt to blackmail an institute scientist shortly before the robbery; he teams up with intrepid reporter Carlo (James Franciscus) to crack the case. Soon the bodies pile up, and the two amateur sleuths find their own lives at risk. Worse still, the puzzle-maker’s niece (Cinzia De Carolis) is in the killer’s sights. Featuring another nerve-jangling score by the great Ennio Morricone, THE CAT O’ NINE TAILS remains one of Argento’s most suspenseful and underrated films.


KILLER CROCODILE
1989, 90 min, Dir: Fabrizio De Angelis

Italy in the 1970s and ’80s was a paradise of ambitious cheapo knockoffs like KILLER CROCODILE, which fits squarely in the post-JAWS, giant-animal-run-amok rip-off subgenre yet is so much more. Written and directed by Lucio Fulci’s longtime producer Fabrizio De Angelis, the film tells the story of a crocodile grown to unnatural proportions (by way of toxic chemical dumping) that wreaks havoc on a river community. Shot back-to-back with its sequel, KILLER CROCODILE 2, the film stars Richard Anthony Crenna (son of RAMBO franchise icon Richard Crenna). The scenic authenticity of its Dominican Republic locations mixes deliriously with its rubbery croc gore to provide a one-of-a-kind cinematic feast.


THE NEW YORK RIPPER
LO SQUARTATORE DI NEW YORK
1982, Blue Underground, 85 min, Italy, Dir: Lucio Fulci

Quack! Quack! Quack! A killer stalks the streets of the City That Never Sleeps, targeting young women at random. Leaving no clues other than that he “sounds like a duck,” it's up to a grizzled cop and a psychoanalyst to decode the quacking. Following up his zombie quadrilogy, director Lucio Fulci's ultra-violent grindhouse giallo/slasher hybrid slices up the Big Apple into bloody pieces. A true slab of sleaze cinema so vile that only showering immediately afterward will help you feel clean.


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